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 www.figsforlife.ca

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

January 18, 2016: Dany Fortin & Shane Tillapaugh – “Crevice-style Rock Gardens: From the Mountain to Your Garden”

Dany Fortin and Shane Tillapaugh will explain how crevice-style rock garden landscaping can nurture an assortment of beautiful, challenging plants. They will present a step-by-step procedure for creating this unique scene for your garden, as well as expose some of their favourite plants.

Dany Fortin has worked in the horticulture field for sixteen years doing landscaping, garden maintenance, and tree care. He is an ISA Certified Arborist and Qualified Tree Risk Assessor.

During a year spent at Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, Dany worked on several large projects and was responsible for maintaining the Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle family) and Oleaceae (olive family – including forsythia, osmanthus, syringa) collections. Locally, he helped to create the No. 6 Mine Park in Cumberland and has spent three seasons working on the Filberg Park. Dany is also the creator of the beautiful rock gardens located at the Comox Recreation Centre and Comox Marina.

Dany is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture, Royal Horticultural Society, and Alpine Garden Society of England. He is currently working for the Town of Comox in the Parks Department. Unfortunately or perhaps fortunately, Dany has acquired a severe form of Plant Collectors Syndrome (PCS) and for this reason is an avid rock gardener.

Shane Tillapaugh is a gardener and naturalist who loves birds, bees, plants, and trees. He began his career in gardening in 2004 after graduating from the University of Victoria with a degree in biology. Further studies at Gaia College earned him a certificate in Ecological Landscape Design, subsequently followed by earning designation as a Certified Organic Land Care Professional. he is also an ISA Certified Arborist and Qualified Tree Risk Assessor.

Shane’s horticultural experience includes native plant gardens, nature-inspired water features, organic lawn and garden care, and drought-tolerant landscapes. He was fortunate to work on a large green roof project headed by world-renowned landscape architect, Cornelia Hahn Oberlander. This project was featured in Sitelines magazine.

Shane also teaches the Soil Science and Plant Health modules of the Horticulture Apprenticeship program at North Island College. He is a member of the International Society of Arboriculture, Canadian Urban Forest Network, Society for Organic Urban Land Care (SOUL), American Rhododendron Society, North American Rock Garden Society, and Scottish Rock Garden Club.