Garden Club Archive

October 2008

Take a look at some of the winter planters Nancy created for her presentation at our October meeting.
winter planterwinter planterwinter planter

September 12, 2008

2009 Garden Tours from

"It is never too early to start planning your next Garden Tour Holiday" … says Donna Dawson, owner of She has been creating unique, one of a kind, garden tours since 1998 and this year is no exception…bookings are already coming in. The reason for that is because her past tour guests know what to expect. Donna's tour specific website at lists all the tours, along with the best day-by-day itineraries available anywhere. Print them out, and with them come your registration form and any visa applications you may need. Last year's China Peony Festival Tour booked even before the tour was posted, because past tour guests know the quality of the tours. The tours are very close to all inclusive as well, as that makes it so much easier to plan your spending money.

"All the tours are listed on our site: There you can also click on the short video we have that shows you a bit of the tour where 'Recreating Eden' was filming us for a television series… it gives you a snippet of the tour from some of the guests. You can also see some of our past guest comments. Click on the name of eachtour to go to that page and then click on the 'SEE DETAILS' for the complete day by day." continued Donna. "It really is simple – the hardpart is deciding which tour you want to go on…I am just thankful I can goon them all!"

Our line up for 2009 I think is the best yet…

Ecuador in January when it’s cold outside– this tropical tour not only shows you gardens but educates andinspires. 4 Star Hotels. Almost all meals.
India in February – Incredible ! ,the Taj Mahal and Sumptuous 5 Star Deluxe Hotels. Almost all meals.
Our 2nd Peony Festival Tourto in April – our first tour this past April sold out very fastso make this the year you come along with us! 4 & 5 Star Hotels andALL meals
Chelsea Flower Show, , – What can I say about the most famous Flower Show inthe world held in May – every gardener has to see at least once. ONE hotel, 4Star, Most meals
Magical - to Marrakech gardens, markets and more PLUS cookery course and 5 Star Deluxehotels and ALL Meals
We end our season with a Tropicaltour to Southern China and a special ending in . 4 & 5 Star Hotels and ALL Meals

May 30, 2008

CR Art Gallery Garden Tour 2008

Garden TourStaff and volunteers at the CR Art Gallery are especially excited about the annual Art & Garden Tour for 2008. This popular event, now in its 13th year, has a record number of gardens to visit this year, with 8 gardens new to the tour. In addition, the tour is being held the weekend of July 5 and 6, about 3 weeks later than in previous years. Christine Kufner, the Garden Tour co-ordinator says, "This was done partly in hopes of better weather, and also to give gardeners a chance to show off their properties a little later in the gardening season, in a more advanced state."

As is the case every year, the gardens cover the gamut from expansive properties with impressive water features and mature plants to compact city gardens loaded with charm and whimsical touches. All of Campbell River is represented, from the north end of town, south to Miracle Beach and points in between - offering something for everyone. As an added feature, artists and musicians will be working in some of the gardens.

One of the newcomers to the tour is the appropriately named Ron LaFleur, who was voted "compost king" in the garden contest held by the city last year. He and his wife Bo, along with other new tour participants, Michelle Woods and Doralee Graham, all suffer from a characteristic common to many gardeners – a need to be constantly changing and adding to existing beds. Laurel and Richard Cronk, also tour newcomers, say their expansive gardens above Discovery Passage, will always be a work in progress.

Back on the tour for 2008 is the unusual and popular garden of Kevin & Dianna Thompson. This property is a must-see on the tour – hidden behind a charming but unassuming small front garden, the backyard is a jungle of huge, exotic plants and complimentary sculptures bringing to mind prehistoric times.

Rita Choquettes' "gingerbread house", another favourite repeat from a few tours ago, is a small city garden packed lovingly with hundreds of perennials and quirky features that capture the imagination.

In addition to these private gardens, the CR Compost Education Centre will be open, with speakers on hand to demonstrate composting techniques to gardeners. And the folks at the Haig Brown heritage garden are inviting tour-goers to experience the peace and beauty of this historic, riverside property.

Tickets for this event will be on sale in early June at the CR Art Gallery, the Visitor Centre, Willows Farm Market & Garden Centre, and the Comox Valley Art Gallery. The cost is $15 per person, and tickets are good for both days. Proceeds from the Garden Tour, sponsored by Royal LePage Advance Realty, support on-going children’s programming at the Gallery.

May 11, 2008

Campbell River Garden Club plant sale at the Pier Street Farmers' Market

May 1, 2008

The Campbell River Garden Club hosted a Hypertufa workshop on Saturday, April 26, at the Sybil Andrews cottage.

a artificial stone made of various aggregates bonded together with Portland cement; a light weight porous planter that looks like limestone rock-tufa.

Come and create your own long lasting planters and have fun playing in the mud. There will be a small FEE to cover the supplies cost and the rented space. But you will have time to make two or more Tufa pots in this workshop.

You will need to bring: A bucket for mixing and something to mix with ( I like the hand garden cultivators), gloves (vinyl or latex), plastic bags and non stick cooking spray, containers for your mold like ice cream pails, old bread pan, shoe boxes, old dish pan, etc... . Please limit the size to no bigger then an ice cream pail or dish pan - because of space constraints at the cottage and it will be easier for you to take home.

March 28, 2008

Native gardening techniques given full bloom

Native Plant Workshop, Sunday, April 13.

The City of Campbell River Parks, Recreation and Culture department, in partnership with Communities in Bloom, is once again bringing Native Plant Workshop facilitator Pat Johnstone, from Victoria to Campbell River.

Johnstone was here last spring and spoke to a full house of gardeners, all of whom came away with many ideas and much more knowledge about our beautiful home grown plants and how to incorporate them into their landscapes.

This year's Native Plant Workshop will be held at the Museum at Campbell River on Sunday, April 13 from 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm.

Part of the afternoon will be spent outdoors exploring the beautiful grounds of the Museum identifying the many native plants that grow in the area.

You will also have an opportunity to ask questions and soak up Johnstone's expertise. The cost of the workshop is only $10. What a fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Register soon as this workshop filled quickly last year.

You may register at either the Sportsplex or the Community Centre.

For more information please call the Community Centre at 286-1161.

February 17, 2008

An Invitation to All BC Garden Clubs

You are invited to the 21st Annual BC Landscape & Nursery Association Fundraising Auction at United Flower Growers in Burnaby.

Clear your calendar for Tuesday, February 26th - it's Mardi Gras!
Bring your family, friends and neighbours to BCLNA's annual fundraising auction at United Flower Growers in Burnaby (4085 Marine Way). We've got a great afternoon in store for you from Cajun cuisine to award winning blues player 'Wes 'The Blues Man' Mackey'. Wes has traveled the world and has played with blues greats such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed and Stevie Wonder.

Bring the largest vehicle you have and load up on an excellent selection of plants for your garden from local growers. (The number of plants in each lot is varied to suit small to large projects.) Many items go below wholesale prices. Check out the latest list of plants and garden products at

Here are some other auction item highlights:
* 'French Quarter At Night' framed prints
* Stone Inukshuk 4' x 4.5'
* Child's Kubota pedal tractor
* Half Moon Bay hot tub, 25 head jet system
* One night stay for 2 at the Four Seasons Resort , Whistler
* 2 Canucks tickets (Fri. March 21 vs Wild)
* 18 bottle wine cooler
* 4 tickets for Harbour Air Seaplane

Register early or register on site. Bidding cards are only $10. Previewing begins at 2:00; auction starts at 3:30. Complete details can be found at Please circulate this information to all your garden club members along with any family and friends who may be interested in attending this fun event.

If you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact Heidi Henderson or Barb Nelson at 604.574.7772

February 17, 2008

Come see the early spring colour at Milner Gardens & Woodland's Spring Opening

March 1, 2008 from 10 am to 5 pm (gates close at 4 pm). Admission by donation. All proceeds support the Garden. Tearoom will be open at 10 am this day. 250-752-6153 or or for further information.

The Gardens open for the Season March 20. We are open Thursday through Sunday and holiday Mondays from March 20 to April 30 and September 4 to October 13, and open seven days a week from May 1 to September 1. Tearoom is open from 1 pm to 4 pm when the Gardens are open.

Milner Gardens' 7th Annual Spring Plant Sale is April 19 and 20, from 10 am to 4 pm, entry by donation.

February 6, 2008

Certified Tree Risk Assessor & Arborist, Erika Higgins, of 'Sage Mountain Resources Ltd', (250-830-8920 ), spoke at our February meeting, sharing with us her wealth of information on the care and pruning of our beloved garden plants. She stressed that even with careful, skilled pruning, it may take many years for an improperly pruned tree to recover. Sometimes the harm done by improper pruning and the stress that results can kill the tree or damage it beyond repair. If a pruning cut is made cleanly, just outside the bark collar, (the slight thickening where the branch meets the trunk), the tree will protect itself from insects and disease by 'compartmentalizing'. The bark will roll over the edge of the wound and eventually heal. She doesn't recommend using any kind of wound dressing or coating. If a stub is left extending from the trunk, the tree can't properly seal off the wound. The stub will die back towards the trunk, potentially harming the tree. It's very clear that assessing the plant and planning is a very important factor in successful pruning.

Erika told us that dead, damaged or diseased branches should always be removed, as should crowded or rubbing limbs. Then it's time to stand back and examine the plant. She told us that too heavy pruning can be a significant health stress. Experience is the best teacher, but Erika also suggested that there are lots of books about pruning available. A couple that she suggested are Pruning Made Easy - A Visual Guide or, for more indepth information, The Royal Horticultural Society Pruning Training Manual. Lots of information is available online, too.

Once you know where you want to cut, you need the right tools. Erika brought a selection of pruning tools to show us and explained the advantages and disadvantages of each type. Sharp, clean tools are safer and more effective and Erika explained the proper care of pruners, loppers and saws. She brought examples of tree branches showing different reasons for pruning and rounded the evening off by demonstrating the proper way to make the pruning cuts. I'm sure we all looked at our shrubs and trees with a new insight after this evening.

Here are some photos of how NOT to prune.

bad pruning bad pruning bad pruning

November, 2007

News From the Garden Club Library

Did you know that:
Miniature roses grow on their own root stock and so they are less likely to freeze out over winter?
And fall and winter are great times to for planning a new cutting, butterfly or herb garden for your back yard, or to coax winter bulbs to bloom indoors to lighten up your home in the New Year?

How about adding winter beauty in your garden with plantings like Dogwood, Witch Hazel, Winter Jasmine, Cherry Bark Maple or any Maple, Ornamental Grasses and Ferns, Hollys, Hellebore, Lungwort, climbing hydrangea, Beauty Berry and so much more to give new interest in your yard on these gray winter weather day.

"It is only when a garden is positively designed that it is to derive the maximum benefit from it."

There are these and lots of great ideas and good winter reading in the books in your Garden Club library, So come and CHECK OUT a book or two at the next meeting. The library will be open though out the meeting so you have lots of time to check out our books. And three new books have been given to us to add to our library. They are: House Plants, By the New York Botanical Gardens; Better House and Garden House Plant Care; and Tropical and Subtropical Gardening.

October 4, 2007

On Saturday, September 23, Nancy Bissonnette presented a 'Cast Cement Leaves' workshop at Sybill Andrews.

October 3

At our October meeting, Nigel Lambeth of Campbell River Garden Centre presented “12 Essential Things to Do in Your Garden Before the Winter”.

Here's Nigel's list:

  • 12 - deal with problem areas in your lawn
  • 11 - clean up the veggie garden
  • 10 - trim your hedge
  • 9 - mulch your fallen leaves
  • 8 - clean up your summer perennials
  • 7 - feed your shrubs and vines with rock phosphate
  • 6 - feed your broad-leaved evergreen shrubs with an iron-based fertilizer
  • 5 - lift and store your tender bulbs and tubers
  • 4 - prepare your beds for next year's sweetpeas
  • 3 - choose and plant your spring bulbs
  • 2 - add trees and shrubs to your garden
  • 1 - take the time to relax and enjoy your fall garden!

Visit Nigel at Campbell River Garden Centre; I'm sure he'll be happy to expand on these suggestions and share even more great garden ideas.

May 24, 2007

Entry forms available at:

Entry deadline: Friday, June 15

1st Prizes courtesy
Campbell River Garden Centre
2nd Prizes courtesy
Willows Market
3rd Prizes courtesy
Serendipity in the Garden

Got worms? Best Composting! All gardens will be judged on best composting efforts.

May 17, 2007

[Garden Club members volunteer to plant Sybil Andrews cottage garden]
A group of volunteers from the Campbell River Garden Club planted a perennial bed at Sybil Andrews cottage this weekend.

Thank you to Shar-Kare for their generous donation of 'OceanSoil' and plants.

April 16, 2007

Hygro Gardening Supplies Inc. now offers a 10% discount to Garden Club members on non-sale items.

April 4, 2007

Dahlia Cultivation with Angus Hunter

Angus Hunter from the Pacific Dahlia Society described a method of growing dahlias in pots in the ground. It's labour-saving, efficient, and he showed us photos of hundreds of gorgeous dahlias.

To find out more about Angus' methods, go to his website at

April 3, 2007

Shar-Kare now offers a 10% discount to Garden Club members on non-sale plants, shrubs and pots.
Willows Market in Willow Point also offers a 10% discount on non-sale items.
(Please remember to show your membership card before ringing in your purchases.)

[Paulette creates a garden club banner]Paulette has created a beautiful banner to represent the garden club.

Thank you so much Paulette.

March 29, 2007

Quadra Island Garden Club welcomes Sheena Adams, owner of Urban Greenery in Port Alberni on Monday, April 2 at 7:30pm at the Community Centre, (970 West Road, Quadra). She will present her top 12 organic solutions for the home garden.

Along with the guest speaker, the Quadra Club offers a giant sale to share local plants. The plant sale will begin at 7pm. Cost for non-members is $5.

March 17, 2007

The Nanaimo Literacy Association bookstore, at 19 Commercial Street, Nanaimo, BC, has all its gardening books on sale for half price during the month of March.

March 8, 2007

Isabel brought blooms from her garden to show us. Even with this dreary weather she has lots of colour. She brought: crocus, fall daphne, heather, hellebores, primroses, pulmonaria and a sweet-scented pink viburnum.

Besides bringing in her blooms, Isabel presented a great idea. We can all take photos of our garden, through the kitchen window and post them, (anonymously), on the photo album page. Then we can all try to guess whose garden each photo represents. To post photos on the album page just click the 'Photo Gallery' button in the left-hand navigation column. This will take you to a page where you can view or post photos. (There's an 'Upload New Photos' link in the left-hand column of that page). If you have any problems with the uploads, John has successfully uploaded to the page and I'm sure he can help.

Carol Couture attended our club meeting last night to encourage us to get involved with Communities in Bloom. It will be Campbell River's 3rd year in this community building program. Other Island communities are involved; Qualicum Beach was a 2004 National Winner! If you want to support community pride, the next committee meeting will be held at Campbell River Community Centre on March 29, 2007 at 3:30pm.

Carol also told us about another way to promote community pride and beautification. Find out how you can Adopt a Highway.

March 7, 2007

Get Down to Earth

Linda Easton of Oyster Bay Plant Works spoke to the garden club about soil. She has been gardening at her Oyster Bay property for 31 years and stresses that good soil is the basis of a garden's success. She was willing to share the benefit of her 3 decades of experience.

Linda told us that she nearly broke her spade on the rocks when she first tried to prepare the soil in her garden. She quickly realized that she wouldn't be able to dig down to create beds, she would have to build up.

Linda first ordered a truckload of topsoil; when it was delivered it turned out to be thick, sticky clay. She tried to amend it for years, adding sand and peat and gravel, but finally realized that it was a losing proposition. She threw the clay soil over the bank.

Next she brought in screened glacial till and added a hefty amount of fish compost. She cautions us to check how long compost has been working. This compost read 60 degrees celsius and needed to rot down before it could be safely used. Now she orders a very specific mix that she finds works throughout her garden. She orders from a supplier she can trust and gets 5 yards of fish compost to 10 yards of well rotted, fine mulch. She adds peat in the areas she's planting and her beds end up with about 1/3 peat, 1/3 mixed fish compost/rotted mulch and 1/3 topsoil.

If you have a good source of horse, cow or chicken manure, you can use it instead of the fish as the organic component to your soil. Just a precaution, though - you MUST compost it for a long time to make sure the urea content is gone, as well as that the seeds in the manure have been killed so you don't get uncontrolled weeds in the beds.

A 3 inch layer of compost, (if you have it), or fine fir mulch when a bed is planted and then subsequent 1 inch layers each season will control weeds, conserve water and add organic material as it breaks down.

The heavy winter rains can leave our gardens wet and too acidic. Yellowing leaves can be a symptom that our plants can't metabolize iron or magnesium effectively because of the acidity. Linda suggests ph testing in the spring. Light applications of dolomite lime can easily bring the ph level to between 6 and 7, a neutral level where most plants will thrive.

The rhododendrons, extensive collection of hellebores and and many, many other plants in Linda's garden prove that she has a winning blend.

February 8, 2007

"If you build it, they will come."

So said Dan Smith at the Campbell River Garden Club meeting last night. Dan was referring to the mason bee, a docile and efficient bee that will happily colonize your garden here on Vancouver Island. It would take 60,000-120,000 honeybees to pollinate an acre of apple trees. 250-750 mason bees can cover the same area.

You have probably seen the mason bee in your garden, Dan tells us, without recognizing them. They are shiny blue-black or green bees, slightly smaller than a honey bee. They could be mistaken for a deerfly or horsefly except that their antennas are segmented, like bamboo, rather than a single slender filament, like a fly's antenna.

Dan explained the life-cycle of the mason bee and displayed several different styles of bee houses that are easy to build. We heard of bees nesting in siding and in porch railings, but they will be very attracted to houses customized to meet their needs. The houses should be situated in a sheltered, south east exposure by the end of March to attract the emerging bees.

The female mason bee creates nest chambers in appropriately sized holes. She gathers pollen and nectar in spring and brings it to the nesting hole. She places the food in the back of the hole, then backs in and deposits one egg. The chamber is completed with a plug of mud.

The process is repeated until the hole is filled with chambers. Eggs for females are laid deepest in the tube and males in the outside chambers. The female orchard mason bee lives for about a month and can produce one or two eggs each day.

Eggs are laid in spring. Soon they hatch into larvae that stay in the nest chamber, eating the pollen and nectar left by the mother bee. When it is completely eaten, the larva spins a cocoon and pupates within the cell. They remain in the cocoons throughout the winter. When the weather warms in the spring, they leave the cocoons and the nest and start the cycle all over again.

Dan recommended the book, Pollination with Mason Bees: a Gardener's Guide to Managing Mason Bees for Fruit Production, by Dr. Margeriet Dogterom as a reader friendly, step-by-step guide for gardeners.

webpage courtesy Garden-Spots