Quebec - Social gardening
by Larry Hodgson
Winters are long, cold and snowy throughout much of Quebec. There's not much you can do outdoors in the garden and, in fact, many of us can't even see the garden under all the snow. Of course, there are always the catalogues: they wing their way to our homes starting in December and keep us thoroughly mesmerized until spring. But what really helps Quebec gardeners get through the winter are their horticultural societies (societes d'horticulture).
These societies offer monthly lectures, held right through the off-season (they shut right down in May, when any sensible Quebec gardener is too busy outdoors to attend meetings, and start up again in September, when the garden slows down). Membership is open to all; of the approximately 280 societies, nearly a dozen have over 500 members each.
Quebec horticultural societies strive to meet all their members' needs; as well as lectures, some horticultural societies offer courses—from growing vegetables to bonsai—organize garden tours (during the summer months), publish newsletters and magazines, organize group orders for rarer plants and obtain rebates at garden centres and nurseries.
If a once-weekly meeting isn't enough, some societies have bimonthly meetings. Mine (la Societe des Amis du Jardin Van den Hende, in Quebec City) certainly keeps me busy: it has two meetings a week, Mondays and Thursdays, plus courses on Wednesday nights. Or you can join several groups. Winter? What winter? With all the activities being offered by horticultural societies in Quebec, you won't even have time to see winter race by.
For information on Quebec's horticultural societies, contact the Federation des societes d'horticulture et d'ecologie in Montreal at (418) 829-3982 or visit www.fsheq.com