There are big changes in store for the Port Stanley Volunteer Gardeners (PSVG) in 2021.

Shirley Doyle today confirmed that the loyal band of volunteers is abandoning its signature flower – geraniums – and in the coming growing season will begin decorating gardens here with Proven Winners Supertunias petunias.

“We are making a change from geraniums to Supertunias, cutting out the deadheading,” said Doyle. “Our order is already in for plants this year. It will be a lot easier for us now.”

Ordered from Canadale Nurseries, in St. Thomas, Supertunias are reminiscent of ‘wave’ petunias, known for their ability to blanket gardens, as a ground cover or border.

Supertunias are a newer petunia variety, with vigorous single or double blooms available in many colors. The variety has a mounding habit, serving as ‘fillers’ or ‘spillers’ for containers, or near the front of flowerbeds. The medium-to-large flowers of Supertunias’ do not require deadheading due to their natural prolific blooming habit.

“We have already been out to do cleanup, and pruning,” said Doyle. “Our next project will be spreading manure, middle of April.

“Then on Friday, May 15th, we will plant the gardens on the east side of the bridge,” she added. The gardeners have already filled the planters outside Port Stanley Library with bulbs and pansies. “We hope to attend to the west side, Legion gardens, as soon as the bridge is open again. I hasten to add, that when we are out, we are separated and masked, according to COVID-19 rules.”

PSVG routinely does its work on Friday mornings, with about 14 volunteers. Fundraising and recruiting new volunteers continue to be a chore. The group has set up a table at The Art and Soul Cafe, selling greeting cards and packets of flower and vegetable seeds. PSVG also sets out a watering can to accept donations at their worksites. “We are very grateful for donations, especially during COVID-19, when we are unable to do any fundraising,” said Doyle, adding that inquiries may be sent to .

“The volunteer gardeners have been instrumental in beautifying Port Stanley for many years,” said Central Elgin Mayor Sally Martyn. “They are very dedicated and make a real difference.

“Central Elgin gave them a volunteer award and have also brought them coffee and cookies to say thanks, but there is no way we can thank them enough,” added Martyn. “Port Stanley Volunteer Gardeners are a vital part of their community … They are a great example to all of us.”