October 15, 2010
On Sept. 12, Landscape Ontario sponsored an educational short course for members of Master Gardeners of Ontario (MGOI).

Presented by Vineland Centre for Research and Innovation, 150 master gardeners were able to choose from eight sessions offered by Vineland researchers on topics including non-chemical weed control methods for landscape beds, plants for insect control, growing vegetative annuals, fruit tree pest management for the backyard garden and more.

Tony DiGiovanni, LO’s executive director, gave the keynote presentation at lunch. He spoke on the multitude of benefits that horticulture offers and urged the master gardeners to use their points of contact with the gardening public to tell this good-news story. See page 6 in this issue for his message.

The sessions offered an opportunity for laypeople to catch up on the latest in horticultural research. Dr. Hannah Mathers presented an overview on results of non-chemical weed control research, and held an impromptu weed identification test at the same time. Her talk emphasized the need to understand the different lifecycles of annual and perennial weeds in order to use cultural or physical controls.

LO member, Richard Reed, of Dufferin Lawn Life, teamed up with Vineland research director, Dr. Michael Brownbridge to present Turf Wars: Life After the Ban. Reed, who has had a long-time organic bent, talked about his holistic approach to lawn care. Dr. Brownbridge took a closer look at biopesticides – their modes of control, use and efficacy.

Throughout the day, each session spurred many thoughtful questions from enthusiastic master gardeners. MGOI president James Lee was pleased with the short course, noting that the event was a sell-out.