Field Notes for Autumn 2020

Garden sharing, “minimonies”, and the show must go on this fall.

September 18, 2020 | | Field Notes

Generous green thumbs

If you’ve stopped to admire the tidy rows of blossoms and shrubs in a public space in Orangeville, chances are you’re looking at the handiwork of the Orangeville & District Horticultural Society, which celebrates 50 years of service this year. Since their motto is “Gardens are for Sharing,” why not consider a self-guided tour this fall?

The gardens near the Alder Street Recreation Centre, for instance, bloom white, yellow and orange in honour of the town colours. Alexandra Park, behind Orangeville Town Hall, features mature perennial beds under a canopy of maples. And the town’s public works building on C Line boasts an award-winning pollinator garden. In all, 10 gardens around town are marked with the volunteer group’s distinctive orange daylily emblem.

Group archivist Vivian Petho says the society’s 25 “gardening angels” see their mission in straightforward terms: “We strive to beautify the town of Orangeville and its surroundings. Our horticultural society has changed over the years, but our impact on the community is unfaltering.” We wholeheartedly agree.

Wee weddings

“Minimonies” is the moniker florist and flower farmer Amber Swidersky of Melancthon’s Petals Flower Co. uses to describe the trend toward tiny, safe weddings. As the pandemic unfolded in the spring of 2020 and stretched into summer, many couples downsized their nuptials, moved them outdoors, postponed them until 2021 – or planned a combo of these options. “Once they embrace a smaller ceremony, couples accept it and get excited about an intimate affair, with some adding a larger reception in 2021,” she says. Couples who did opt for smaller weddings found them full of romance, says Vanessa Kreuzer of Lavender Blue Catering in Orangeville. “The large, rocking parties they envisioned transformed into lovely intimate affairs with bonfire chats, brandy and cigars, sparklers and dancing beneath the stars.” Folks at Fergus-based Fancy That Cake booked wedding confections for a handful of small and medium autumn weddings in our region, but 2021 orders are already filling up. It’s a trend echoing at Alton’s Millcroft Inn, with large celebrations booked for May through October 2021. And couples keen to wed at the Alton Mill also appear ready to wait and celebrate with all their guests rather than paring down the party. Cheers to all.

You’ve got mail

When the pandemic cancelled summer plans, Caledon brothers Marcus, 13, and Thomas Dietrich, 15, took their love of art and woodworking and created their own business, The Mailbox Studio. They design, build and install three styles of mailboxes according to Canada Post specifications in the Caledon, Orangeville and Hockley Valley areas. Business has been so brisk, the duo plans to continue this fall, ridding our country lanes of tired old mailboxes.

In green news

With all the disposable masks and gloves we’re running through these days, the time feels right to go zero-waste in other ways. Here are three places to get you started.

Orangeville’s genius Grassroots Eco Refills launched earlier this year with Canadian-made, eco-friendly personal care products and household cleaners. When you’ve used up your mango shampoo or lavender laundry soap, pull up at the shop and drop off your bottles for refill and delivery, or call for a driveway refill at home.

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  • The new farmers’ market at 10 and 10 Garden Centre in Mono reuses biodegradable plastic and cardboard baskets and wooden bushels to display produce and transfers everything into paper bags at the cash.

    And The Creemore Refillery recently moved into a bigger, brighter store location offering a mind-boggling array of reusable products, including hard-to-find bulk jars of toothpaste and deodorant.

    On the road

    See yourself touring the province by RV this fall? You’re not alone, according to local dealers including Erin’s Platinum RV and Mono’s Globetrotter RV. “With most of the community trying to stay within their own family bubble, more and more people have turned to RVing as a way to enjoy the outdoors while adhering to the new social norm,” says Globetrotter RV sales manager Jeff Hall.

    The show must go on

    The fall arts landscape looks like none in recent memory, but there is still plenty to enjoy. At PAMA (Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives), co-curators and Community Leadership Program ambassadors Anupama Aery and Loloa Alkasawat worked with Peel’s Regional Diversity Roundtable on Art Voice, a virtual exhibit featuring more than 70 young local artists and their work about isolation, mental health and racism. Orangeville’s contemporary dance mavens, Suzette Sherman and Michele Green, will press on with their passion project of solos and duets, Passionate Heart, albeit in smaller audiences at a studio in Guelph and via live-streaming. While awaiting the return of live performances, The Rose in Brampton offers online workshops about using the arts for social justice. And while Theatre Orangeville remains dark, its weekly newsletter offers entertaining arts picks. The highlight, however, is a “Cocktail of the Week” video in which artistic director David Nairn demonstrates his knack for making everything from the trendy Aperol Spritz to the century-old Clover Club, with a trademark twinkle in his eye.


    About the Author More by Janice Quirt

    Janice Quirt is a freelance writer who lives in Orangeville.

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