May 16, 2016: Dianne Gaines – “Small Fruits in the Garden”

6:45 p.m.    Meet ‘n’ Greet
7:30 p.m.    Announcements and Club business
8:00 p.m.    Guest Speaker presentation
9:00 p.m.    Meeting wraps up after Guest Speaker question period

Dianne will be giving a slide presentation on some wonderful types of small fruits to grow in our gardens, and sharing valuable information on how to grow them.

Small Fruits - Kiwi issai

Some background about our speaker…

Her first recollection of gardening dates back to age 4, helping her mother sow pea seeds in the vegetable garden. And so began her learning experience on the importance of gardening, gradually understanding being a gardener is more than a simple hobby, it is a way of life. Lucky for her, her parents nurtured her budding gardening career and built her a greenhouse when she was still in grade school.

Small Fruits - Raspberries

During the mid ‘80s, Dianne and her mother joined the Langley Garden Club. Here she blossomed further, garnering more knowledge about plants and gardening, and at the same time, sharing her passion for her garden with like-minded people.

All of this passion led Dianne into continuing her education at the university level, undertaking a major in microbiology with a minor in botany. Following graduation, she was thrilled to join the team at Van Noort Bulb Company’s head office in Langley, B.C. where she currently is the Manager of Marketing and Packaging.

Small Fruits - Gooseberry

Van Noort Bulb Company is a wholesale supplier of spring and summer flowering bulbs, perennials, small fruits, shrubs, and roses to garden centres, growers, and landscapers across Canada. We are very fortunate Dianne will be bringing some of the small fruit plants to our meeting this month.

If you love your fruits, you will not want to miss this sale and presentation.

April 18, 2016: Members Plant Sale & Jennifer Lipka – “Native Pollinators: Mason Bees & Bumblebees”

6:30 p.m.    Meet ‘n’ Greet & Plant sale begin
7:30 p.m.    Announcements and Business
8:00 p.m.    Guest Speaker presentation
9:00 p.m.    Meeting wraps up after Guest Speaker question period. Final minutes of plant sale.

Monday, April 18th is our Members Plant Sale! Several of our members will have tables loaded with some very special plants from their gardens. You are pretty assured of finding a treasure amongst so much greenery. Plant sale starts at 6:30 p.m.! Bring a box!

Native PollinatorsAlso on this night, we welcome the Comox Valley Horticultural Society’s guest speaker, Jennifer Lipka, to learn about the research on environmental conditions affecting pollinators. Her presentation, “Native Pollinators: Mason Bees and Bumblebees”, will highlight the different kinds of native bees, wasps, and other beneficial insects. Jennifer will share ideas on what to plant and how to help the pollinators thrive in our gardens. Rest assured, native pollinators and beneficial insects really do need our help!

Jennifer has worked and studied with Brian Campbell, of Blessed Bee Farm, to better the lives of bees around the lower mainland. She is currently attending school for Sustainable Geography at UBC. She was a West Coast Seeds organic garden advisor for almost two years and continues to share her passion for helping people grow gardens organically and to support bee-friendly environments.

Remember: the evening fun begins a little earlier this month! Plan to be at the Hall at 6:30 so you have time to browse the plant tables, the Information Table, Opportunity Table, the Grow ‘n’ Show display…and get your Raffle Tickets for some neat prizes. You will also want to have a few minutes to talk “gardening” to your friends before the speaker presentation!


Posted on April 3, 2016

March 21, 2016: Joan Carrigan – “Making Basketry with Materials from the Garden”

6:45 p.m.   Meet ‘n’ Greet
7:30 p.m.   Announcements and Business
8:00 p.m.   Guest Speaker presentation
9:00 p.m.   Meeting wraps up after Guest Speaker question period

The Comox Valley Horticultural Society welcomes Joan Carrigan as guest speaker to the March 21 meeting.

Joan is a basket-maker with a focus on exploring ways of weaving with plant materials. Her presentation will cover how cultures throughout the world for millennia have used available vegetation such as barks, vines, roots, and grasses to make baskets. She will highlight how she sustainably harvests and prepares local plant materials on Salt Spring Island to make both functional and sculptural baskets.

For the past 25 years, Joan Carrigan has been making, studying, and teaching basketry. Her passion for baskets has led her to explore many different techniques and materials, both traditional and sculptural. Her inspiration comes from the plant materials she respectfully harvests from nature. Joan’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally.

For more information on Joan and her basketry skills, visit her website at:

Also this month, the Comox Valley Horticultural Society is celebrating the arrival of spring with our new “Spring a Friend” event! Bring a friend as your guest to our meeting this month at no cost! (There will be a little gift for your friend as our welcome.)


Notice: The basketry workshop scheduled for Sunday, March 20th, has been cancelled.



Updated on March 13, 2016

May 25, 2015: Krista Kaptein – “Plants of Paradise Meadows”

Krista KapteinOur speaker will be Krista Kaptein, Co-ordinator of Programs and Volunteers at the Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre, which is operated by Strathcona Wilderness Institute Society.

She will present “Plants of Paradise Meadows.”

In our own backyard, we have this unique area of subalpine fens and meadows with rare and unusual flora.

Krista will also offer us some history of Strathcona Park and background on the Strathcona Wilderness Institute.



June 15, 2015: Rhona McAdam – “Nutitrional Gardening: How to Get the Most from the Food You Grow & Buy”

Rhona McAdam, poet, holistic nutritionist and gardener, author of Digging the City: An Urban Agriculture Manifesto”, will be our guest speaker.

She will speak on the decline in nutritional values of fruits and vegetables and the farming practices which are contributing to this, including the toxins which are finding their way into our food through the agricultural system. She will also speak about growing, preserving and storage methods that can boost nutritional values.

Her books will be available for sale at the meeting.

August 17, 2015: Summer Joy & Jim Webb – “A Day in the RHS Malvern Autumn Show”

The August speakers at the Comox Valley Horticultural Society will be Mervillites Jim Webb and Summer Joy. Last September these avid gardeners went back to England, where they had been living until moving here in 2010. Amongst the various garden adventures they indulged in while there, they attended the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Malvern Autumn Show.

There are a number of huge RHS show events, all with long histories, held throughout the year in England, with the best known probably being the Chelsea Flower Show. At Malvern, the RHS hold a Spring Show and an Autumn Show. The autumn event focuses on fruit, vegetables and flowers of the season.

It is hard for people here to imagine the vast scope and size of this sort of horticultural event. It is truly enormous, jam-packed with beautiful and amazing displays and competitions, and also includes vendors for just about everything related to gardening, from plants to tools to garden ornaments to handcrafts of all kinds, and fabulous food and drink. One part of the slide show presentation on Monday night will feature the amazing giant vegetables competition. If you have an interest in knowing more about what goes on in the gardening world in England come to our meeting on August 17.

September 21, 2015: Zac Kregosky – “The Winter Garden”

We are very pleased to welcome Zac Kregosky who will speak at our September 21 meeting. Zac will share information on the basic plant physiology principles, how to prune for the dormant season and offer planting considerations along with suggestions for winter crops, spring bulbs and plants that offer winter interest.

Formerly the nursery manager for Art Knapp’s Plantland, Zac is now the lead instructor for the Continuing Education Horticulture Program and owner of Plants I Dig Landscaping and Consulting.

October 25, 2015: AGM & Dr. Pamela Shaw – “Mt. Arrowsmith Biosphere Region”

This month, for our Annual General meeting, we will be introduced to one of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) biosphere region in our neighbourhood.

Established in the year 2000, Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR) is part of an international network of 651 UNESCO biosphere reserves worldwide. It extends from the top of Mount Arrowsmith, which is the highest mountain on southern Vancouver Island, to the bottom of the Salish Sea. The area includes five watersheds that drain from Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Moriarty into the sea.

Within its 1186 square kilometers, the biosphere encompasses many unique ecosystems ranging from high alpine and coastal forests to intertidal and marine habitats. The drastic vertical range gives the MABR incredible biodiversity and makes it unique among biospheres in Canada.

This region is home to 45,000 people and part of the traditional territories of seven First Nations communities. Dr. Pamela Shaw, Director of Research at MABRRI, says that the “goal of the MABR Research Institute (MABRRI) is to help build a sustainable future in the region by connecting people and nature through research and education”.

Four members of the research team, including Dr. Shaw, will introduce the CVHS members to the biosphere in general, and highlight some of its botanical features. We look forward to welcoming Graham Sakaki (MABRRI’s Research Coordinator), Dr. Maria Inês Paes Ferreira (MABRRI’s Post-Doc Fellow from Brazil), and Monica Shore, (Communications Coordinator for MABR) for this exciting presentation.

November 16, 2015: Frank Hovenden – “Introduction to Bonsai”

Our own CVHS member, Frank Hovenden, will be the guest speaker at our General meeting on November 16th. An avid gardener who has developed a flair for the art of bonsai, Frank will be sharing his knowledge of this meticulous and ancient art form in pruning.

He will be presenting a brief overview on the history and basic principles of the bonsai technique through descriptive slides, following up with useful information on how to acquire, grow, and care for bonsai plants. Throughout his presentation, Frank will be showing examples to highlight bonsai styles, as well as demonstrative exhibits on display options.

After attaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Forestry from the University of New Brunswick, Frank spent 30 years working in the forests of Vancouver Island. He is an avid naturalist and a former president of the Comox Valley Nature Society. For the last five years, he has been managing the Wetland Restoration Project for CV Nature.


February 15, 2016: Devmurti Khalsa – “Growing Hardy Fig Trees & Other Great Edible Fruits in the Comox Valley

Devmurti Khalsa, owner of Figs for Life on Denman Island, will be showing us the best fig varieties for growing in this region, as well as providing us with useful information on how to grow them into healthy, low maintenance, drought-tolerant and “super productive” trees. He will also introduce us to a number of other very worthy, but little known fruit and nut trees which are also very suitable for growing in our region.

Involved all his life with gardening and farming, Devmurti now lives on a 46 acre organic farm on Denman Island. Through their permaculture-inspired nursery business, they ship trees throughout Canada. For more information visit

Devmurti also has a passion for living in harmony with the natural world. The presentation will include a demonstration of the Music of the Plants U1 device. The Music of the Plants U1 device is a cutting edge electronic device that registers the inner biorhythmic impulses of a plant and translates this into profoundly moving music. This is an exciting opportunity to witness the interactions between people and nature.

Bonus: Devmurti will be bringing a good selection of fruit and nut tree saplings to sell at this meeting. Bring your wallet!


Updated on February 9, 2016