2015/2016 Program


Speaker: The Honey Bee, the Pollinators and the Environment by Alain Péricard, PhD Organic Beekeeper

Alain PéricardSpring was in the air as Margaret Gundara introduced Dr. Alain Péricard for what was to be a fascinating talk about bees and his 40 years of experience beekeeping. Dr. Péricard was the first to develop courses in urban beekeeping in Montreal and Sherbrooke using an ecological approach and emphasizing organic methods.  Diggers learnt where our Canadian bees originated, why and how smokers are used, the reasons and processes of swarming, how an egg becomes a new queen, a little about apitherapy, the effects today’s pesticides have on bees and how our shopping and gardening habits can impact bee populations.  Dr Péricard shared with us a recommended reading list for all those interested in delving more into the world of bees at the top of which is The Dancing Bees: An Account of the Life and Senses of the Honey Bee by Karl Von Frisch.


Flowers: “Inside the glass with class”

Table Centre Hall Arrangement Table Centre
Graham Stewart: Table Centre Joan Lindsay:  Hall – Tall jar with arrangement inside Helen Kurgansky: Table Centre inside large bowl


Speaker: Presentation on the Herbal of al-Ghafiqi by Dr. Faith Wallis

Dr Faith Wallis and Pam Milleral-GhafiqiOur speaker, Dr. Faith Wallis of the Departments of History and of Social Studies of Medicine, McGill University, presented a fascinating and colourful history of the 12th century manuscript Arabic herbal by the Andalusian pharmacologist al-Ghafiqi, held by the Osler Library of the History of Medicine at McGill. Drawing on her in-depth knowledge of medieval medicine, Professor Wallis wove a tale of Islamic science, art and history that stretched through 8 centuries and across several continents from Spain to the Middle East to Oxford and ultimately to Montreal. Her clever choice of images beautifully illustrated her talk. Contemporary photographs of a selection of specimens along with ornithological references reinforced the research component of the manuscript which has recently been fully reproduced by the Osler Library and the McGill Institute of Islamic Studies.

Flowers: “Victorian language of flowers with hidden romantic messages”

Flowers by Nancy Gallop Flowers by Jane Chisholm
Nancy Gallop: Table Center Jane Chisholm: Bedside Table


Speaker:  Why Art on the Land – Bill Vazan RCA, Land artist

Bill VazanLand art has always been of interest to Diggers and Weeders and particularly so following a series of workshops held by the club in 2008. It was with enormous pleasure that the club welcomed Bill Vazan to the club to talk about his land art.

Vazan studied at the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, the École des beaux-arts in Paris and Sir George Williams University in Montreal. He has been awarded the Paul-Émile-Borduas prize for art and design. He currently teaches at the School of Visual and Media Arts of the University of Quebec at Montreal.

From ephemeral to enduring Vazan presented early ephemeral landscape interventions including images from the Northumberland Straight (1968), the Worldline project (1971) and the Plains of Abraham (1979)  as well as later works of massive stone engravings.


The December meeting is traditionally a Christmas Luncheon at the home of one of our members and 2015 was no exception.

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Speaker: A Unique View of Montreal’s Magic Mountain – Wendy Graham Landscape Architect, AAPQ, FCSLA

Wendy Graham

With Montreal’s birthday on the calendar, many of us are expecting out-of-town-visitors. Summer or winter, we include a visit to the Montreal landmark, Mount Royal.

Our speaker is Wendy Graham, Landscape Architect, recently retired from the City of Montreal, Management of Large Parks and Greening. Her city beat was – Montreal’s Magic Mountain- Mount Royal.

Graham is the co-author of The Mount Royal Landscape Atlas 2013 an award winning publication,The City of Montreal and Quebec’s Ministery of Culture and Communication.

Thought I knew a lot about Montreal’s famous mountain until I browsed through The Mount Royal Landscape Atlas where I learned about the site’s scientific evolution, it’s designers and their intent, heritage and conservation challenges.

Flowers: “Not Winter Yet”

Golden Dog Trophy
Katie Kinnear: Table Center in a soup tureen Pam Miller: Hall Table in a trophy