Trees for Tomorrow
Dr. Steve Mihok of Trees for Tomorrow was on site at the Russell & District Horticultural Society’s plant sale on Sat., May 18. Van Dusen photo

RUSSELL – Start time Saturday for the annual Russell & District Horticultural Society plant sale was set for 8 a.m…. but the green thumb crowd was already fanning out across MacDougall Park starting at 7:30 a.m. looking for garden enhancements at a reasonable price.

Located in Russell Village, MacDougall Park is one of the horticultural society’s pet projects; not only do members maintain the garden there but they financed construction of the dry stone bridge crossing the ravine. As part of the society’s 100th anniversary celebrations this year, “Afternoon in the Garden at MacDougall Park” will be presented June 22. 

The sale theme was “Take home something green” and enthusiastic shoppers did just that, snapping up most of the plants on display before the noon cutoff, said sale coordinator Lindley McPhail, as she dealt with a line-up of shoppers paying for their purchases.

Knowledgeable society members were on hand to provide advice on what plants would be likely to do best in what locations. They also explained the 100th anniversary “Rudi the Rubeckia” contest whereby a metal sculpture of the plant commonly known as black-eyed Susan will be travelling the area waiting to be spotted by residents who could win it simply by emailing the key word and even a selfie to

Not only were decorative flowering plants supplied from members’ gardens for sale, but students were offering vegetable plants and the Trees for Tomorrow group had potted trees and shrubs for sale at $2 a container.

Trees for Tomorrow’s Dr. Steve Mihok sold more than 100 one-year old seedlings grown in his backyard from seed collected from various sources, all producing edible berries for people and birds, including three types of serviceberries, Saskatoon berries, and chokecherries. A portion of the money was donated to the society and the remainder will go toward Trees for Tomorrow projects.

Mihok said he was a little surprised at how popular the trees and shrubs were with gardeners who wanted something native, edible, and attractive to birds. While he couldn’t attribute the surge of interest directly to people wanting to help compensate for cancellation of the provincial 50-Million Tree Program, there was some “chitchat” about that controversial decision.