With spring sprunging, Leaside gardeners prepare to prune

The sounds of a community coming together are evident as the crowd at Leaside Public Library steadily grows.

The Leaside Garden Society gathered for its monthly meeting on March 11, welcoming the evening’s guest speaker, Sid Baller.  

Before taking their seats, members milled about the room catching up with one another, balancing snacks in one hand and raffle tickets in the other.

Linda Wickland, president of the society for nearly two years, reinforces the notion of community.

“We’ve especially had really good crowds since Christmas,” Wickland explained. “We usually see between 40 to 65 people a session.”

Established in 1988, the Leaside Garden Society takes pride in its growing membership and its promotion of collective bonding under a common passion.

Colleen Kenney recently joined after a friend suggested she act on her passion for gardening and try to meet other like-minded people. After surfing the Internet and coming across the Leaside Garden Society, she signed up.

“I’ve been here a few times now,” Kenney said. “I was researching shade plants and looking them up on the Internet and came across this.”

Kenney said that once the weather improves, she plans on utilizing a lot of the tips she’s learned from various guest speakers.

“There are wonderful guest speakers here,” Kenney said, smiling. “They are batting 1000 with that right now.”

Once president Wickland opens the meeting, the guest speaker is introduced to the audience. The majority pull out small notebooks in order to jot down tips on the evening’s topic, pruning.

According to Wickland, there are few people better equipped to engage a crowd and discuss pruning than Sid Baller.

“He has the ability to impart wisdom,” she said. “He’s a natural teacher.”

Baller supports people stopping him during his discussion to ask questions or seek clarification.

“I won’t call this a lecture,” he said. “I want to encourage participation.”

When it comes to proper gardening etiquette, Baller really knows how to nip bad habits in the bud.

“You need a sense of confidence,” he advised. “Plants are malleable and we can make mistakes. It’s not the end of the world. People tend to approach pruning with a slash-and-burn jungle warfare…. Just maintain and sustain its natural form. Work with them and not against them.”

For more information about the Leaside Garden Society, visit: www.leasidegardensociety.org