Marijuana growing is a hot topic according to the numbers that turned up for two seminars at the annual Springarama Home, Garden and Lifestyle show where more and more chairs were set out to accommodate the crowd.
And members of the audience, asking questions and paying rapt attention to gardener Andrew Donaldson as he explained the process from germination to harvesting, was predominantly grey.
“It seemed that most of the people were middle-aged and up,” said Donaldson, who runs Dandy-Lyon Horticulture out of Selkirk and has been growing marijuana – quietly – for some years.=
“These were people who have been gardening for a long time and wondering about growing their own cannabis. They’re exploring the plant’s healthy effect on joint pain and arthritis as an alternative to a synthetic pill.”
Donaldson said since a change in law has meant a person can legally grow up to four plants on their property, gardeners have been looking at saving money – in particular taxes – by adding marijuana to their flower garden or vegetable patch.
“People who get their cannabis from a legal dispenser find it’s the same as going to the LCBO. You have to include taxes, plus you can be left wondering about pesticides. At home, people have control and can decide if they’re growing organic or not.”
Donaldson’s top tips?
Don’t be afraid to spend a bit of money on the seeds since they are the investment that will set the quality of your plants and harvest. And keep in mind that, despite marijuana being legal, there are still dishonest people about so if people can see it, they may try to take it.
Marijuana wasn’t the only draw at the show.
Mirjana Vucic, a co-organizer of the event for the Simcoe Chamber of Commerce, said it was possible attendance at this year’s show would surpass last year since the sunshine was encouraging people to think of spring repairs, renovations and gardening while the cold weather was preventing them from doing anything but planning.
“It’s been a really good turnout and we’ve had some new vendors this year,” Vucic said.
One of those new vendors was Anna Maria Crognale of Ridgeway Lavender in Port Colborne, selling lavender soaps and essential oils, along with trays of sparkling jewelry.
“I’m very pleased with the turn-out here,” said Crognale, a former high school teacher.
“I’ll definitely be back.”
Among the roofing, flooring and eaves-trough sales pitches were wellness vendors selling hearing aids, massagers and mobility aids.
Over at the booth for the Simcoe and District Humane Society, the agency’s most compelling ambassador was brought along.
Tillie is a young female cat hit by a car on Jan. 23 and left at the side of the road.
Her femur was broken and had to be pinned in place while she was kept in a veterinary clinic for a month.
“Some people look at her and say ‘Why bother?’,” said Kathleen Clinckemaillie, as Tillie snuggled into her neck, “but we’re the Humane Society and it’s the humane thing to do.”
Clinckemaillie said Tillie is now ready to be spayed and then adopted but anyone who wants to help can also donate toward her medical bills.
“She’ll have her microchip, spay, first vaccination and de-worming all for $50, which is a bargain because we’ve spent $2,500 on her.”
The agency is also actively seeking donations toward its new shelter which it hopes to open in the spring after spending 13 years in a tractor trailer.
A presence at Springarama often encourages donations and helps the group connect with potential volunteers.
Springarama is co-sponsored by the chamber of commerce and the Simcoe Reformer. Organizers expected that more than 2,000 people visited Springarama over the weekend.