Monthly Archives: June 2014

Celebrating Our Holiday

The Stikks Family is a local content political cartoon appearing on the blog from time to time. Follow Pops, Mom, Dick and Jane and their adventures in Welland as Pops throws his hat into the municipal election campaign. (Cartoon humour by Joe Barkovich)

Garden Routes Home: An entry from my garden journal



CAPTION: My wife’s clematis vines love to snuggle up against the side yard fence.  (All photos by Joe Barkovich)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Garden Journal, Friday, June 27Image

CAPTION: This photo, above, was taken May 29, 2014. The photo below was taken Friday morning, June 27, the same side yard garden.


It’s amazing to see how the garden changes over a relatively short period of time.

My photos help keep a record of what goes on in the garden spaces we cultivate.

I’m providing two photos that show the difference over a period of about four weeks.


Today, this side yard rose garden is nearing the end of its first bloom period. It peaked on the weekend just gone by. Today there is much deadheading to be done, in addition to maintenance like weeding and, later in the day when it is cooler, giving the bushes a scheduled spraying.

I’ve planted one new bush this summer, a City of Welland rose. It is in a spot previously occupied by one of my favourites, Pristine. Pristine did not survive the harsh winter much to my disappointment and dismay. Ahead, I may purchase a miniature or two, but that is still up in the air for the time being. So a decision is to be made.

One of the photos selected for use on today’s page is a rose I transplanted here several years ago. It is 60+ years old, according to the owner of the home from where it came, mother-in-law Eleanore Laquerre, who remembers that it was planted by her father. She does not know the name of the rose.


CAPTION: This rose bush is more than 60 years old.

 I’ve accumulated garden statuary over the years. Provided below is one of my favourites, St. Francis amongst some roses. I’ll say goodbye and sign off on this journal entry  with a photo of the charming Jude the Obscure, bottom of page. 



Purple Coneflower: One of the joys in gardens and roadside plantings from mid to late summer.  It is also known as Echinacea purpurea and is a favourite of Monarch butterflies because of its nectar. Rather than use a file photo of purple coneflower, look for one from this year’s garden in the weeks ahead.


“Laws of Gardening:

  1.  Other people’s tools work only in other people’s gardens;
  2. Fancy gismos don’t work;
  3. If nobody uses it, there’s a reason;
  4. You get the most of what you need the least.”  –     Arthur Bloch, from A Gardener’s Bouquet of Quotations.

Sunset today, Friday, June 27: 8:55 p.m.

Sunrise tomorrow, Saturday, June 28: 5:16 a.m.

Next Garden Routes Home: Friday, July 11


(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City.)


Lasting Image: Rosie Smith

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

My lasting image of Rosie Smith is a string of pretty ribbon.
Mrs. Smith, the consummate recreation program organizer and volunteer, died Wednesday, June 25. She was 76 years old.
Mrs. Smith was well known in the Welland community for her work especially with Welland Recreation Projects Association.
This goes back a few decades. Our paths crossed in the early 1970s and connected many times over the years.
Welland was blessed with volunteer recreation groups doing magnificent work in local neighbourhoods. Who can forget Northwest Recreation Activities Centre, Sherwood Recreation Activity Centre, Dain City Recreation, Southend Neighbouhood Committee and perhaps one or two others.
But Welland Recreation Projects Association, which she spearheaded, was granddaddy of all. It provided programming on a city-wide basis. Back then, it planned and organized the Santa Claus parade, Welland Winter Carnival, Welland Winter Carnival Queen Contest, Family Day, Canada Day in Memorial Park, Halloween costume parade for children, Easter Bunny visits for children, Toys for Tots Christmas Concert, even Santa Claus visits through neighbourhoods in Welland.
The group held meetings at Winstonville Hall on Wavell Court. The daily newspaper covered these meetings from time to time to stay in touch with what the group was planning for Wellanders and to get word out in occasional feature stories or photos.
Attendance at meetings varied, from a half a dozen to a dozen-plus members. Mrs. Smiith, however was one of the constants: she was always there, always one of the first to arrive and one of the last to leave. She was a sparkplug with unbounded energy and infectious enthusiasm.
Though all the group’s initiatives were important to her, one that was close to Mrs. Smith’s heart was Family Day in St. George Park. It was based in her stomping grounds, the Welland South neighbourhood. At one time Family Day attracted hundreds and hundreds of families to the sprawling park at the end of St. George St. A big part of it, years ago, was the annual swim meet, one that had a large following. This was due in no small measure to the efforts of Mrs. Smith and her husband, Steve, who had started a swim club there years ago.
Mrs. Smith gave selflessly to making Welland a better place, especially when it came to children. She wanted equal opportunity for all to take part. Over many, many years she was part and parcel of a volunteer recreation group that looked after Welland as whole. But she was more than that.
Rosie Smith was the pretty piece of ribbon that held it together.
The Smith family will receive friends at J.J. Patterson and Sons Funeral Residence, 19 Young St., Welland, Saturday and Sunday from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Vigil prayers will be offered Sunday at 2 p.m. The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at St. Mary’s Catholic Church Monday, June 30 at 10 a.m.
(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City. Lasting Image appears on the blog from time to time).

Soup fundraiser ladles out social justice scholarships

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large

Four graduating Grade 12 students from two Welland secondary schools have been named recipients of the $1,000 St. Kevin Food Bank Social Justice Scholarship for 2014.

The students, and some biographical information about them, are:



School: Notre Dame;

Going To: Niagara College, Child and Youth Studies;

Parish: St. Ann, Fenwick;

Social Justice Involvement: Harvest Kitchen meal program, 600 hours of community service time at local soup kitchens, homelessness initiatives, pro-life supporter;

Reference quote: “Jacob’s commitment to his community is evident and when coupled with his academic excellence in his chosen field he truly is active as a leader, respected, and considered to be a well-rounded citizen in his school and community.” – John Belcastro, vice principal, Notre Dame;

Verbatim: “…my career path is the definition of social justice. Helping people feel their worth in society, that’s what I plan to do. I want to be a therapist for kids with mental disorders and instil them with the confidence to overcome their lack of confidence. I want them to know they are different and that it’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with being unique.” – Jacob Campbell.



School: Notre Dame;

Going to: University of British Columbia, International Relations;

Parish: St. Kevin;

Social Justice Involvement: Social climate committee animator, Eco-Schools club, fair trade club, Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace participant and assembly organizer; Free the Children supporter and event participant; pilgrimage, pro-life supporter, missionary trip participant to Lima, Peru to help in construction of a medical centre, more;

Reference quote: “This year Rachel travelled to Peru, an experience that has opened her eyes to the needs of our international community. She has volunteered to make a presentation and share her experience with our youth group and instil in them that they can make a difference no matter what age.” – Dahlia Brannigan, St. Kevin’s youth ministry co-ordinator;

Verbatim: “After raising money for the Malala Fund, a project supported by Free the Children, I took a vow of silence for 24 hours which involved no speaking, hand signals, texting or using social media. This vow of silence was to create awareness of the millions of children around the world who are not given the opportunity to go to school and receive an education, especially the girls who are denied access to education simply because they are girls.”- Rachel Lauder.



School: Ecole secondaire Confederation;

Going to: Brock University, Co-op Psychology;

Parish: St. Andrew the Apostle;

Social Justice Involvement: Out of the Cold (Harvest Kitchen) involvement at Sacre-Coeur parish, Operation Christmas Child participant, founding member (with her family) of Operation What Are Friends For, raised funds and gave assistance and hope to a friend who suffered a life-altering accident; youth ministry justice initiatives at St. Andrew, raising awareness of social issues such as bullying, more;

Reference quote: “Chelsie clearly demonstrates compassion, kindness and love for others by actively engaging in several church and community efforts that deal with poverty and hunger, both here in our community and internationally. She is ready to spare her time and talents for others, she is committed to teaching the biblical principles of love, justice and compassion, understanding that they are instrumental to positive change in people and the world.” – Fr. Paul Vellakunnathu, pastor, St.. Andrew the Apostle;

Verbatim: “…I plan on staying true to the teachings of my faith and using them as a foundation to my counseling. Also, I hope to publish some writings and lead seminars to educate people in our society, to show how their actions affect others and how proactive changes can be made to reduce some of the common causes of problems.”- Chelsie Resch.



School: Notre Dame;

Going To: St. Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Bachelor of Arts program;

Parish: St. Ann, Fenwick;

Social Justice Involvement: social climate leadership, Development and Peace Action Campaign organizer, youth forum participant and leadership roles, pilgrimage, food drive organizer and participant, Montreal Massacre Prayer Service reader, Walk Against Male Violence participant and organizer, fair trade club, more;

Reference quote: “….what sets her apart is her social intelligence. She is very deeply aware of the suffering of those around her and has always responded intelligently and with much love.” – Fr. Paul MacNeil, pastor, St. Ann Church, Fenwick;

Verbatim: “For as long as I can remember, my faith has been a prominent part of my life. Now, as I grow older, it has become increasingly important to me. I hang on to my values even more firmly in a rapidly changing, growing world. These values have always led me to social justice. I have found fulfillment in working towards the common good, helping others reach their potential and creating a world that Jesus wants to realize.”- Hannah Zamora.

Hannah was also the inaugural recipient of the Eileen McCarthy Scholarship for Social Justice, in memory of a former teacher at Notre Dame, a dedicated social justice activist and leader for many years.

Nine students in total applied for the St. Kevin Food Bank Social Justice Scholarship. Applicants were required to complete a questionnaire and to take part in an interview with the social justice scholarship committee where they responded to a set of pre-determined questions for all, and answered impromptu questions from committee members. They were required to provide details of social justice involvement and participation in their school and the community at large, and to have a record of solid academic achievement over their four years of secondary school.

The scholarships were presented at Notre Dame’s commencement held Wednesday, June 25 and at Confederation’s on Thursday, June 26.

The scholarship’s main fundraiser is Soup’s On!, held at St. Kevin parish annually on the last Friday in January.

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City.)



















Welland Snaps: The hidden beauty in trees


CAPTION: How pastoral is this. Trees along the canal service road off Lincoln Street West do more than provide shade on a hot summer afternoon. To appreciate them for what they are, an up close look at individual trees along the walk is warranted. (All photos by Joe Barkovich)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler at large

 You know the old saying: You can’t see the forest for the trees.

Well, sometime the opposite is true: You don’t see individual trees and what each has to offer when you look at them en masse.



Trees can be a study of beauty.

The geometric patterns that are to be found in limbs and branches can be amazing. All that one needs to do is pause a few moments and give them a good look.

And here’s some advice from a tree watcher: Don’t just look at them head on. Get under them and look up, through the limbs and branches for a view that’s fixed on the sky above.


You might be surprised by what a tree has to offer.

Let your imagination branch out, let your eyes be amazed by patterns and geometric design.




(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City. Welland Snaps is a weekly feature on the blog, appearing Mondays.)

Walking space

The canal trail in the area behind Best Western Rose City Suites was popular for walkers and cyclists Sunday afternoon. It’s picturesque, as this photo attests. Wellanders should count themselves fortunate to have this public-facility green space. (Photo by Joe Barkovich)

Garden Routes Home – Garden living can be for the birds!


CAPTION: City of Welland rose photographed this morning, June 20, in our side yard rose bed. (All photos by Joe Barkovich)

By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large


95th Welland Horticultural Society Rose Show, Saturday, June 21 at Seaway Mall, Centre Court, part of Welland’s Rose Festival.

The show’s theme is the Battle of Cooks Mills. The Battle of Cooks Mills, of course, was part of the War of 1812-14 and is being commemorated here in Welland with a live re-enactment in October.

The  rose show’s design division (arrangements) has five categories, all tied to the historic event:

Birth of a Nation: a small arrangement in a container of your choice, a design from 51/2 inches to 10 inches which must not exceed 10 inches in any direction;

Lyons Creek: a water viewing design ;

Gunfire: a design in a container of your choice;

Celebrating Victory: an arrangement in a container of your choice (including red and white);

Marching Forward: a design suitable for a dining room table arrangement, maximum height 15 inches, accessories/candles permitted.

The instructions call for use of roses and other flowers (at least one rose or more must be included) but florist material cannot be used.

Roses, of course, dominate the horticultural division. Classes include: hybrid tea roses (single rose); miniature roses; climbing roses; floribunda; other varieties; David Austin rose; open class.

Others are: peonies, small hostas, medium hostas, large hostas and display.

Full details are provided on the entry brochure, available at: Main Street library, Vermeers, Wellness Centre; Seaway Mall community booth, Rice Road Greenhouses, Paul’s Garden Centre, Rose Festival office.

Cash prizes are available for first, second and third place entries. A list of special awards – and there are many in this show – is printed on the back of the entry brochure.


Monday, June 23: Evening Garden Walk, Four Gardens in Pelham. Meet at Fonthill Library at 6:30 p.m. for list of gardens. Free for members, non-members $10. Refreshments to follow.



‘Paeonia Bartzella’: You’ve seen peonies in white, pink, mauve. Chances are you have not seen this peony.

Bartzella comes out in breathtaking yellow. It can be the brightest star of any garden, sure to attract attention and even a few ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ Here is one good description, from a perennials website: “Itoh peonies are rare and unusual hybrids between garden peonies and tree peonies. There are several varieties, all highly sought after by collectors, yet easy to grow and very hardy. This selection forms a tall, upright bush of lush green leaves that stand up well into the autumn. The HUGE flowers are double to semi-double, with soft sulphur-yellow petals and a lemony fragrance. A highly regarded selection, outstanding performer.”


“One of the healthiest ways to gamble is with a spade and a package of garden seeds.” – Dan Bennett, author



Some folks say garden living is for the birds.

I’m becoming one of them. Birds do have a way of adding to gardening’s charm – their chatter, their singing, even their lofty hideaways.


Take these bird houses for example. Some are rustic, some have character, some are downright cute. They were photographed at Olde Towne Gardens, a hosta farm in Niagara-on-the-Lake, a getaway that’s well worth a visit on a sunny, summerlike day such as today.

Here’s what I suggest: take flight, do it on a whim, and enjoy the outing.



You may find that garden living can be…for the birds!

 Sunset today, Friday, June 20: 8:54 p.m.

Sunrise tomorrow, Saturday, June 21: 5:13 a.m.

 Next Garden Routes Home: Friday, June 27

(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City.)

An eye to heaven


Hybrid tea roses are commonplace, especially in Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City. But one that isn’t an every day sighting is this rose, Heaven’s Eye. It grows eight to 10 feet, maybe more and has hundreds of light mauve flowers with red/purple centres. Though it is non-recurring, meaning it blooms but once a season, starting in the second year after planting it is well worth the wait. It’s a prolific grower and seems to enjoy overshadowing others that grow nearby, as happens in one of our backyard beds. This is a Geschwind rose, dating back to 1894 when it was introduced. A smaller section of the same bush is shown up close, below. Magnificent! (Photos by Joe Barkovich)