Field Notes for Spring 2019

Get gardening, outsmart the competition, clean up and spark more joy!

March 19, 2019 | | Field Notes

Get Gardening

If you’ve ever felt you needed a parenting class just to start your plants’ lives off right, visit the Creemore Horticultural Society’s Seed-Starting Hands-On Workshop on April 3. You’ll learn from local green thumbs how to grow your own flowers, lettuce and tomatoes from seed, and you’ll start the process right there (read: less chance of messing up later), then take the planted seeds, along with care instructions, home. This all-supplies-provided, make-and-take event runs 6:30 to 8pm at St. Luke’s Anglican Church Hall in Creemore. All ages are welcome (15 and under with an adult).

Or, to jump ahead in the process, you can shop for lovingly divided perennials at the Friendship Gardens Plant Sale on Saturday May 25 from 8:30 to 11am at Headwaters Health Care Centre in Orangeville. What’s more, the proceeds from this annual sale go to a good cause. The Friendship Gardens were started in 1997 to enliven the landscape around the hospital for patients and visitors, and they’ve been maintained by volunteers ever since. From 1,700 to 2,000 plants from the hospital gardens and other local gardens will be on offer. And there’s free parking across the road at 150 Rolling Hills.

“We have held this plant sale for the past ten years, and many people tell us they will only plant our perennials and grasses in their gardens,” says Lynn Sinclair-Smith, founder, tireless volunteer and champion of the gardens. “There is free expert advice along with great quality plants at the sale.” Add in the benefit of knowing you’re contributing to the group’s annual $20,000 budget, and you have a perfect shopping trip.

Information on the sale at

Save the date: Terry O’Reilly Holds Court

Most advertisers aren’t Coke or Nike – they don’t have huge budgets to trounce the competition. But they can still realize remarkable returns by shifting their mindset. Marketing guru Terry O’Reilly, host of CBC’s Under the Influence, explains how to outsmart the competition in a way that doesn’t necessarily require outspending them.

In this Town of Orangeville Lunch-and-Learn on Tuesday May 14, from 11:30am to 1:30pm, Terry will share great examples of how humour, drama and surprise can make up for a small budget. In a session he held with In The Hills in 2017, he said it’s important to define your business in a short sentence from the consumer’s perspective (i.e., although you make shoes, you are likely selling comfort – or style, or maybe prestige). Until you can do that, “your marketing will be fuzzy,” he said. We’re looking forward to hearing more.

Let’s do lunch:

North Is Freedom: The Legacy of the Underground Railroad is a photographic essay from Czechoslovakian-born photographer. Photos by Yuri Dojc.

North Is Freedom: The Legacy of the Underground Railroad is a photographic essay from Czechoslovakian-born photographer. Photos by Yuri Dojc.

Mark your calendar / Art Alert

North Is Freedom: The Legacy of the Underground Railroad is a photographic essay from Czechoslovakian-born photographer Yuri Dojc, who immigrated to Canada after the Prague Spring in 1968. His show celebrates the Canadian descendants of freedom-seekers who escaped slavery in the United States via the Underground Railroad in the years before the American Civil War. The stories portrayed are both historical and personal, and the subjects of the photographs offer compelling commentary. As Carl Stevenson, a fifth-generation descendant of former slave John H. Meads of Baltimore, told Yuri, “This project shows we are all one family … I am as much black as I am white. I am of African slaves as I am of Irish immigrants. I am multiracial, and we are all cousins.”

To see firsthand how these Canadians are attuned to their histories and proud of their ancestors’ courage, visit before June 30 at Peel Art Gallery Museum & Archives.

Learn more:

Country Style

Farmhouse is a sweet new shop at Alton Mill Arts Centre focusing on items you’ll use every day versus collectibles you’ll stash on a shelf. That said, owner Fiona Norris has a great eye for dish sets, vases, wooden furniture and objets that can finish a room. “Antiques balance the modern vibe so popular these days,” Fiona says. “Adding timeless pieces creates a warm and cozy feeling and immediately makes our houses feel like home.”

Her goodies go fast, so it’s best to follow the shop’s Instagram feed to see what’s in store:

Pitch the plastic. Photo by Erin Fitzgibbon.

Pitch the plastic. Photo by Erin Fitzgibbon.

Trend alert: Zero-Waste Washing

You’re vigilant about filling your blue box, but have you considered trimming back the plastic you bring home in the first place?

The zero-waste trend has taken hold in big cities with entire shops devoted to bring-your-own-container shopping, and it’s starting to pop up here in Headwaters.

If you already like or want to try Davines, an eco-chic Italian line of hair products, you can BYOC to Alton hair salon Felix & Ginger and hit their refill station. In the cozy Tibetan-style shampoo room, they’ll weigh your glass jar or other container and fill ’er up with shampoo ($2 per ounce) or conditioner ($3 per ounce). Compared to buying in a bottle, you’ll also shave about 50 per cent off the cost.

If you prefer a homegrown product, Orangeville’s Bridlewood Soaps offers a solid shampoo bar similar to their wonderful soaps as another option to green your shower.

Pitch the plastic here:,

Cleaning Up: How to Spark More Joy

From minimalist Millennials in thrall to Marie Kondo’s new TV series on tidying up to downsizing seniors staring down a lifetime’s worth of belongings, there are few among us in favour of living with too much stuff. But the task of clearing out can be daunting.

Enter Brenda Alderdice and her team at the Dufferin and Caledon outpost of decluttering chain Downsizing Diva. Brenda will power through your closets and even those embarrassing no-go rooms full of accumulated, often untouched, possessions. “A lot of people simply cannot do it on their own,” says Brenda, adding that getting items out the door is paramount. “Because we provide options, such as selling or donating items, people have an easier time letting things go.”

Brenda and her crew often pair up with another local business, NuGround, a Bolton-area moving and junk removal company which helps manage those downsized items that don’t “spark joy.” They properly dispose of electronics, recycle metal and even store items at their warehouse before they find a home for them.

Once there is a clean slate, Nicole Hannan of Orangeville-based Hannan & Co. can step in and devise an organizational solution for the “keepers” that works with clients’ lifestyles. Nicole, a former visual merchandiser with the Canadiana brand Roots, is partial to a stylish, crisp look that doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank for brand-new cabinets or complicated systems. She’ll tackle hot spots like your foyer, your walk-in closet and, yes, even your teenager’s bedroom.

For more info:,,

If you’re going it alone, here are some top spots to consign or donate:

About the Author More by Janice Quirt

Janice Quirt is a freelance writer who lives in Orangeville.

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