Our September meeting will be one that you do not want to miss (in fact, all our meetings are one’s you do not want to miss!), as this is when we will have our first annual Members Competition of Garden Produce. This is a fun evening where we all get to brag about our summer gardening exploits! The September Newsletter will have all the details for joining in the fun.
Our Guest Speaker for the evening is Roger Griffiths who will be presenting on the Channel Islands and the Keukenhof Gardens in Holland, and will be talking about those hallmarks of spring, tulips.
And, as we celebrate a bountiful harvest, we also want to give thanks by giving something back:
At our September meeting “garden harvest” we are asking members to help support the Comox Valley Food Bank. “Fresh from the Heart” helps increase fresh food donations to the Food Bank so that all Comox Valley residents, regardless of income, have access to fresh food. The program encourages individuals to purchase fresh food – a little extra fruit, vegetables, meat, milk or eggs locally, for donation to the Comox Valley Food Bank. They also encourage those with vegetable gardens to “Grow a Row” for the food bank.
Many of us grow fruit and vegetables and sometimes end up with abundance. Instead of leaving those extra zucchini on your neighbour’s doorstep, why not bring them to the meeting on September 16th? We will be accepting fresh produce from your garden, as well as canned and dry goods to be donated to the food bank.
Margot has loved plants and gardening for as long as she can remember. One early memory involved her bringing a small bouquet of bluebells to her grandmother. After exclaiming how beautiful they were, her Grammy asked if she had picked them from the neighbour’s garden. ‘Oh, no!’ Margot lied. And thus began her life of crime – and gardening.
Since then, Margot has developed a passion for growing plants and creating gardens, first as a child and then as a homeowner. Along the way, she absorbed garden knowledge from multiple sources – from expert gardeners, taking gardening courses and reading as well as learning from her mistakes.
After taking the Master Gardener Course 25 years ago, Margot was inspired by the Master Gardener manual to design a perpetual garden journal called “My Growing Gardenbook” which sold over 8,000 copies across Canada and the US in garden centres and gift shops.
Her preference for a natural-looking landscape has led to special interests in BC native plants, rhododendrons, ferns and hellebores. Margot’s presentation, “Heavenly Hellebores” was developed as much from hands-on experience as extensive reading.
Heavenly Hellebores (PowerPoint presentation by Margot Moser)
The “Heavenly Hellebores!!!” presentation provides a broad overview of everything relating to hellebores: – History – hellebores were known and grown in Greek and Roman days, often used for medicinal purposes. – Species – there are about 20 species of Helleborus many of which will be shown in the presentation but the emphasis will be on hybrids of Helleborus niger and H. hybridus. – Propagation – the intricacies of cross-pollination in seed selection and tissue culture will be discussed, featuring new introductions by many of the top propagation specialists. – Culture – details of how to grow, where to grow, where to purchase; pest control, etc.
Dozens of slides illustrate the diversity of species and hybrids now available for sale.
Bob Duncan, of Fruit Trees and More in North Saanich BC, will be speaking about growing subtropical fruits that normally could not thrive in this northern climate.
He uses microclimates, partial shelters, an unheated greenhouse, and chooses varieties best suited to the south coast BC climate. Mr. Duncan has 40 years’ experience growing fruit trees on Vancouver Island, and 35 years’ experience with the Canadian Forest Service. The trained botanist/entomologist, with wife Verna, cultivates a demonstration orchard and specialty nursery with over 400 varieties.
Specialties include: avocado, fig, jujube, kiwi, loquat, medlar, olive, passion fruit, pawpaw, persimmon, pineapple guava, pomegranate, quince, and white sapote. His orchard is a botanical classroom for teaching fruit cultivation techniques.
Check out this youtube link to an informative video by Bob Duncan!
Dr. Royann Petrell and her husband, Sylvain Alie, have organically gardened to produce most of the food they have eaten over the last 24 years. Gardening was a wonderful place to unwind from stressful jobs and for these two birders to enjoy their hobby. To date, in and around their garden, they have recorded 81 species of birds. Several bird species nest there while dining on the garden pests. Today Royann, now professor emerita from Chemical and Biological Engineering, UBC, is making plans to attract four new birds (the purple martin, tree swallow, bullock’s oriole and the marsh wren) to her garden. She employs her knowledge gained in biological science and through a long career as a research bioengineer in habitat protection. Flower gardens can be wonderful habitat for birds. Small gardens are a challenge for nesting birds as their needs are many. Royann will describe what it takes for a bird to rear a successful brood in general, and then, show what a flower garden would look like for this to happen for three different type of bird species: a larvae eating warbler, a pesky-bug eating sparrow, and pollinating Rufous hummingbird.
The numbers of birds are declining rapidly around the world. Royann feels that making small changes to how one gardens would not only help restore bird populations and reduce pest numbers but would bring added joy to the gardening experience.
Dr. Lindgren received his undergraduate training in Sweden and came to Canada for graduate studies at Simon Fraser University. Dr Lindgren’s area of interest is forest insect ecology and management.
Dr. Lindgren will be talking about “Pollinators in Your Garden – Not just Bees”. As a professional entomologist, and inventor of the “Lindgren Funnel Trap” a widely used tool in forest entomology throughout North America, Staffan will share his keen interest in and extensive knowledge of plant-insect interactions, and how these can work to our benefit in our gardens.
Dr. Lindgren received his undergraduate training in Sweden and came to Canada for graduate studies at Simon Fraser University, and a post-doctoral fellowship at UBC. After working as Research Director for a pest management company in Vancouver, he became a professor at the University of Northern British Columbia in Prince George where he studied plant-insect interactions, forest entomology and biodiversity. Staffan is now Professor Emeritus at UNBC and lives with his wife in Nanaimo, BC where he enjoys bird watching, nature photography, kayaking and flyfishing. You can find more information about Dr. Lindgren on ResearchGate or on Twitter ( @bslindgren ). His blogs on entomology can also be found at the Entomological Society of Canada blog site.
HGTV host Donna Balzer brings garden inspiration and practical insider information to get you growing food faster under cover and in your greenhouse this season. Eating fresh food from your garden is great for you and on Vancouver Island it is a real possibility! Donna grows watermelons in summer, cauliflower in fall and lemons year-round by growing under cover. Join in the fun and learn to stretch you garden growing season. PS A greenhouse is optional but fantastic for stretching the season.
As owner of Grow Tree Care, Aaron Wurts brings his passion for trees and problem solving to the task of business ownership. Starting in Vancouver’s arboriculture industry in 2001, Aaron had the opportunity to work with several municipalities, large development sites, commercial properties and many strata councils. After moving his family to the Comox Valley in 2008, over the years developed Grow Tree Care and feels very fortunate to have such a cohesive team with such diverse skills and shared values. Aaron enjoys working with people as much as with trees and is always more than willing to educate and give his perspective ,when it comes to trees, to anyone whether they are interested or not… so look out!
Laurene Ebbett will present a slide show on public and private gardens of England, Wales, and Ireland. Laurene participated in a tour in May 2017 led by Steve Whysall, retired Garden Editor of the Vancouver Sun. There will also be slides from the iconic Chelsea Garden Show.
She is presently a member of three garden clubs in the Oceanside area, and has become quite passionate about garden design and floral art. Three large (dying) cedars were removed from the front yard before Christmas, so the Ebbetts redesigned their front yard this Summer so it which will hopefully be easier to maintain.
For our October 15 meeting, in addition to it being our annual general meeting, we are going to be hosting our Fall Soil Social where you can learn about our most requested topics – composting and soil amendments. We have gathered a variety of experts to present their ideas and products to you at a one-on-one level. Presented in a “mini trade show” format, members will be free to roam table-to-table asking questions and taking notes. There will also be products available for purchase.
Doors will open at 6:30 pm for members and guests. There is no formal speaker for the evening, but each expert will be talking about their product and how to improve your soil. We will start the AGM around 7:30 pm – this portion of the meeting will be relatively quick so we can all get back to talking to the experts.
Confirmed expert participants are:
Welcome Harvest Farm, Texada Island (organic fertilizers)
SpeediBin Composter, Comox Valley
The Organic Gardener’s Pantry, Victoria (Effective Microorganisms and organic fertilizers)
Campbell River Compost Education Centre
Society for Organic Urban Land Care, Canadian non-profit organization (SOUL – information on organic horticultural practices)
In addition, our very own Master Gardener, Joan Wynden will be running a “compost potluck”. Please bring about 2 cups of finished compost in a container with your name on it. All the compost will be mixed together, which will maximize the biodiversity of the critters that create compost. Containers will be refilled, ready to take home and added back into your compost, thereby enriching the microbiota in your compost.
Join us for an evening with BC Home and Garden Show speaker (and all-round dynamo) Conway Lum.
Conway has been a recipient of the “Garden Communicator of the Year Award” by the BC Landscape and Nursery Association (BCLNA). He is a contributor to the “Ask-the-Pro” column in BC Living (Garden Wise) Magazine.
Conway will also be running two workshops for members on the day of his talk. For more information please visit the Workshops page.