February 25th, 2019 – Aaron Wurts: Tree Stewardship, maintenance strategies, spiral pruning and topping.

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!

October 15, 2018: Fall Soil Social Event – Come soil yourself with the CVHS!

Speedibin Composter

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.

September 17th, 2018: Conway Lum – ‘Growing Fruit Trees Organically’

 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.

August 20th: Peter B. Janes – “Unusual Edibles”, TreeEater Farm and Nursery

Peter is the co-owner of Tree Eater Nursery on Denman Island, a small mixed permaculturally-oriented homestead farm. 

Peter is a man with many hats. Since 2003 he has been (learning in the process of) developing the farm, property and infrastructure.  His main area of focus now is the management of the edibles nursery, ongoing development of the orchard and animal systems, general maintenance and building.  

June 18th, 2018: Joan Wynden – ‘Practical Permaculture’

Permaculture means many different things to different folks. We’ll look at why such diversity thrives in this system of looking at the world, and glean a few nuggets that we can fit into our own gardening world. 
Biographical information:
Joan Wynden, a Master Gardener and Permaculture Designer, can’t seem stop helping new plants come into the world, and has earned the nickname of plant midwife. Her home-based nursery, Garden Lore, features deer resistant and drought tolerant perennials.

May 28, 2018: Connie Kuramoto – “Plan your winter garden now! 

May 28, 2018: Connie Kuramoto – “Plan your winter garden now!  (Eat yummy vegetables all winter long).” Gardens on the Go.
Although we have just barely begun our summer gardens, it is good to keep our winter gardens in mind. To eat from your garden year round is easy, but it does take a bit of planning, and now’s the time to do it! We can start preparing and amending the soil and building shelter for plants now, and we must start seeds for many of our winter vegetables very soon. 
This talk will include methods for improving soil and starting seeds in summer, and will introduce you to some ideas about shelters for your plants. Winter gardens are great, because you don’t have to water them, so let’s get on with growing our winter garden!   
Connie Kuramoto worked as an instructor and technician for Vancouver Island University’s Horticulture Program for twenty years and coordinated student activities in the program’s greenhouse and nursery. She retired to start her own Horticultural Training and Service company called Gardens on the Go, and contract teaches for both North Island College and Gaia College. She offers workshops throughout Vancouver Island, and also provides consulting services for homeowners, municipalities, and non-profit groups. Connie says she loves Horticulture because she learns something new each day about it. She always recommends the more sustainable options and has been an organic gardener since she was 4 years old. Her first Horticultural Job was selling flowers on the street corners of Albequeque New Mexico in 1970, and she has never looked back.

April 16th, 2018 – David Polster: ‘Natural Processes for the Restoration of Drastically Disturbed Sites’

Join us for an evening with ecological restoration specialist David Polster. David will talk about his work using living plant material in reclamation techniques (such as wattle fencing) for unstable slopes – a highly relevant topic for those of use living in riparian and costal bluff areas. 
Wattle Fencing is one technique used on extremely steep, un-vegetated slopes. It is an alternative to concrete and rock retaining walls that encourages living plants to grow a bank stabilizing root mat. 
Presentation Title:
Natural Processes for the Restoration of Drastically Disturbed Sites.
Summary of the Session:
Natural processes have been restoring disturbed sites for millions of years.  By understanding how these processes operate, effective strategies for the treatment of human disturbances can be developed.  This talk will include information on how these systems can be used to treat local slumps and slides. 
David F. Polster, R.P. Bio. #148 is a plant ecologist with over 40 years of experience in vegetation studies, ecological restoration and invasive species management.  He graduated from the University of Victoria with an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in 1975 and a Master of Science degree in 1977.  He has developed a wide variety of restoration techniques for mines, industrial developments and steep/unstable slopes as well as techniques for the re-establishment of riparian and aquatic habitats.  He is the past-president (third term) of the Canadian Land Reclamation Association.  He is the treasurer for the Western Canada Chapter of the Society for Ecological Restoration and is the NW Regional Representative on the board of the international Society for Ecological Restoration (SER).  He was recently awarded the prestigious John Rieger Award from SER.  He served as the alternate mining representative on the board of the Invasive Species Council of B.C. for 9 years.  He recently became a Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (CERP #11).
Photo: Martin Gisborne

March 19th, 2018 – Zac Kregosky: ‘Xeriscape’

As our summers get hotter and water resources lessen, it will be even more important that we make the right decisions in our gardens. A garden should provide as much enjoyment as possible, while impacting our environment as little as possible. A great garden starts in the soil, and if done right, it should require little care.

Attendees will learn about plant physiology and how it relates to making waterwise choices. The next important consideration is site exposure; choosing the right plant for the right location is key to creating a thriving garden. We will examine types of plants and specific plants ideal for xeriscape gardening. I firmly believe in and practice being a lazy gardener.

My passion for plants started while pursuing a degree in Biology with a focus on plant sciences. A horticulture program at Malaspina solidified my desire to work with plants. I started my career at the Art Knapp location in Vernon, becoming the nursery manager. I continued this vocation at the local Art Knapp. For the last 3.5 years I have been running my own gardening business.

February 19th, 2018 – Chanchal Cabrera: “Ethnobotany of Tribal People in Southern India”

At the southern tip of the Nilgiri Mountain range in Southern western India, where the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka meet, where the misty mountains run down to the steamy jungle, there is a rich abundance of flora and fauna. Designated a UNESCO Biosphere Preserve, this area is home to numerous distinct tribal groups who still harvest wild herbs for medicine and who still practice some of the old ways of healing. 

 In 2011 Chanchal spent a month acting as staff botanist for a documentary film crew as they recorded these ancient ways and vanishing medicines. This illustrated talk will discuss 5 different tribal groups, their clothes, and customs, their traditional medicines and healing ways, and the challenges these people face in the modern world. Showcasing the beauty and the magic of India, temples and palaces, mountains and valleys, and highlighting unusual or useful plants, many of them unknown in western herbal medicinal practice. 

Biographical Information:

Member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (UK) since 1987. Awarded Fellowship 2009
MSc in herbal medicine at the University of Wales in 2003
Faculty chair in Botanical Medicine at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster  2004 – 2016
Diplomas in Botanic Garden Management and in Botanic Garden Education from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 
Certified Shinrin Yoku (forest bathing) practitioner
Certified Master Gardener 
Certified Horticulture Therapist
Chanchal lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she and her husband run Innisfree Farm and Botanic Garden, a 7 acre registered botanic garden specializing in food and medicine plants, and run apprenticeschips in organic gardening and herbal medicine. They also host Gardens without Borders, a federally registered not-for-profit society established to run therapy garden programs for people with disabilities.

January 15, 2018: Carolyn Herriot “Natural Pest & Disease Control in the garden”

Carolyn Herriot – Natural Pest & Disease Control in the garden.

  • Getting your garden into balance with nature means you spend more time enjoying the garden and less time fighting problems. In this talk Carolyn looks at the role of soil, insects and wildlife in maintaining a healthy garden.

Carolyn Herriot ran The Garden Path Centre in Victoria for 25 years. She is a passionate gardener and cook, who encourages others to grow food and save seeds. She is a well known lecturer, and the author of ‘A Year on the Garden Path- A 52 week Organic Gardening Guide’ and ‘The Zero-Mile Diet’(Harbour Publishing)