Past Speakers 2021

Allen, Christine – Roses (May 20, 2021)


Christine Allen

Types of roses

Hybrid tea and floribundas are usually grafted and don’t like to share the space.

Examples of hybrid teas: Peace, Burgund 81, Elina

Examples of Floribundas: Hot Cocoa, Iceberg, Julia Child, Escapade

Shrub roses are on their own roots and can grow with other perennials.

Examples of shrub roses: Hansa, Graham Thomas, Sally Holmes, Rosa glauca.

Miniature roses tend to disappear in a garden setting but are great for hanging baskets and in pots

Examples of miniature roses: Sweet Chariot (scented), Green Ice, Warm Welcome (climbing miniature which is perfect size for an arbour)

Old garden roses are roses that were in existence before 1867. They only bloom once.

Most are very healthy and grow well with perennials. They display fall foliage and hips

Examples of old garden roses: Rose de Rescht, Tuscany Superb, Rosa Mudi, Fru Dagmar Hastrup, Rosa rugosa alba,

Climbers and Ramblers

Examples: Ghislaine de Feligonde, Albertine, Veilchenblau, Lykkefund (thornless)

When choosing a rose for your garden do your homework to find out which will suit your garden and climate best.

Good source:  Vancouver Rose Society Website page Which Rose?


Roses need:

  • Six hours of sun
  • No competition
  • Well-soaked soil to settle into


  • When buying a rose choose one that has 3 to 4 good strong stems
  • Loosen roots before planting
  • If it is pot bound slash on all four sides 2 mm in to speed the roots out
  • Have a cone of soil in the bottom of the hole to spread the roots over
  • For grafted roses place the graft 1/2” above the soil level
  • Compost only if you don’t have good soil
  • Don’t overfeed to start
  • Watering is very important
  • Make sure they are well watered but not sitting in water


New roses: 

  • Add some well-rotted compost to the planting hole
  • Water well after planting
  • Do not fertilize again until after the first blooms have faded

Established roses

  • Water deeply once a week in dry weather
  • Fertilize around the beginning of March and again after the the first blooms fade
  • No nitrogen after July


  • Modern roses in March
  • Shrub roses  and older roses cut back by 1/3
  • Climbing roses move the stems off the vertical and place them on the horizontal in order for the stems to produce flowers
  • Grow ramblers horizontally

Pest and diseases

  • Black spot goes across the veins and starts at the bottom of the plant. Prevention: choose a cultivar good for your weather. Management: take off the most affected leaves.
  • Downy mildew is between the leaves, starts at the top and moves down. Management:  trim affected leaves off.  80 degrees F will kill downy mildew.
  • Powdery mildew usually appears at the end of the summer. Management: clip the tips, avoid watering at night.
  • Rust: shovel prune it! 
  • Mosaic virus is a consequence of using infected pruners and grafting tools when grafting the rose. There is no management - you either get rid of the plant or learn to live with it. Make sure you disinfect the pruners you use before moving on to another rose.
  • Specific replant disease: cannot plant a new rose where an old one was unless you dig a huge hole and replace the soil.
  • Spider mites. Management: jet of water under the leaves.
  • Aphids. Management:  jet of water or wait for the ladybugs to appear.

Rugosa rose do not suffer from diseases.

Good insects

  • All bees including the leaf cutter bee that cuts dime size hole on the edge of leaves (they use these to line their nests)
  • Lady bugs and their larvae
  • Wasp gall ( will feed the birds)

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Roses for the Pacific Northwest

Growing Up: Climbing Plants

A Year at Killara Farm

Casey, James – Bringing Birds Into Your Backyard (March 18, 2021)

About the speaker:

After earning a master’s degree in International Environmental Policy at the University of Northern British Columbia, James had the opportunity to work with WWF-Canada on topics ranging from eelgrass and marine planning to hydropower and the Water Sustainability Act. This experience established a base of knowledge he is now applying to the context of the Fraser Estuary Important Bird and Biodiversity Area. On behalf of Bird Studies Canada, James is building support for the development of a conservation strategy for this IBA.

Presentation Notes:

General information

2.9 billion birds have gone since 1970

    • Eastern Forest birds have declined by 17%
    • Arctic tundra birds have declined by 23%
    • Western forest birds have declined by 29%
    • Boreal forest birds have declined by 33%
    • Shorebirds have declined by 37% 
    • Grassland birds have declined by 53%

The state of Canada’s Birds from 1970 to 2019

While some birds have increase during this period (for example wetland birds have gone up by 30%) others have decreased dramatically especially the shorebirds (by 40%), the grassland birds (by 57%) and the aerial insectivores (by 59%)

Main threats to birds:

    • Habitat loss and degradation
    • Climate change
    • Cats
    • Collisions with buildings and other structures
    • Pesticides, rodenticides, and other toxins

A Bird friendly garden has the following elements:


Good plants for birds who like fruit:

    • Saskatoon Serviceberry
    • Black Twinberry
    • Cluster Swamp Rose
    • Common Juniper
    • Pacific Crabapple

Good plants for birds who like seeds:

    • Douglas fir
    • Western Hemlock
    • Columbine
    • Vine Maple
    • Goatsbeard

Good plants for birds who like nectar:

    • Salmonberry
    • Flowering Currant
    • Oregon Grape

Good Plants to attract insect for birds who eat insects:

    • Red Alder
    • Pacific Willow
    • Think about the insect you are trying to control, find the bird that eats it and give it the food and habitat it wants. For example chickadees eat caterpillars, ants and aphids; flycatchers eat flying insects, nuthatches eat caterpillars, ants and earwigs.


    • Have different water levels for different bird size
    • Keep bird bath clean
    • Need texture at the edge of the bird bath
    • Running water in fountain

Shelter and nesting locations

Diversity of habitat

      • Coniferous trees for birds such as Pine Siskins
      • Deciduous trees for birds such as Bushtits
      • Shrubs for birds such as White-crowned Sparrows
      • Ground covers for birds such as spotted Towhees
      • Good plants for shelter and nesting material are: Salmonberry (preferred habitat for many forest birds), Pacific Ninebark, Sword Fern( good for ground nesters)  and Hardhack (good nesting material)
      • Cavity nesting birds need different stages of deterioration of a dead tree. If at all possible leave decaying trees in place.
      • Owls like to roost in Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar

Plant diversity

    • Use local native species in your yard.

Other ways to help birds in your yard:

    • Nest boxes 
    • Feeders 
    • Make sure the feeders are cleaned weekly.

Beware of Ecological Traps 

“When the habitat is giving off good vibes, but there is some underlying reason why birds won’t succeed there, we call this an ecological trap” Anita Tendler, NestWatch

    • Remove flight hazards such as windows. Don’t place plants close to window.
    • Place feeders at least 10 - 13 feet away from window or very close to it.
    • Keep cats indoor or on leashes when outdoor with you
    • Avoid pesticides and rodenticides
    • Cover open pipes
    • Trim hedges outside of nesting season

Some great Citizen Science opportunities:

Support Bird Friendly policies such as the District of North Vancouver Tree Protection Bylaw 7671 and the Vancouver Bird Strategy (January 2015)


Chalker-Scott, Linda (June 17, 2021)

Topic: Science Based Plant Choice for a Changing Climate

Dr. Linda Chalker-Scott has a Ph.D. in Horticulture from Oregon State University and is an ISA certified arborist and an ASCA consulting arborist. She is WSU’s Extension Urban Horticulturist and a Professor in the Department of Horticulture, and holds two affiliate associate professor positions at University of Washington. She conducts research in applied plant and soil sciences, publishing the results in scientific articles and university Extension fact sheets. Linda also is the award-winning author of five books: the horticultural myth-busting The Informed Gardener (2008) and The Informed Gardener Blooms Again (2010) from the University of Washington Press and Sustainable Landscapes and Gardens: Good Science – Practical Application (2009) from GFG Publishing, Inc., and How Plants Work: The Science Behind the Amazing Things Plants Do from Timber Press (2015). Her latest effort is an update of Art Kruckeberg’s Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest from UW Press (2019). In 2018 Linda was featured in a video series – The Science of Gardening – produced by The Great Courses. She also is one of the Garden Professors – a group of academic colleagues who educate and entertain through their blog and Facebook pages. Linda’s contribution to gardeners was recognized in 2017 by the Association for Garden Communicators as the first recipient of their Cynthia Westcott Scientific Writing Award.

See below for notes of her presentation:

Download (PDF, 119KB)

Dangelmaier, Pamela and Wehinger, Elke – Tulips: From Mania to Megastar (September 16, 2021)

About the speakers:

Pamela Dangelmaier - Co-owner Botanus Inc

A native Vancouverite, Pam's love of gardening began as a child when she explored her grandparent's sunken garden.  After completing her BFA degree at UBC she pursued an active career in theatre, television and film and then returned to her 'roots' when she co-founded Botanus. Her debut novel, "Flour Garden", continues to be a favourite among gardeners and is available for purchase through Botanus. Pamela has a passion for learning and recently graduated with distinction from UFV having received a graduate certificate in Mindfulness Teaching & Learning. On top of all her fun duties at Botanus, she has now also started her own mindfulness-based coaching business and offers a variety of mindfulness courses and workshops through her website.

Elke Wehinger - Co-owner Botanus Inc

Born in the heart of the Blackforest in Rheinfelden, Germany, Elke has a Master's Degree in floral design and owned a very successful flower shop in Munich.  Elke immigrated to Canada in 1996 and soon thereafter co-founded Botanus.  She is responsible for most of the wonderful plant photos you see online and in the Botanus catalogues. She is also the brainchild behind the on-line Botanus Garden Club and is solely responsible for all of the filming and editing. Elke is a non-stop 'life learner' who has added the title of 'Certified Holistic Nutrition Coach' to her many skills. A foodie, bee-keeper, kayaker, DIY guru, avid reader and drummer, Elke is a true force of nature!

Information from the presentation:

Tulips are often associated with Holland but in fact they originally grew wild in the valley of the Tian Shan Mountains and cultivated in Constantinople as early as 1055. By the 16th century they came to the attention of Western Diplomats to the Ottoman court. They were then introduced to Europe and became a frenzied commodity during Tulip mania.

Over 9 billion flower bulbs are produced in Holland today and 3 billions of those are tulips.

Division of Tulips:

Fosteriana: one of the earliest blooming; strong stems; large flowers on medium to long stems; impressive planted in mass

Kaufmanniana: very early blooming; sturdy dwarf tulips; sometimes mottled foliage; great for rock gardens and containers. 

Gregeii:  large cupped; mostly with mottled or striped foliage; great for borders, rock gardens and containers

Single Early:  early blooming; large flowers; long lasting; excellent cut flowers

Double Early: early blooming; large double flowered; peony-like blossoms; make gorgeous bouquets; excellent in containers

Triumph: midseason blooming; medium tall; strong and sturdy; long lasting flowers; great for containers, beds, forcing and cut flower gardens

Darwin Hybrid: mid season blooming; most popular garden tulip; long stemmed; gigantic blooms; widely cultivated as cut flower; perennial tulip

Single Late:  late blooming; usually flat across the top and bottom; mainly long stemmed; great in beds, borders and containers; wonderful cut flower

 Double Late: late blooming; large ruffled petals like peonies; long stemmed; protect large flowers from wind and rain

Fringed: late blooming; petals are edged with crystal shaped fringes; great as cut flowers

Viridiflora: late blooming; long flowering time; single flower; partly greenish petals; long lasting cut flower

Lily Flowering: late blooming; open fully in sun and show lily-like flowers; pointed petals; great in beds, borders and bouquets

Parrot: late blooming; single flowering; curled and twisted petals; strong stems; like sheltered spots due to size of flower

Mini Botanical: most species tulips qualify as miniatures; naturalize well; perfect for rock gardens or along borders

Multi Flowered: known as bouquet tulips; multiple flowers on one stem; late bloomer

Caring for your tulips:

  • Water at the time of planting and in the spring when the plant begins to sprout.
  • Use a slow release fertiliser or compost as a top dressing.
  • Fertiliser in the planting hole will burn the new fragile roots and could cause the demise of your bulb.
  • Bone meal can be used but can attract rodents.
  • Tulip bulbs do not have to be dug up like summer bulbs except when: moving them to another location, keeping them from rotting during a very wet summer and preventing botrytis (leaf rot) by rotating flower beds.
  • Tulips need good drainage and 5 to 6 hours of sun every day.

Gilkeson, Linda – Where Have All The Insects Gone (February 18, 2021)

A PDF version of this presentation can be found on Linda's website - click here

Speaker Information:

Linda earned a Ph.D. in Entomology from McGill University in 1986, then moved to British Columbia to work for Applied Bio-Nomics Ltd., producing biological controls. Throughout the ‘90’s she worked for the provincial government, promoting programs to reduce and eliminate pesticide use. She was head of the provincial State of Environment Reporting Unit for six years, then the Executive Director of the Salt Spring Island Conservancy until the end of 2011. Linda recently retired from that position to devote more time to her writing, teaching and consulting.

Linda has co-authored pest management training manuals for the government and organic gardening books for Rodale Press. She self-published two books: “Year Around Harvest: Winter Gardening on the Coast” and “West Coast Gardening: Natural Insect, Weed and Disease Control”. Her most recent book, “Backyard Bounty: The Complete Guide to year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest”, has become a BC best seller. As a private consultant, Linda is a regular instructor in the Master Gardener programs in BC and is busy year-round giving workshops on pest management and organic gardening.

Linda has served as President of the Entomological Society of Canada, the Professional Pest Management Association of BC, the Entomological Society of BC and the Salt Spring Island Garden Club. She was awarded a Queen’s Jubilee medal in 2003 and an outstanding achievement award from the Professional Pest Management Association of BC in 2005. She became an Honorary MG in 2000. Linda’s website.

Presentation notes:

  • 2014 – 45% drop in insect populations –  452 species were lost over 40 years
  • 2017 – 27 year study in Germany – 76% decline in airborne insect biomass
  • 2019 – review of 73 studies – dramatic rates of decline – projecting extinction of 40% of insect species over next few decades
  • Extinction rates of bees, ants, beetles 8 times higher
  • 2020 – terrestrial insects declining 9% per decade
  • 10-30 million insect species – ONLY 0.01% to 1% are pests
  • Insects are vital for native plants, agricultural crops and seed production
  • 85% of flowering plants depend on pollinators (bees, flies, wasps, moths, etc...)
  • Bees keep pollen to feed their young but other insects visit different parts of the plant and spread pollen around
  • The majority of birds partially or totally depend on insects (insect eating birds are declining more than other birds)
  • Insects also provide soil restoration services

What causes decline of insects:

  • Destruction of natural habitat
  • Pesticide use (insecticides, miticides, fungicides, herbicides)
      • Past use of neonicotinoids = mass killing of insects
  • Climate change
      • high temps kill off or sterilize insects
      • climate change desynchronizes insects – e.g. earlier springs produce pollen at different times then insects are available to benefit
      • Poor quality pollen results in shorter lifespan of bees and altered behaviour and vigour
  • Light pollution
      • 60% of insects are nocturnal – light

What can we do?

  • Provide food for adult and larvae stages of insects
  • Do not use bug zappers (LED or other kinds) as they kill beneficial insects and hardly any mosquitoes
  • Turn off outdoor lights late in evening – and/or REPLACE OUTDOOR INCANDESCENT, CFLS, HALOGEN WITH LED **WARM** LED LIGHTS – ‘warm’ do not attract insects
  • Provide water in drier months 
  • Provide  nest sites for pupation and overwintering insects
  • Provide a variety of flowers to fit the shapes, sizes of insects
  • Provide flowers throughout blooming season
  • Aim for at least 50% native plants
  • Plant in masses, i.e. 5-10 plants together or one square metre planted
  • Replace turf grass with mixes of flowers & grasses – see West Coast seeds for pre-selected mixes
  • Do not use insect/pest sprays  – including Homemade sprays – as they damage leaves of plants and kill pollinators and butterflies
  • Don’t use yellow sticky traps outdoors – indoor use only
  • Protect wild bee nests – 70% nest in ground – like bare space in rockery
  • Protect ground beetles – no slug traps with liquid bait
  • Keep soil covered with mulch and do not over cultivate soil


Thomas, Sangeeta – Earthwise Society (April 15, 2021)

Sangeetha spoke about the Earthwise Society, a not-for-profit, charitable organisation cultivating sustainable communities through environmental education and stewardship. 

Their Mission Statement is as follows: Earthwise Society is a catalyst for the creation of sustainable communities through empowering individuals to take responsibility for social, economic and environmental well-being.

Their approach is based on the belief that individual choices do matter.  By working together with others in our local communities, it is possible to create a sustainable future.

There are three Earthwise Sites:

Agassiz Site Programs

  • Streamside trail
  • Habitat enhancement
  • Wetlands rehabilitation
  • School Programs

Southpointe Farm Programs:

  • Education
  • CSA 
  • Farm Apprenticeship 
  • Farm: Don’t Mow, Grow! (Turning lawns into food gardens)

Boundary Bay Demonstration Garden

  • Themed garden beds: Rockery; Winter Bed; Feed the bees; Heritage Bed; Hummingbird Bed;
  • Plant Nursery and sales
  • Education
  • Dedicated year round volunteers
  • Wildlife awareness
  • Corporate Work Parties

Community Programs include:

  • Ecological land use
  • Stewardship
  • Education
  • Food Security: Shared Harvest; Harvest box Program; Food Mesh (Food Rescue Program which rescued 41,229 pound of food last year); Victory Gardens
  • Therapeutic Horticulture: Garden Buddies - can be at home, virtual or on-site

Volunteering at Earthwise will enable you to:

  • Join and contribute to your community
  • Learn and grow your passions
  • Share your knowledge
  • Expand your education and gain work experience
  • Meet you people
  • Enjoy the outdoors

In Conclusion:

“Gardens are places where we connect and gather strength from nature and each other in order to face the difficult realities that come with being a human being”

Van Harmelen, Grant – Water Features (January 21, 2021)

Grant Van Harmelen, owner of Eau Naturelle Custom Water Features, is a Master Certified Aquascape Contractor who has been creating beautiful water features for over 16 years. He is passionate about what he creates and he builds each feature as if it were his own. With over 300 features worth of experience, Grant possesses a wealth of knowledge, artistry and creative vision. Grant has been an Aquascape “Top Frog” in the top 20 twice, and is regularly in the top 100. Over the past 16 years, Grant has built water features all over the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley, many of them on the North Shore.

Grant will be sharing about the various types of water features, and how each yard suits a particular style or type. He will present the benefits of owning different water features such as ecosystem ponds and waterfalls, pondless waterfalls, and fountainscapes. Regardless of the style of water feature you choose, it will be a beautifully positive change, unlike any other landscaping element, taking your yard to another level of enjoyment.