Author: Theresa Scholes

Landscape Design

Duane Ensing of Landscape Solutions.  Duane’s philosophy:  The design process is highly  personal, but there are critical factors to consider in the creative process guiding
the development of individual plans.  What are key needs and desires? Here are steps guiding your look into your own landscape with an eye to designing/redesigning  enjoyable spaces. Take inventory of your entire site, start making a plan to incorporate some of these elements, and plan to invest in garden areas for now and the  future.

Pre-meeting workshop: 6:30 pm, Main Floor Boardroom

Joe Harvey:  Ferns from Spores Renowned botanist and VHS Member Joe Harvey will show how to grow ferns from spores. There will be fern frond samples and a demonstration of collecting spores and the sowing method. Go home with a complete kit to start plantlets on your own window ledge. Supplied: soilless mix, rare spores, already growing plantlets. Bring clean plastic tubs, 500 ml or smaller.

Smarter Gardening (or Less Work, More Enjoyment!)

Lesley Shepherd will discuss how to analyze your garden and adapt or tweak it to suit your lifestyle and gardening habits. October sees the start of the ‘real’ gardening season on the Lower Island, and many projects you can do over the winter months will make your garden healthier, more water efficient, and easier to manage. Don’t miss this interesting presentation on a very timely topic!

Read Lesley’s Handout.

Pre-meeting workshop: 6:30 pm, Main Floor Boardroom

Rebecca Lang, of Any Thyme Gardening, offers a workshop on fall pruning, including how, what, and when to cut back perennials, shrubs, and trees to minimize damage from heavy fall and winter winds. Get your garden ready for the change in seasons.

Dragons and Damsels: Water and Wildlife in the Garde

Rob Cannings, Curator Emeritus of Entomology at the Royal British Columbia Museum, reveals the value and delight of water — ponds, streams and smaller features — in a small local garden. Rob focuses mainly on insects that water attracts and supports, especially dragonflies and damselflies, but for good measure, includes butterflies, birds and other creatures.

Pre-meeting workshop: 6:30 pm, Main Floor Boardroomparlourshow

Jacqueline Bradbury, the Society’s own fully accredited horticultural judge, conducts a workshop on techniques and hints for effective Parlour Show exhibits.

Edible Beauty

Here is Lynda’s Edible Flower List. Nancy’s instructions for Cement Garden Art.

VHS Member Lynda Dowling, owner of the Happy Valley Lavender and Herb Farm, provides tips and hints on adding edible crops to ornamental gardens. Lynda shows how to have both blooms and beans with plant combinations boosting productivity. Here is Lynda’s Edible Flower List.

Pre-meeting workshop: 6:30 pm, Main Floor BoardroombootsNshoes

Nancy Bissonnette is a basket artist, teacher and master gardener. Nancy will share creative and easy ways to make garden art including birdbaths, planters and stepping stones. Learn how to use tufa stone, and imprint concrete with garden foliage. Nancy’s instructions for Cement Garden Art.

Master Gardener Nancy Keehr on Bonsai

May’s speaker is Master Gardener Nancy Keehr. Nancy will discuss a project to identify, inventory, and document the collection in the Horticultural Centre of the Pacific’s new Bonsai Garden. The site, one of only two bonsai gardens in Canada, is the nation’s largest in both area and number of specimens (53 plus). Nancy will explore the project’s procedures, challenges, and educational importance.

Pre-meeting workshop: 6:30 pm, Main Floor Boardroom

Join Maurice Bombesin, a local bonsai expert with 40 years experience in the art, for a talk on how to begin. Maurice will provide a brief history, introduction to tools and techniques, and how to become involved in this ancient art.

Elizabeth Cull on Containers and Patio Gardens

Our April Speaker is Elizabeth Cull, owner of Dig This—Oak Bay (1990 Oak Bay Ave 250 598 0802) and now the Pacific Horticultural Centre gift shop. Elizabeth will discuss: selecting the latest lightweight containers; creating complete vegetable gardens on patios & balconies; and designing ornamental containers that never fail to impress. The passionate self-taught gardener comes from a long line of gardeners. “My great-grandfather had a palm house in England,” Elizabeth reveals. The Cull family garden is unruly cottage-style full of roses & bursts of tender tropicals.

Pre-meeting workshop: 6:30 pm, Lower Boardroom

Preparing Your Garden Tools for Spring with Stephen Cranz, a 25-year veteran of the horticultural industry. The 1-hour workshop covers tool & small equipment maintenance, and hands-on sharpening. Members are encouraged to bring secateurs and a knife for sharpening.  Stephen will provide sharpening stones and files for this workshop.

Fruit Trees on Vancouver Island with Bob Duncan

Bob & Verna Duncan, owners of Fruit Trees and More, discuss stone fruits—apricots, cherries, nectarines, peaches, & plums. 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. The orchard is a botanical classroom for teaching fruit cultivation techniques. NOTE: some varieties are in limited supply. Bob & Verna recommend submitting your fruit tree order as soon as possible. Orders taken at meeting or visit
250 656 4269
724 Wain Road, North Saanich

Pre-meeting workshop: 6:30 pm, Lower Boardroom

Building and Amending Soil with Dwight Pennell from Integrity Sales and Distributors, 2180 Keating Cross Road, Saanichton Tel: 250 544 2072. Dwight makes the upcoming VHS Fertilizer Sale possible— mark Saturday, 12 April on your calendar.

Invasive Species

Rachelle McElroy from the Coastal Invasive Species Committee will survey the host of beautiful, but environmentally destructive, species home gardeners have introduced into landscapes for decades. These invasive species include terrestrial, semi-aquatic, and aquatic plants. Alternative choices, both native and non-native, in the Grow Me Instead program, will be considered. In the case of popular shrubs like ILEX (holly), the solution is simple: plant a sterile named variety.

Pre-meeting workshop: 6:30 pm, Lower Boardroom Certified Arborist Ryan Senechal, September 2013’s speaker, returns with a workshop on fruit tree pruning and orchard care. Meetings are held at the Garth Homer Centre, 813 Darwin Ave, Saanich. (Extra parking at the Saanich Municipal Hall parking lot.)

Festive Floral Fare to Greet the Season

December’s meeting is our Christmas Event—no Pre-meeting Workshop. The guest speaker (back by popular demand) is stand-up florist and comic, Rob Jennings. Rob will entertain us with amusing but informative decoration-making demonstrations. Visit this talented florist at Jennings Florists Home & Garden www.

A variety of Awards—including the Whiteoak Trophy, Unsung Hero, and Open Garden Cash Prizes—will add to December’s celebrations. And the LUCKY DRAW will be bigger and better than ever thanks to local merchants’ generosity!

Following tradition, please bring your favorite Christmas dish— savory or sweet finger-food—for all to enjoy. Bring food already portioned and ready to go on tables provided. We also encourage your Christmas creativity: please bring garden foliage decorations and/or table centerpieces to brighten the festivities. Meeting starts at 7:30 pm; please bring baking and decorations between 7:00 and 7:30 pm.

AGM and Lorian Roberts, “Art of Ikebana”

Annual General Meeting

The VHS is looking for new members for the Executive – five new members are needed. Please contact president@ to volunteer or for more information. The new executive for 2014 will be elected during the AGM.

SPEAKER: Lorian Roberts, “Art of Ikebana”.

Lorian Roberts, is a local Ikebana artist and teacher who studied at Tokyo’s Ohara School. Lorian continues to study and teach in the tradition, and is a member of the North American Ohara Teachers Association (NAOTA). The artist will create Ikebana for us. One of Lorian’s arrangements will be raffled off at the end of the meeting. Visit Lorian website at