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It's been a busy year for the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society, culminating in our last official meeting last week until fall.

It's been a busy year for the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society, culminating in our last official meeting last week until fall. Thank you to Barb and Stuart Greenstein for hosting us at their lovely farm, it was as beautiful as a park! Thank you to the hort members who organized our delicious supper, and to everyone who attended and brought more yummy goodies to enjoy! Any kind of group lives and breathes and grows only through the enthusiasm and involvement of its members, and as always, all you wonderful members have given the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society another great year!

But wait, I'm making it seem like the year is over - it isn't! The Saskatchewan Horticultural Association 5th Annual Bus Tour visits points north when it goes to Nipawin, Carrot River and Tisdale July 19-21. This three day excursion is the prefect chance to sit back and let gardening inspiration come to you as you tour interesting gardens and talk to all kinds of helpful and knowledgeable gardeners. To find out more, call Liz at 782-2830.

Speaking of inspiration, I want to tell you about some terrific gardens that we saw recently, an added bonus of the fun of the Salamander Walk in Saltcoats. The yards came in all shapes and sizes along the Salamander route, but they were just delightful! We were seeing them at a good time, as many perennials were in bloom. The gardens were beautifully planted and lovingly tended, and it was like seeing page after page unfold in a lovely gardening magazine. If you have time some sunny afternoon, I'd recommend taking a little tour out to Saltcoats and drive past (or better yet, walk past) the beautiful gardens there. You will see that gardens don't have to be big to be dynamic, and for those of you who like to plant primarily perennials, you will no doubt get some good ideas to jot down in your own gardening notebook.

How is your garden doing at this stage of the game? Be vigilant of signs of blight in your tomatoes and potatoes. I think we are all wary after last year, panicking when we see the slightest discoloration in the plant's leaves. But before you panic, take a breath and check to see what is really wrong. Yellowing leaves could be a sign of nitrogen; browning leaves might mean your plant needs potassium. Brown, spotty leaves is most probably blight. If that is the case with your plants, do not delay in your treatment. Remover all the diseased leaves and throw them away in the garbage (do not put them in the compost pile). Be sure that your plant does not have any contact with the ground, making sure that the plant is not drooping and half-laying on the soil. I read that it is even a good idea to spread mulch to avoid the soil accidentally splashing up on the leaves, but I have mixed feelings about that, since good air circulation is probably also important to an ailing plant. And lastly, but most importantly, visit your local greenhouse and ask what fungicide they recommend, and follow the directions carefully. 2010 will almost certainly go down in gardeners' history books as one of the most challenging years we have faced, and we are feeling the effects even now. So keep an optimistic, but watchful, eye on your plants!

The Yorkton in Bloom competition is coming up at the end of July. Please don't be shy about entering your garden; we are blessed to have a beautiful city, with many exciting gardens, so don't be shy to share yours with the rest of us! Call City Hall to find out more details about how to enter.

That's it for this time; have a good week, and be sure to wear a hat and mosquito protection!