Archived Past Speakers (by name)

Affinor Growers (June 20, 2019)

Vertical Horticulture

Traditional farming will always be with us, but alternative agricultural practices can alleviate the limits of conventional farming methods. Affinor Growers have developed patented agricultural technology and proprietary cultivation systems for vertical farming and controlled environment agriculture. Their technology is significantly more efficient in terms of usage of space and reliance on water than conventional agriculture.  Such vertical farming systems also enable products to be grown in soils without the use of pesticides, and free from chemical contaminates.

Allen, Christine (October 18, 2018)

Christine Allen - Downsizing the Dream: from Killara Farm to Grand Folly

Christine Allen shared her experience downsizing from a 9 acre farm to a city lot in Vancouver. In order to choose plants to use in her new property she set the following criteria for them:

  1. Plants that grow gracefully.
  2. Plants that die gracefully.
  3. Plants that know their place.
  4. Plants with at least two seasons of interest.
  5. Plants with two different attributes
  6. Healthy plants

Here is a list of the plants she chose for her garden:

Rosa gallica versicolor – rambler with 2 season of interests and repeat bloomer

Rosa Ghislaine de Feligonde – shortest rambler

Rosa Lykkefund – Swedish rambler – fragrant, blooms June and July, produces rosehips

Rosa pimpinellifolia – shrub rose – does run by suckers but can be controlled – flowers in May, dripping with pollen, fragrant, delicate foliage, red berries, shiny hips, fall color

Rosa glauca species – blue gray foliage, small pink flowers, hips


Hydrangea aspera ssp sargentiana – tree hydrangea, doesn’t need sunshine, stands on its own, big flowers

Hydrangea quercifolia Sikes – dward, fall colors, looks good with clematis growing trhout it

Hydrangea serrata Benny G. . - compact, lacecap, flower starts blue and goes to dark burgundy, fall foliage

Hydrangea serrata Beni – small flowers open white then go to bi color and red


Salix arctica – artic willow

Salix Helvetica – silver foliage and catkins

Salix gracilistyla melanocarpa – black catkins


Fothergilla Mount Airy – small, flowers in late spring, looks like bottlebrushes, smells like honey, attracts bees, fall color to dep red and burgundy


Lavender (cut back as hard as you can to green every year) – used as a lavender hedge that runs along the front of her propert


Clematis Miss Bateman – large white flowers, interesting seed heads

Clematis Rouge Cardinal

Clematis durandii – can trail through a shrub, long blooming

Clematis triternata rubra – scent, late summer, good to trail through a rose

Clematis Gravetye Beauty – red, starts blooming late summer


Schizophragma hydrangeoides Moonlight – will stick to a fence, not a hydrangea, nice foliage, loves shade


Ligularia Othello – winter seedhead interest


Phlomis russeliana – winter seedhead


Paeonia Festive Maxima – white, scented

Paeonia mlokosewitschii – yellow fall color, seed head

Paeonia obovata Alba – fall foliage, seedheads



Corylopsis pauciflora

Echinops ritro – good with tulips as they will grow and cover them

Cornus alternifolia argentea

Enkianthus perulatus – pollinated by ants, needs complete shade

Aconitum carmichaelii arendsii – blue

Symphyotrichum Anja’s Choice and Little Carlow – asters




Winter aconite




Allen, Christine (May 20, 2021)

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)

Books by Christine Allen:

Roses for the Pacific Northwest

Growing Up: Climbing Plants

A Year at Killara Farm

Arevalo, Willoughby (April 20, 2023)

Speaker: Willoughby Arevalo

Topic: "Gardening with Mushrooms" (with an outdoor cultivation focus)

Willoughby Arevalo is passionate about the ecology of fungi, the ways they shape our world and the ways we shape theirs. His lifelong friendship with fleshy fungi has led him down a mycelial pathway – from a start in field identification and mushroom hunting, branching into cuisine, DIY cultivation, farming, education, writing and eco-arts. In his over thirty year relationship with fungi, he has spent the last decade sharing mycology with people in communities across North America. This has manifested in numerous presentations, art projects, teaching tours, collaborations, gatherings, and his book, DIY Mushroom Cultivation, published by New Society Publishers. His book can also be found at the North Vancouver District Library.

Click here to view his video on Log Inoculation.

Originally from Arcata, California (Traditional Wiyot and Yurok Territory), he lives as a grateful guest on Unceded Coast Salish Territory in Vancouver, BC. His work can be seen at Mycelial Connections and Art and Fungi.

Bjarnason, Harmony (September 15, 2016)

Heather Bjarnason - Climate Change and Gardening

Harmony works as a climate change adaptation planner for the BC Ministry of Agriculture - helping agricultural communities build resilience and prepare for a changing climate. She has also been trained as a climate leader by the Climate Reality Project - a non-profit organization founded by Al Gore that educates citizens about the realities of climate change and advocates for a greener, cleaner future. She holds a Master's degree in economics from the University of British Columbia and after spending nearly two decades in Vancouver, including four years in North Vancouver, has just returned 'home' to Kelowna with her husband and two children. She has always been an enthusiastic gardener, working at garden centres during high school and university and spending many years getting her hands dirty at family’s farm and garden centre in Lake Country, BC. She and her husband are in the early stages of starting a 10-acre hops farm in Kelowna.

Bischoff, Wilhelm ( March 19, 2015)

Carla and Wilhelm Bischoff - Our prize winning garden - One of Steve Whysall's top 10 favorite gardens in the lower mainland.

Some examples of plants growing in their garden:


Brown, Satya (October 20, 2016)

"Plantaholic in a Small Garden"

Satya Brown is a retired physician in North Surrey.  Her hobby is garden photography and public speaking. She has had a show garden for several years.  She spent 17 years gardening in Cuba.  She feels that the most important issue today is saving the human race from self-destructing.  Gardening is extremely important.

Caddy, Laura (September 19, 2019)

UBC Alpine Garden

Laura Caddy grew up gardening in Alberta, and decided to turn her passion into a career by attending the Niagara Parks Commission School of Horticulture in Ontario. She was fortunate to be the Curator of the Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden at the University of Alberta (formerly Devonian) Botanic Garden for four years before joining UBC Botanical Garden in her current position as Curator of the E.H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden. In her spare time, Laura volunteers as Editor of the Alpine Garden Club of BC Bulletin, and is an obsessive knitter.

The alpine environment can be defined as the area above the tree line. There are different kinds of environments who can be close to each other:

  • scree has loose pebbles or gravel on a slope. The rocks are generally small in size
  • talus generally has bigger rocks and the can be loose or not
  • boulder fields have rocks that are more stable.

Some characteristics of alpine plants:

  • low growing
  • big flowers
  • mat forming
  • fuzzy leaves
  • most are woody plants
  • are adapted to harsh conditions such low temperatures, dryness, ultraviolet radiation, and a short growing season.
  • most have a large, well-developed root and/or rhizome system.

Some interesting Alpine and Rock Gardens:

Davies Alpine House – Kew Gardens

RHS Wisley Rock Garden

Denver Botanical Garden Alpine Rock Garden – the best in North America

Betty Ford Alpine Garden – the highest elevation alpine garden in the world (Colorado)

Patrick Seymour Alpine Garden – University of Alberta

Montreal Botanical Garden Alpine Garden

EH Lohbrunner Alpine Garden UBC





Cadwaladr, Margaret (January 15, 2015)

Margaret Cadwaladr, author of "In Veronica's Garden" (a book about the Milner Gardens in Qualicum Beach) made a presentation about a visit to Wisley Gardens in Surrey, England.

Callahan, Rob (September 20, 2018)

Rob Callahan started urban beekeeping about five years ago and he shared his knowledge with the members of the club. He addressed the following topics:

The hive structure (as illustrated below)

Illustration from Trunch Beekeeping

The life cycle of bees (as illustrated below)

Illustration from The Terroir of Honey

Worker Bees live for 40-45 days and work from the day they hatch

  • Day 1-2 - they clean cells and help keep the brood warm
  • Day 3-11 - they act as nurse bees feeding the old and young bees and larvae
  • Day 12-17 - they produce wax, build comb, carry food and clean the hive of dead bees
  • Day 18-21 - they protect the hive from intruders
  • Day 22 until they die - they collect pollen to feed larvae and gather nectar and water to make honey and of course pollinate flowers while doing this.

Hive Maintenance:

Check for the following:

  • Excess wax
  • Larvae
  • Queen cells – remove them to prevent additional queens
  • Diseases – preventative maintenance
  • Quantity of activity – add box if he are overcrowded
  • Replace or repair any parts as needed

Bee Diseases




Casey, James (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)


Catzel, David (November 16, 2017)

David Catzel from Glorious Organics Cooperative, Fraser Valley

David has over 20 years growing experience using organic and ecological principles in a variety of settings, including garden projects in the downtown Eastside of Vancouver, coordinating a permaculture project in Ecuador and farming in the Fraser Valley. In 1999 he received his Permaculture Design Certificate from Linnaea Farm Ecological Gardening and Permaculture Design Program on Cortes Island. In 2014 he completed an Advanced Permaculture Course in Teaching through the Cascadia Permaculture Institute. He has had the opportunity to experiment with seed breeding, low till annual production, intercropping and companion planting, and poultry and sheep integration. He has taught workshops in gardening, composting, and seed saving to adults and children. For the past 13 years David and his wife have made their livelihood helping run Glorious Organics Cooperative, a farming enterprise in the Fraser Valley, while cooperatively stewarding land at Fraser Common Farm Co-op where they live and homeschool their three children.

David spoke about permaculture

It is a method of landscape design developed by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren

The overlying ethics of permaculture are:

Care for the earth

Care for people

Distribution of surplus

Permaculture means permanent agriculture.

The Permanent Principles website is full of information regarding permaculture. It explains the design principles and ethics of Permaculture. “The Essence of Permaculture” which is a summary of permaculture concepts and principles taken from Permaculture Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability by David Holmgren is available as a free download here.

David is part of the Community Shared Agriculture program

They now save seeds and are part of the BC Eco Seed cooperative.

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)

Common, Julia (February 15, 2018)

Julia Common is a Master Beekeeper who has been keeping bees since her university days. She shared the history of the non-profit organization Hives for Humanity she created with her daughter in 2012. Hives for Humanity started with a single hive in a community garden in the Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, and has grown to include 250+ colonies throughout Metro Vancouver. Julia believes in the therapeutic power of the bees, and in their ability to connect all people to nature, community and self.

Julia also shared some interesting facts about bees

  • A honey bee colony can have up to 60,000 bees
  • The queen bee lays up to 1500 eggs a day
  • Drones are male bees that die after mating
  • Worker bees are infertile female bees that do all the work in the hive: cleaning, feeding the baby bees, feeding and taking care of the queen, packing pollen and nectar into cells, capping cells, building and repairing honeycombs, fanning to keep the hive cool and guarding the hive.
  • Bees use a very complex language to communicate
  • To make one pound of honey bees in a colony have to visit 2 million flowers
  • One honey bee produces about 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in her lifetime
  • Honey never spoils

For information about the Feed the Bees Project of the Earthwise Society in Delta, BC click here.

Cousins, Sam (January 19, 2017)

Invasive Plants

Invasive alien species are a threat to biodiversity, agriculture and infrastructure. With early detection, reporting and rapid response the impacts can by reduced before they get out of control.  

Sam Cousins is the West area Stewardship Research Technician for Metro Vancouver. His work focuses on connecting the public with ecological restoration events within the regional parks system and the management of invasive species.  He has gained a wealth of invasive species identification knowledge and treatment options experience from working for Brandywine Provincial Park, the Sea to Sky Invasive Species Council and Stanley Park Ecology Society.

References available:

A Dangerous Garden Thug Exposed: Daphne laureola

Beautiful in your garden but be aware

Field Guide to Noxious Weeds

Grow me instead - This Grow Me Instead Brochure profiles BC’s most unwanted horticultural plants, along with their recommended alternatives

Introduced Species and Biodiversity Video

Invasive Species Council of British Columbia

If you would like to volunteer you can contact the following organisations:

[email protected] 

[email protected]

Metro Vancouver Regional Parks Ecological Restoration

Dale, Catherine (May 19, 2016)

Catherine Spoke about the Eagles Estate in Burnaby.

Catherine completed the Journeyman certification in Landscape Horticulture in the early 1990’s. She worked together with the Burnaby School District to teach Gaia College’s Organic Master Gardener program, Plant Knowledge for Organic Gardeners and guest lecture in the Ecological Landscape Design program. Catherine also teaches the Residential Landscape Technician program through Burnaby School District Continuing Education. 

In 2004 Catherine received the ‘Educator of the Year’ award from the BC Landscape and Nursery Association.

In 2006 Catherine received City of Burnaby’s Environmental Award for work at the Eagles Estate heritage garden on the shores of Deer Lake, and for contribution to the successful passing of Burnaby’s Cosmetic Pesticide bylaw. 

Dangelmaier, Pamela and Wehinger, Elke (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.

Davis, Egan (November 20, 2014) (April 20, 2017)

November 20, 2014

Egan Davis, gave a fascinating talk: Pink Mountains and the Foothills of the Northern Rockies. Arctic tundra species drop down to the region and alpine tundra species overlap. The mountains are folded layers of rock, including sandstone and limestone, so layers with different nutrient levels have been exposed in folding. The rock has been broken down by glaciers and wind to create rich soil deposits. The west side is steep and glaciated, the east side prairie. Topography influences the soil deposits, with fragments collected in windy areas and deposited in still areas. Dryas octopetala commonly started growing on rock, breaking it down to soil and allowing other plants to start growing. Frost bubbles have rich soil pulled up from deeper in the earth. Silene acaulis loves to grow on the bubbles and gives the appearance of bright pink beacons. There are no bees in the area. The primary pollinators are flies, then butterflies and mosquitoes. Many of the flowers are flat and disc like as a strategy to attract pollinators; the flies like to warm themselves on the yellow flowers. Many flowers are also highly fragrant to attract more than 50 species of butterflies in the area. Pedicularis labradorica and Rhododendron lapponicum grew in the harshest exposed conditions on Pink Mountain where nothing else would. Egan’s testing of soil collected in the area showed pH 6-7 where most plants were growing. Where almost nothing was growing, the soil had pH 3; highly acidic from the seas that the mountains had arisen.

April 20, 2017

Egan Davis - Reducing water use and increasing urban ecology

Egan Davis is currently the Chief Instructor, Horticultural Training Program (HTP) from UBC Botanical Garden.  The HTP is the only full-time horticulture training program in Metro Vancouver north of the Fraser River. UBC Botanical Garden provides a rich training environment for the program. Instruction is fully integrated with horticultural activities in the Garden and garden staff participate in training and mentoring.

Egan worked at Park and Tilford garden many years ago under the direction of Todd Major.  Egan previously spoke to the Lynn Valley Garden Club in February 2005 on ‘Spring Gardening’ and again in November 2014.

Congratulations to Egan Davis, 2016 recipient of the BC Landscape & Nursery Association's Educator of the Year.

Denhamer, Michael (January 17, 2019)

Michael Denhamer spoke about the Edible garden project

The Mission Statement is threefold: We grow – We share – We teach

We grow: About 10,000 lbs of produce is grown at Loutet Farm, Sutherland High School and sharing gardens across the North Shore. Loutet farm holds 49 market days during the year provide revenue for the farm to keep operating For more information about Loutet Farm click here  For more information about the Sutherland high school program click here

We share: The food hub and harvest project have about 30 to 50 volunteers who grow food which is offered to the food bank. They distribute 4,000 to 6,000 pounds of produce in this manner. For more information about the Sharing gardens click here.

We teach: Six elementary schools and one high school are involved in this program. It runs throughout the school year with different topics every month. At the end of the year the students harvest the produce they have planted and grown and make a salad which they all enjoy eating.For more information about the Edible Garden Project click here  For more information about teacher resources click here For more information about Garden Smart Workshops click here

Farm visits can be booked. They consist of a 90minutes tour including a farm tour, a beehive demo, compost exploration and salad making. For more information click here

If you are interested in the history of the Edible Garden Project read more

Interested in volunteering? Find out more here

Find out about upcoming events here


Dushyna, Anastasiia (October 17, 2019)

Ana is a Botanical pharmacology specialist, Master of Science in Pharmacy, Speaker, certified Landscaper and Herbal garden designer. Born and raised in Europe, inspired by her Grandmother who is a doctor and ethnobotanist, she decided to continue explore Medicinal plants. Ana has more than a decade of experience in pharmaceuticals and now, in her spare time, devotes her expertise to encourage people all across Canada and America to grow beautiful Medicinal plants. For more information about Ana click here

She spoke on both these topics :

  • Growing and Harvesting Herbs. This program clarifies what Medicinal plants to choose for your garden and how to harvest them properly; know-how for different herbal remedies preparations and how to include them in every day wellness routine.
  • Tasty Medicinal Plants. There are lots of different Herbs to buy in stores or to grow at our garden. During this evening you can discover the Herbs that are both Culinary and Medicinal. We will learn history and traditions of usage, will hear how to add more flavour to our meal and everyday life


Edwards, Heather – Eco-sculptures – connecting with the community through horticulture, art and environment. (January 19, 2023)

Heather Edwards is the Manager of Parks Planning, Design and Development in the City of Burnaby. Her work revolves around community and environmental program development. She has a Bachelor of Recreation Studies and a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Manitoba. Heather will be speaking to us on one of the projects she started, the Eco-Sculpture Program. They are different from topiary–another gardening art–where a single plant is pruned into a shape. Instead, Eco-sculptures start with a metal frame that's packed with soil. Plants are selected for their colours and textures. A design is created and the structure is mapped to show where each type of plant goes. As the they grow, the design fills in, creating an imaginative living sculpture.

The Eco-sculpture program in Burnaby:

  • Adds new points of interest to the parks
  • Appeals to gardening interest and tourism
  • Creates community involvement opportunities
  • Brings attention too special events and celebrations
  • Has grown from 3 sculptures in 3 locations to 65 sculptures city wide - for a map click here.

Process of making the sculptures:

  • A maquette is made to test the look
  • A full size frame is built
  • Fabric is attached to the frame
  • Wet soil is added to the frame in layers and compacted
  • The top part of the fabric is sewn
  • The planting plan involves 400 plants per square metre
  • Appropriate plants are selected and the planting begins
  • The sculpture is made in the green house and moved outdoors at the end of May

Special programs include:

  • Educational partnerships - project on bee friendly environments and plants
  • Sponsored workshops
  • Business partnerships - Mundies Towing/Cowie Dragster
  • World Police Fire Games
  • Sister City Exchange with Kushiro, Japan
  • Floral explorations
  • Parade floats

Below is a list of plants used for the eco-sculptures in Burnaby:

Download (PDF, 1.58MB)

Elle, Elizabeth (November 15, 2018)

Elizabeth Elle

Topic: The Bees of your backyard and how you can support them with flowers

Elizabeth Elle is currently Vice Provost for Learning & Teaching at Simon Fraser University.  She has been at SFU for 19 years, and studying pollination for over 25 years.  Her main areas of interest are the biodiversity and conservation of pollinators in natural areas, and the importance of our wild pollinators for crop production on farms.  Some of her conservation work has taken Elizabeth and her students into the gardens and parks of southern BC; resulting in useful information she enthusiastically shares with municipal government and the general public.  She lives in Lynn Valley and is looking forward to shared some very interesting information.

Did you know that

  • One of three bites you eat is thanks to a bee
  • 90% of flowering plants need pollinators
  • 1/3 of birds and mammals are dependant on pollinators
  • there are 20,000 species of bees – 800 species in Canada and 450 species in BC
  • pollinators are declining
  • bumblebees a great tomato pollinator
  • the western bumblebee is close to extinction
  • there are bees that look like wasps and flies that look like bees but they can usually be identified because of the following characteristics:

Bees                             Flies

4 wings                         2 wings

long antenna                short antenna

usually hairy                 big bulgy eyes

  • most bees are solitary – apart from the honey bee only the bumblebees have a queen and workers
  • Wasps are pollinators – the adults eat nectar – they do not collect nectar – they prey on other insects such as caterpillars to feed their young
  • Flies, wasps, beetles, butterflies and birds are also pollinators
  • There are three causes to the decline of bees – disease, pesticides and habitat loss
  • Habitat loss in the number 1 reason for this decline

What can you do in your garden to encourage pollinators? See a list below of plants to consider. Think in terms of extending the bloom times by having early and late flowering plants. Many plants of one kind is better that only one of each.

Elizabeth Elle’s website is a great source of information -

Other good website to consult:

Xerces Society

Earthwise society

Border free bees

Download (PDF, 115KB)

Erikson, Pam (May 16, 2019)

Daylilies and Hostas

Pam Erikson is an award-winning daylily hybridizer, photographer, instructor and lecturer from Langley. In 1991, she became the first American Hemerocallis Society judge in Canada.  Also in 1991, Erikson started the first daylily club in Canada in affiliation with the AHS and is still its president.  The one-acre display gardens at Erikson Daylily  and Perennial Garden gardens now contain over 3,000 varieties of daylilies and other lilies, over 600 varieties of hostas and hundreds of other specimen trees and perennials.  Pam will be talking about daylilies and hostas.  

Pam Erikson shared her passion about Daylilies and hostas:

  • Daylilies are flowering plants in the genus Hemerocallis and will thrive almost anywhere.
  • Daylilies are rugged, adaptable, vigorous perennials that endure in a garden for many years with little or no care.
  • Daylilies adapt to a wide range of soil and light conditions. They establish quickly, grow vigorously, and survive winters with little or no injury.
  • They are drought tolerant and profuse bloomers.
  • They are best in full sun but will tolerate part shade.
  • Dark color daylilies can have afternoon shade as long as thye have 4-5 hours of sun in the day.
  • Hemerocallis Kwanso goes back to the 1500’s. 
  • No two seeds will ever produce the same flower.
  • Hybrids are hard to do – from 5000 seeds at the end of 8 years you might keep 5.
  • Deadheading daylilies is mostly for aesthetic reasons.
  • The buds can be steamed like sweet peas, the flowers can be eaten and are great garnishes for salads and deserts.
  • The leaves however, when used as a tea are a potent tranquillizer.

Some of Pam’s favorites are:

Some of her favorite lilies:

Some of her favorite Hostas:


Gilkeson, Linda (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


Hewstan, Malonie (March 17, 2016)

Malonie Hewstan made a presentation on hydrangeas.


  • Adapt well to our climate
  • Are disease resistant
  • Have big flowers that bloom for a long time

The origin of most hydrangeas can be traced back to Asia.

She suggested "The Encyclopedia of Hydrangeas" by  C. J. van Gelderen (Author), D. M. van Gelderen (Author) as a good resource. 



Some of the hydrangeas in Malonie’s garden are:

Hydrangea Pistachio


Hydrangea Coral


Hydrangea Freedom


Hydrangea Sabina


Hydrangea Wedding Gown

Weding Gown

Holmes, Emma (February 18, 2016)

Emma Holmes is a young farmer and soil scientist. She studied sustainable food systems (B.Sc.) and soil science (M.Sc.) at UBC, and permaculture at the Bullocks Brother's Homestead in Washington. Currently, she farms a 2-acre market garden and teaches soil and plant science for Kwantlen's Farm Schools. She spoke on the topic of Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba.

For more information on this topic click on the following links:

Sustainable Agriculture in Cuba - Wikipedia

How can Cuba's Sustainable  Agriculture Survive the Peace - article in The Solutions Journal

Hooper, Wesley (September 21, 2017)

Wesley Hooper co-founder of LifeSpace Gardens spoke about the handcrafted self-watering gardens they have developed. They help people “grow the good life” on the North Shore & in Metro Vancouver - on balconies, in yards, on rooftops and in the most beautiful public spaces “We found that the biggest challenge standing in people's way was water. Remembering when to water, making sure plants have enough water, and not making a mess with water. So we developed and patented a self-watering system that over comes all of those challenges and more.”

He spoke about how the systems works emulating nature

Download (PDF, 199KB)

The key to success is using the right kind of soil mix:

1/3 organic compost (worm castings, composted fir chips, organic mushroom manure)

1/3 peat moss or coconut coir

1/3 vermiculite

The following organizations were mentioned - they are all geared towards teaching children about healthy eating:

Sprouting chefs is a BC registered non profit organization based in the Lower Mainland who strives to support the development and cultivation of school garden programs.

Growing Chefs! Chefs for Children’s Urban Agriculture gets kids excited about good, healthy food. In their Classroom Gardening and Cooking Program, chef and community volunteers are paired with elementary school classrooms (grades 1-3 for the primary program, 4-6 for the intermediate) to give students hands-on experience growing and cooking their own food.

Project CHEF: Cook Healthy Edible Food is an experiential, curriculum-based school program aimed at children in kindergarten to grade seven that teaches students about healthy food: where it comes from, what it tastes like, how to prepare it and how to enjoy sharing it around a table.

The Edible Garden Project in North Vancouver is transforming front-yards, parks, boulevards, rooftops, and schoolyards across the North Shore into inspiring and active edible landscapes. They believe that everyone deserves to access good food with dignity, and to fall in love with fresh picked produce. They use food as a platform to transform community, address urban environmental, health, and social issues, and empower citizens of all ages to get their hands in the soil and learn to grow their own.

Community Supported Agriculture (C.S.A.) is a program of mutual commitment between a farm and a community of supporters. It links people directly with their source of food, providing them with the most fresh, sustainably produced food; it gives farmers a source of income at their time of highest expense (early spring). Shareholders purchase a share in the season's harvest and receive a weekly package of food.

Square Foot Gardening (commonly referred to as SFG) is a planting method that was developed by American author and TV presenter Mel Bartholomew in the 1970s. It's a simple way to create easy-to-manage gardens with raised beds that need a minimum of time spent maintaining them. SFG rapidly gained popularity during the 1980s through Mel's first book and television series and since then has spread across the world, eventually going 'mainstream' with several companies offering ready-to-assemble SFG gardens. SFG advocates claim it produces more, uses less soil and water and takes just 2% of the time spent on a traditional garden.



Issa, Antonia (June 16, 2022)

Antonia Issa shared photographs from her tour of the Edward James Surrealist Garden in Xilitha, Mexico.

Issa, Maria (November 18, 2021)

Everything you wanted to know about Photosynthesis - but never dared to ask

Maria was born in Hungary, arrived in Vancouver at age 10, grew up in Catholic schools, wanting to be a ballerina: however, she grew. Plan B: switched to science for fun, did an honours BSc in microbiology/immunology, then a PhD in Immunology. Worked in many places around the world and taught general biology; even taught biochemistry in Eastern Indonesia (like Penny!). Maria retired from research at UBC’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine but she still gets hauled back to teach med students. Maria loves to paint; to rescue plants from gardens of houses slated for demolition; and keeps fit as a TaeKwonDo black belt instructor.

Maria explained photosynthesis in detail and summarised it as follows:

The plant draws up water through its roots.

The leaves take carbon dioxide from the air.

The leaves trap energy from sunlight.

The plant uses the energy of sunlight to turn water and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen.

The plant releases oxygen into the air.

The plant uses the sugars for growth.

Below are some videos recommended by Maria:

Virtual Plant Cell

Photosynthesis – Microscopic

Animated Photosynthesis

Travel Inside a Cell

Extra Fun

Jennings, Chris (October 20, 2022)

An Introduction to Shady Characters

My interest in gardening was first piqued when I went to a summer garden show shortly after moving to Vancouver from Ontario and saw some magnificent fuchsia standards. I was one of those people who regularly killed every plant they touched, even easy ones like African violets. But seeing these fuchsias, I was hooked. I joined the BC Fuchsia and Begonia Society and for the next seven years learned all I could about these fascinating plants. Then I decided it was time to broaden my horizons and struck out on my own, along with a few other gardening friends, to create the Vancouver Shade Garden Society in 2003, a more broadly based garden club that now has about 70 members. Our mission is to explore and learn all about plants that can grow in full or partial shade, and it’s been a consistent educational curve for me and our members since then. There’s more to learn about than what most people think when they hear the term “shade plants”. It’s not just ferns and hostas, but so many other outdoor annuals, hardy perennials, and even indoor tropical plants that fall under our purview. I’m always happy to spread the word about shade gardening to other gardeners and have been doing so in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island for the last 9 years. I look forward to the opportunity to do so for your club’s members."

Some advantages of shade plants

  • The foliage doesn’t burn
  • Flowers last longer
  • They need less water
  • Need less fertilizing
  • Need less maintenance

Some disadvantages:

  • Smaller selection of plants
  • Grow more slowly
  • Can have severe root competition form trees
  • Damage from slugs and snails
  • Potentially more susceptible to diseases

Plants mentioned in his talk:


  1. Full Sun
  2. Part shade
  3. Full shade

When there are 2 numbers the first number is best but the plant can tolerate the second.


Adiantum pedatum (Northern maidenhair fern) 1-2 

Athyrium nipponicum ‘Ursula’s Red’ (Japanese painted fern) 2-1

Dryopteris affinis ‘Crispa Gracilis’ (Scaly male fern) 1-2

Dryopteris affinis ‘Cristata the king’ (Golden-scaled male fern) 2

Platycerium  bifurcatum (Staghorn fern) 2

Polystichum polyblepharum (Japanese tassel fern) 2  


Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ (Hanoke grass) 2-1

Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ (Mondo grass) 2-3

Groundcovers and Vines:

Asarum splendens  (Chinese wild ginger) 1-2

Asarum maximum ‘Ling Ling’ (Ling ling panda face ginger) 1-2

Campanula poscharskyana (Serbian bellflower) 2

Clematis armandii 2-3

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ 2-3

Epimedium grandiflorum (Bishop’s hat) 1-2

Epimedium rubrum (Red barrenwort) 1-2

Omphalodes cappadocica (Navelwort) 2

Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Starry eyes’ 2

Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese spurge) 2-1

Pulmonaria ‘Raspberry splash’ (Lungwort) 2

Pulmonaria ‘Excalibur’ (Lungwort) 2


Actaea (Cimicifuga) racemosa  (Black cohosh) 2-1

Aglaonema ‘Siam’ (Chinese evergreen) Tropical  2-1

Alocasia amazonica Tropical 1-2

Anemone hupehensis (Japanese anemone) 2-3

Arisaema ringens (Cobra lily) 1-2

Arisaema sikokianum (Japanese cobra lily) 1-2

Begonia grandis (Hardy begonia) 2

Brunnera macrophylla (Siberian bugloss) 2

Corydalis flexuosa ‘Blue Panda’ (Blue corydalis) 2-1

Fushia encliandra ‘Lottie Hobby’ 1-3

Heuchera ‘Obsidian’ (Coral bells)  2-3 

Heuchera ‘Snow Angel’ (Coral bells) 2-3

Hosta sagae (Plantain lily) 2-1

Hosta ‘Blue Mouse’ (Plantain lily) 2-1

Impatiens niamniamensis (Parrot plant)Tropical 1-2

Lamprocapnos spectabilis (formerly Dicentra) (Bleeding heart) 1-3

Ligularia ‘Britt Marie Crawford’ (Leopard plant) 2

Ligularia stenocephala ‘Rocket’ (Leopard plant) 2

Spathiphyllum ‘Domino’ 2-1(Peace lily)

Tricyrtis hirta (Toad lily) 2


Camellia japonica 1-2

Camellia sasanqua ‘Yuletide’ 1-2

Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Miss Saori’ 1-2

Rhododendron ‘Warlock’ 2

Rhododendron ‘Blue Baron’ 2

Ribes sanguinerium (Red flowering currant) 3-1

Sarcococca ruscifolia (Fragrant sweetbox) 2-1

Sarcococca confusa (Fragrant sweetbox)2-1

VSGS Shade Plant Compendium:

Download (PDF, 8.56MB)

Jones, Deborah (May 17, 2018)

Deborah Jones

Topic: Introducing  Rain Gardens or What's a Rain Garden...and why Should I Care?

Biographical Information: As volunteer Rain Gardens Coordinator for Cougar Creek Streamkeepers since 2006, Deborah Jones has been closely involved in the design, construction, planting and maintenance of 28 rain gardens at North Delta schools and other community locations.  She also advises The Nature Trust of British Columbia on their rain garden grant program.  She has a BA in Urban Studies, a Masters of Library Science, and worked at Vancouver Public Library for over 30 years.

Topic: “Rain gardens” are sprouting up everywhere.  But surely every garden in Metro Vancouver is a rain garden, given the amount of rainfall we get?  Not quite!  Learn exactly what rain gardens are, the many benefits they provide, and why they’re essential to environmental sustainability and salmon.   Take a photo tour of some of North Delta’s 28 school and community rain gardens, then get ideas for using rain gardens large or small to create drought-resilience and/or to solve property drainage issues in an economical and aesthetic way --  at your house, strata, workplace, church, temple or other property.

The following are some notes from the presentation:

Did you know that only 2.5 percent of the water on earth is fresh water and that only about 1 percent of this fresh water is easily accessible with much of it trapped in glaciers and snowfields? The rest of the water on earth is saline and ocean-based.

Rain gardens soak up precipitation, store it in the ground and slowly release the excess water to rivers, streams etc… They act as a miniature forest or wetland. When we develop landscapes water infiltration is reduced. For example on a natural landscape about 1% of the water runs off the ground, there is some evaporation and the rest is infiltrated in the ground. After an area is developed 40% of the water runs off the surface (roofs and pavements) using a drain system that connects to a network of underground pipes to a creek nearby. The runoff from the pavement picks up litter and pollutants which all end up in the creek. 80% of the plastic and oil pollution in the oceans comes from storm drain pollution.

See the handouts below (provided by Deborah) for ideas on building a rain garden, disconnecting downspouts to help slow peak flows and reduce stream erosion, home tips for healthy streams, a checklist for successful rain gardens, a list of rain gardens in Delta, and a list of successful garden plants for rain gardens.

Download (PDF, 415KB)

Download (PDF, 260KB)

Download (PDF, 1.44MB)

Download (PDF, 49KB)

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Download (PDF, 158KB)



Jones, Deborah (October 19, 2023)

Topic: Rain Gardens

Deborah Jones has a BA in Urban Studies, a Masters of Library Science, and worked for Vancouver Public Library for over 30 years.

She and husband Ib Nielsen joined the volunteer group Cougar Creek Streamkeepers in 2004, after noticing illegal tree-cutting on the banks of the most productive salmon stream in North Delta.  They put their gardening experience to work on a restoration planting project along that streambank – which gave them a ringside seat to the ravages of stormwater runoff flowing directly into the creek from nearby shopping malls, parking lots, streets and residential roofs.

A request to City of Delta for a pilot rain garden project gradually morphed into many projects.  Deb now serves as volunteer Rain Gardens Coordinator for the Streamkeepers, overseeing the maintenance of 30 school and community rain gardens created since 2006 in collaboration with City of Delta, Delta School District, Pacific Salmon Foundation, Nature Trust of BC and others. She also advises the Nature Trust and Be the Change Earth Alliance on their rain garden grant programs.

Deborah shared the following information about rain gardens:

Rain Gardens:

  • receive rainwater from the sky
  • act as miniature forests and wetlands
  • soak up runoff
  • replenish groundwater therefore reducing summer drought stress to trees, creeks and fish
  • help urban trees reach. their full potential for mitigating climate change
  • print or delay rainwater from entering pipes and creeks reducing the risk of flooding, erosion and fish habitat destruction
  • filter out pollutants and litter
  • beautify neighbourhoods
  • provide mini parks of fresh air, habitat, carbon storage, cooling shade and evapotranspiration
  • demonstrate a simple way to conserve water, protect streams and oceans and green our communities while reducing flood, drought and wildfire hazards

Creating your our rain garden:

  • disconnect a downspout to divert roof runoff into existing plantings
  • install a speed bump or curb cut to divert driveway runoff into existing plantings
  • nature scape a ditch to slow the flow of water (not block) so there is more opportunity for infiltration
  • make it look good so neighbours don't complain
  • this will create a habitat

Download (PDF, 49KB)

Download (PDF, 260KB)

Jubenvill, Emily (April 16, 2015)

Emily Jubenvill, the manager of the Edible Garden Project , spoke about their latest project - the Sutherland Schoolyard Market.

Kelly, Kevin (April 21, 2022)

Topic: "A Four-SeasonGarden: Secrets for Success"

Does your garden look good for a few months, only to disappoint you during the dog days of summer or through the dreary, cold days of winter? We joined Kevin Kelly for a visual tour of his suburban garden through each of the seasons. He showed how he use a varied collection of plants to create year-round interest and excitement.

Below is a list of plants that were shown during the presentation.

Download (PDF, 77KB)

Knight, Ron (September 15, 2015) (April 21, 2016)

APRIL 21, 2016

Make your Rhododendrons Think They Are Growing in the Himalayas

Ron Knight spoke about environmental needs for rhododendrons growing wild in Asia and spoke about how to use this information to grow them in B.C. 

"Greer's Guidebook to Available Rhododendrons" was as a good resource.


Click on the following links for further information:

Ron Knight's Caron Gardens

Planting Suggestions

Success with Rhododendrons

How to Select Rhododendrons

Dwarf Rhododendrons

How to Move Giant Rhododendrons

The Wild Rhododendrons of Mount Elphinstone


September 15, 2015

Download (PDF, 66KB)

spinning wheel

rhodo hill-sun garden

gazebo-waterfall-rock garden

Lascelle, Mike (April 11, 2019)

Topic:  “Beauty and the Feast”

Mike Lascelle has a 38-year background in horticulture including experience as an estate gardener, landscape foreman, garden designer and his current position as the nursery manager at Amsterdam Garden Centre in Pitt Meadows. He holds a Diploma of Horticulture from the University of Guelph in urban forestry, is an ISA certified arborist and a BC red seal landscape technologist. Mike has written three gardening books including his latest, Extraordinary Ornamental Edibles. Below is a list of 29 ornamental plants from his book chosen for their aesthetic and edible appeal, as well as food preparation suggestions.

Download (PDF, 7.36MB)


Le Couteur, Penny (September 15, 2022)

Penny Le Couteur was born in New Zealand, has a chemistry from the University of California at Santa Barbara and was a founding faculty member at Capilano College (now Capilano University).  She was an advisor for curriculum development and pedagogy for several universities in Eastern Indonesia, wrote chemistry courses for B.C.’s Open University and was a co-author of a Canadian grade 12 chemistry textbook.  Her 2003 popular science book “Napoleon’s Buttons:  Seventeen Molecules that Changed History” has been published in nine different languages and has sold over 160,000 copies.

Topic: Toxin or Tonic?

Penny’s talk for the Lynn Valley Garden Club this September is not solely about poisonous plants - although a number of these will be featured. The whats, whys and hows of toxicity along with examples of both natural and synthetic compounds will be discussed.  A few chemical formulas are included as well as lots of colourful pictures. There will be NO quiz at the end!

Lewis, Gary (March 16, 2023)

Speaker: Gary Lewis, from Phoenix Perennials

Topic: The Complete Talk on Ground Covers: Plants that reduce maintenance, control erosion, improve the environment, and beautify the landscape.

For a list of plants click here.

Gary Lewis has had a lifelong passion for plants. While completing a Masters of Science degree in Botany, Gary became the owner of Phoenix Perennials on his 28th birthday. Since that time, he has greatly expanded the business into a dynamic, award-winning, destination nursery for Western Canada with over 5000 different plants a year, many of which are grown at Phoenix Perennials from plant material sourced from around the world. In 2013 Phoenix Perennials launched Canadian mail order to bring their unique plant selection to a broader audience and now ships more than 2500 different plants a year to avid gardeners from coast to coast to coast.

Gary is a regular speaker at garden clubs and has appeared many times on radio and television. He has written for a variety of gardening magazines including Fine Gardening and in fall 2022 his encyclopedia, The Complete Book of Ground Covers, was published by Timber Press. This compendium focuses on 4000 different ground covers for the temperate gardening world accompanied by 650 photos he took on travels around the world.

In 2013 Gary was selected as Communicator of the Year by the BC Landscape and Nursery Association and in 2017 was the recipient of the Retail Sales Award from the Perennial Plant Association. Gary has lead botanical and garden tours to Holland and Belgium, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and Western Australia with future trips planned for France plus returns to New Zealand and South Africa.

Types of Ground Covers:

  1. Rhizomatous. Example: Epimedium
  2. Suckering. Example: Sarcococca
  3. Stoloniferous. Example: Strawberry
  4. Trailing/creeping. Example: Thyme
  5. Vines. Example: Hydrangea anomala
  6. Clumping perennials  and shrubs. Example: Hosta
  7. Self-seeding. Example: Viola riviniana

Some of the benefits of Ground Covers:

  1. Functional and Economical
  • Outcompete weeds
  • Reduce maintenance and cost
  • Protects root zone of trees and shrubs
  • Use in difficult situations
  • Increase soil fertility and water holding capacity
  1. Environmental
  • Erosion control
  • Capture and compost plant debris
  • Reduce evaporation
  • Maintain soil moisture
  • Lawn reduction
  • Increase biodiversity
  1. Aesthetic
  • Softens hardscape
  • Connects soft and hard scape
  • Covers bare soil
  • Adds diversity
  • Delineates spaces
  • Directs garden traffic

When designing with Ground Covers think of the following characteristics:

  1. Plant form: mats, mounds, clumps, thicket
  2. Growth habit: perennials, shrubs, rhizomes, stolons, trailing
  3. Plant size
  4. Foliage: type, shape, size, texture
  5. Flowers and fruits
  6. Diversity

The Complete Book of Ground Covers

Lewis, Noah (June 16, 2022)

Grey water gardening. 

Noah is one of the recipients of the Lynn Valley Garden Club awards at the Greater Vancouver Science Fair. 

For more information about his project click here.

The Greater Vancouver Regional Science Fair (GVRSF) is the regional science fair for 10 school districts in the Lower Mainland area. It is open to students from grades 7 to 12 attending public, independent, private and home schools. The GVRSF is a registered charity and non-profit organization run by a diverse group of dedicated volunteers passionate about education in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM). 

The GVRSF’s mission is to encourage youth to conduct research and experimentation in the areas of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. 

The Fair 

  • Encourages 100,000+ youth in our region to conduct creative inquiry-based projects
  • Hosts 300+ students who are keen and invested in today’s scientific and technological developments
  • Provides $45,000+ in cash, prizes, trips and scholarship awards
  • Awards top projects the Grand Award of progressing to the Canada-Wide Science Fair
  • Offers various student and educator workshops, research lab tours, and fun student activities.

Lum, Conway (May 18, 2017)

Topic:  Insects: Friends or Foes. 

Conway Lum:

· is currently working for GardenWorks@Mandeville (originally Mandeville Garden Centre located at corner of Nelson St. and Marine Drive, Burnaby) since 1988.

· started out in the nursery but is now at the garden supplies/information desk conducting most of the in-house seminars/workshops.

· is the recipient of the “Garden Communicator of the Year Award” by BC Landscape and Nursery Association (BCLNA) for 2012.

· is a contributor to the “Ask-the-Pro” column in BC Living  (Garden Wise) Magazine.

· is an evening instructor for New Westminster Continuing Education for gardening classes.

· is a past recipient of the “Garden Communicator Award” by BC Landscape and Nursery Association (BCLNA) for 2006.

· is a past recipient of the “Environmental Star Award” by the City of Burnaby for European Chafer public education.

· previously served on the European Chafer advisory committee.

· is currently serving on the provincial certification committee for BCLNA and Canadian Nursery and Landscape Association (CNLA).

· is one of the first three candidates to receive the “Certified Horticultural Technician for retail” in Canada (CNLA).

· has recently obtained “Landscape Industry Certified” technician for ornamental and turf maintenance (CNLA).

· is an environment designate (2015) as advisory capacity for the retail commodity group for BCLNA.

· is an Honorary member of “South Burnaby Garden Club”.

·is a  Professional Agrologist.

· graduated from University of British Columbia with Bachelor of Science in plant science (ornamental horticulture) and botany.



Major, Todd (October 16, 2014)

Digging a square planting hole may prevent roots growing in circles and developing 'root girdle'.  Slashing and cutting roots also helps prevent this. No Martha Stewart dainty teasing!

For perennials, unless you're using old stems to mark the plant's position in the garden, cut stems right down low near the crown as that's where the new growth forms.

Beneficial insects will look for large colonies of aphids to lay eggs; if you see a few aphids and they're not damaging anything, leave them.

Landscape fabric isn't great for weed control as the weeds will grow above or below, however, it is good for erosion control.

If transplanting a large bush or small tree, without machinery, the plant can be raised to ground level by filling the hole as you go.  Roll the plant to one side and fill the hole a bit then roll to the other side, on to the soil that's just gone in, and do the same.  Continue until hole is filled.

Bark mulch is Todd's preference to keep squirrels off bulb beds. Hemlock-Fir 3/4 inch minus (the standard bark mulch at Norgate). They don't like slivers in their faces and hands plus the smell hides the scent of the bulbs.

You can link to the NSNews to get his column all on one page by clicking here

Maplewood Flats Tour (July 9, 2022)

List of some of the plants discussed during the tour:

Yellow Dock (in the genus Rumex)

  • Leaves can be used for a salve on the skin

Cleavers (Galium aparine)

  • Flowers in the spring
  • The abrasive parts of the plant were rubbed between the hands to remove pitch
  • A caffeine-free coffee substitute can be made from the dried and roasted nutlets

Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata)

  • Good for pollinators
  • Excellent for hummingbirds
  • Birds eat the berries
  • Leaves and bark can be used to treat sore muscles (in a bath)
  • Good for natural dyeing

Osoberry (Oemleria cerasiformis)

  • Makes a richly flavoured jelly
  • One of the first plants to flower - good for hummingbirds returning from migration
  • Can be eaten when dark purple but the raw fruit tastes bitter
  • Dioecious plant - male and female flowers are on separate shrubs

Western Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

  • A tea can be made  from the flowers to treat coughs and colds
  • Can be used as a wound poultice
  • Its primary use since ancient times is for blood clotting

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

  • Good for wildlife
  • Dried flowers can be used for tea that may treat bronchial problems and whooping cough
  • Immune boosting

Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana)

  • Attracts butterflies
  • Blooms in June and July
  • Hips are ready in January/February and can be used to make tea, jam and sauce.  High in vitamin C
  • Petals have some vitamin C and can be used in tea and baking

Salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis)

  • Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies
  • Flowers throughout spring
  • From June to August produces a raspberry like yellow orange to dark red edible fruit
  • Key ancestral food - berry cake
  • Always found 0.5 km from some form of water source
  • Bottom two leaves on the plant look like a butterfly

Long leaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata)

  • Golden dye can be made by boiling the whole plant and letting the water sit for 24 hours
  • Leaves can be used to stop blood flow from cuts and wounds 

Ocean spray (Holodiscus discolor)

  • Great for pollinators, small birds and frogs
  • Wood from the stem was used to make tools and arrows
  • Roots can be used to make a mild tea

Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium)

  • Berries are edible but sour
  • Bark can be used for dyeing

Wild ginger (Asarum caudatum)

  • Scented plants can be put in bathwater
  • Roots can be boiled and drunk as a tea yo ease stomach problems
  • Roots can be cleaned and eaten raw or used as a ginger substitute.

Melville, Joanne (November 19, 2020)

Topic: Hycroft Garden Restoration

Joanne Melville has been gardening for much of her life as she started at a young age by working in the family garden with her mother. She currently works in the church memorial garden and in the gardens of the strata where she now resides. For the past several years she has been co-chair of the Hycroft garden [University Women’s Club, on McRae in Vancouver] which covers almost two acres in the heart of the city. It is very beautiful and particularly unique because of the number and variety of heritage trees on the property. The largest sequoia in the

Minter, Brian (February 16, 2017)

Garden Design, Special Interest Plants  

Brian Minter began sharing his passion for plants with British Columbia's gardeners when, in 1970, he and his wife Faye purchased Country Garden Store, a garden shop that had been part of Chilliwack's community since 1957. In 1977, the Minters discovered a piece of land nestled beneath Mt. Cheam and by 1980, that passion for plants was transformed into 32-acre, world-famous Minter Gardens, which closed in 2013.

Brian, a University of British Columbia graduate (BA) and Master Gardener, quickly became BC's go-to garden expert through his experience at both the garden centre and the display gardens. As such, he has hosted countless radio and television shows, is a frequent gardening columnist and is the author of Canadian Best Seller, 'Brian Minter's New Gardening Guide - Fresh Approaches for Canadian Gardeners'.

Minter, Brian (February 16, 2023)

Brian Minter - "Exciting Plants for a Changing Climate and "What the Future Holds"

A recipient of the ‘Order of Canada’, the ‘Order of British Columbia’ and an ‘Honorary Doctorate of Technology’, Brian Minter, B.A., is a horticulturist, entrepreneur and co-founder, with his wife, Faye, of Minter Country Garden, an innovative destination garden center and greenhouse growing operation in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada.

Highly experienced and knowledgeable, Brian has been involved in the horticultural industry for decades and is the recipient of many awards, including:

~ The Perennial Plant Association’s highest honor, the ‘Award of Merit’ 2014

~ The Garden Writers Association’s highest honor, the ‘Hall of Fame Award’ 2014

~ ‘The Person of the Year 2015’ – Canadian Garden Council

Well known from his magazine articles, syndicated newspaper columns and TV and radio programs (CBC and BBC), Brian is in demand internationally as a speaker by the horticultural industry and gardening groups.

Brian has sat on the boards of many community organizations and has served two terms as the first Chancellor of the University of the Fraser Valley.

Brian Minter spoke about Garden trends over time and more specifically for the last year.  The Garden Trends reports can be found here.

He also spoke about good choice for our gardens given the changing climate.  The list are attached below:

Download (PDF, 1.26MB)

Download (PDF, 20KB)

Miskelly, Kristen (February 17, 2022)

Subject: Turn Your Lawn into a Native Plant Meadow

Kristen Miskelly is co-owner of Satinflower Nurseries (previously Saanich Native Plants), a native plant, native seed, and consulting business  on Southern Vancouver Island.  She is passionate about conservation, ecosystem restoration,  native plants, and native plant propagation. She is a biologist with specialty in the botany and ecology of southeastern Vancouver Island.  Among other projects, she helps coordinate the Haliburton Biodiversity Project and is on the Steering Committee for the Cascadia Prairie Oak Partnership. She teaches a variety of workshops and courses and is a sessional lecturer at the University of Victoria teaching ‘Ecosystem Design through Propagation of Native Plants’ and 'Urban Restoration and Sustainable Agricultural Systems.’

Reasons to plant a meadow:

  • Help conserve/restore biological diversity (plants, wildlife etc.)
  • Promote respect for the unique habitats of where you live
  • Promote respect for Indigenous Peoples, culture, food systems, plants and wildlife relatives, respect for the stewardship and management over thousands of years
  • Increase effective size of surrounding habitats
  • Learn about nature
  • Benefit future generations
  • Reduce water usage, fertilizers, chemical pesticides, power mowers (noise, fuel, pollution)
  • Provide the best nutrition for wildlife like birds, butterflies, bees and the insects.

A plant list of all the plants presented can be found here

Morris, Jim (March 21, 2019)

Topic: Bonsai for the Novice or Learning to Manage Expectations

I am a (mainly) retired Doctor and long-suffering husband of Jackie Morris, responsible for endless weeding and moving plants from place to place on her whims. I have also been collecting and trying to train/grow Bonsai trees since 1986, but with more enthusiasm than dedication to the discipline. I have only been to four workshops and conferences in all those years.

So, to be clear, I am emphatically not a Bonsai Master, but I have known several people who were/are accomplished in the field and I have (slowly) learned to keep small trees alive and healthy (no small task!). In addition, I have long enjoyed collecting trees in the mountains and, on occasion, I have actually produced a relatively attractive tree that I'm not ashamed to show friends and colleagues.

I am excited to share what I have learned over these 33 years of trying, and I hope my words will encourage some members of the LVGC to take up the hobby.

Jim shared his passion for Bonsai with members of our club.

  • Bonsai is the process of training and maintaining small but healthy and attractive trees in containers.
  • It involves design and horticulture.
  • It involves patience
  • Jim suggested that anyone really interested in taking this up should join a club where it is possible to learn with and from others - do not try to do this alone.
  • Below is a list of dates for The West Coast Bonsai Society meeting - anyone is welcome
  • Below is also a list of Bonsai events in the Pacific Northwest Region 5 for 2019

    Download (PDF, 8.17MB)

    Download (PDF, 2.02MB)

Mosquin, Daniel (November 16, 2023)

Speaker: Daniel Mosquin

Topic: Native Plants for Lower Mainland Gardens

Daniel grew up on grain farm near Winnipeg, recalls early gardening memories with parents and bird-watching in place like Oak Hammock Marsh with aunts and uncles.  He enjoyed trips with parents viewing wildflowers, such as gentians and lady’s slippers in bloom.  Daniel’s University of Manitoba degree emphasized plant biology.  His work at UBC Botanical Garden since 2000 has included roles such as research, education and information technology.  Daniel also enjoys plant photography and has visited much of western North America.  For the past 12 years, Daniel has taught the plant sciences content for the UBC Horticultural Training Program.

Below are the following  2 PDF documents:

BC Native Plants Handouts provided by Daniel Mosquin

A list of the plants from Daniel's presentation with links to EFlora BC

Download (PDF, 120KB)

Download (PDF, 80KB)

Mulvihill, Susan (January 20, 2022)

Subject: Vegetable Garden Pests,

Susan Mulvihill is passionate about growing vegetables! She is the longtime garden columnist for the Sunday edition of The Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., and has been a Spokane County Master Gardener since 2002. Her popular new book, The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook, was published in April 2021. Susan is also the co-author of the Northwest Gardener’s Handbook. She has created and hosted over 300 how-to-garden videos, which can be found on her YouTube channel, Susan’s in the Garden. Susan is also a member of the professional organization, Garden Communicators International. She and her husband, Bill, live on 5 acres, where they grow all sorts of edible crops in their large raised-bed garden. In 2017, and again in 2021, their garden was featured on the popular public television program, “Growing a Greener World” (episode 809 and 1202), hosted by Joe Lamp’l. Her website can be found at and contains resources for organic pest control along with many other guides designed to help gardeners be successful at gardening. In her “Vegetable Garden Pests” presentation, Susan will discuss cultural practices to keep plants healthy and better able to withstand pest problems, how to identify the bugs you encounter in your garden, and profile some commonly-found insects and strategies for dealing with them.

Susan's handout for her presentation can be viewed and downloaded below.

Author of "The Vegetable Garden Pest Handbook" (Cool Springs Press,2021)

Co-author of "Northwest Gardener's Handbook" (Cool Springs Press)

Garden columnist, The Spokesman-Review

Spokane County Master Gardener

Member, Garden Communicators International

Facebook page


YouTube channel

Download (PDF, 86KB)

Murray, Tasha (May 18, 2023)

Speaker: Tasha Murray

Topic: "Invasive plants, and other pests that are relevant to gardens"

Tasha holds a B.Sc. (Ecology & Environmental Biology) from Thompson River University and a M.S.T. (Masters of Science in Teaching) from Portland State University. Her research involved the assessment of student learning, environmental education programs and science curricula, using a diversity of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Tasha has been involved in conservation in the Pacific Northwest for over fifteen years and has worked extensively to manage invasive plants. She previously worked as the coordinator of the Vancouver Aquarium's River Works program, an aquatic stewardship initiative focused on volunteer-based restoration projects. She has worked for the ISCMV since 2008. As the Executive Director she is currently leading the ISCMV team.  Her passions at the ISCMV are the outreach & education program and running behind-the-scenes of the society.

She lives in Burnaby with her family on a small acreage with a large garden, chickens and plenty of invasive plants to tackle. Tasha also volunteers with the local elementary school PAC, UBC 4-H Community Club, Girl Guides of Canada and BlockWatch.

Below is a list of Species (with links to more information) covered during the presentation:

Species covered:

Knotweeds – best management guide & factsheet

Himalayan blackberry – best management guide & factsheet

English & Irish ivies – best management guide & factsheet

English holly – best management guide & factsheet

Yellow archangel – best management guide & factsheet

Scotch broom – best management guide & factsheet

Yellow flag iris – best management guide & factsheet

Tree of Heaven

Common butterbur

Eggleaf spurge

Water lettuce

Water hyacinth

European fire ant – best management guide & factsheet

Japanese beetle

Brown marmorated stink bug

European chafer beetle – best management guide & factsheet

General invasive species:

Help Stop the Spread of Invasive Plants regional brochure

Free one-hour introductory online course on invasive species in Metro Vancouver

Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver

Invasive Species Council of BC

Report Invasives BC free app

Other gardening resources:

Grow Green Guide – A Guide to eco-friendly lawns and gardens in Metro Vancouver (including invasive species information and an extensive pick-a-plant database featuring non-invasive plants

Grow Me Instead Guide informs gardening enthusiasts about horticulture’s most “unwanted” invasive plants in British Columbia, while providing a variety of native and exotic plant alternatives found to be non-invasive across the province


Nakagawa, Cathy ( June 15, 2017)

Cathy Nakagawa 

I’m an experienced home gardener who has worked at Lee Valley for almost ten years, and been a customer for a lot longer.  It’s a very good fit for anyone who likes to create – gardens and many other things as well!  Since I was a toddler I’ve been drawn to flowers and gardens.  My mother would frequently have to hunt for me and would find me “working” with an elderly neighbour in his or her garden. As a teen I helped do flowers in the church and, in my adulthood, learned from and bonded extremely well with my in-laws (a  gardener by vocation, and an instructor-level Ikebana artist) over our shared interests.  I have fairly recently downsized to a townhouse, so my garden is now limited to containers but includes lots of herbs, rhubarb, tomatoes and a fig tree!

Topic: Container Gardening

Nakahara, Margaret (February 21, 2019)

Title of Presentation:  Orchids for the home

Bio: Margaret Nakahara and her husband Koichi have been growing orchids since the 1970s and their orchid collection has grown from a few plants to more than 350 today. They are both members of the Vancouver Orchid Society, the Fraser Pacific Rose Society and the Lynn Valley Garden Club. Margaret earned gold and bronze medals for floral art in the World Orchid Show held in Vancouver in 1999. In 2017 one of her orchids received the Award of Merit from the American Orchid Society, and she was able to name that cultivar for registration with the AOS. Margaret is a past-president of many floral art and horticultural clubs, including the BC Council of Garden Clubs. She is a founding member of the Horticultural and Floral Design Judges of BC, and a senior show judge of Horticulture and Floral Art.

She shared the following information:

There are 26,000 species or orchids that live in the wild.  That does not even start to count all the hybrids and cultivars that have been derived from them.  Here are some of the orchids Margaret talked about:















She shared a few tips with the group:

  • Orchids are epiphytes not parasites. They grow on the surface of a plant and get moisture and nutrients from the air, rain, or from debris accumulating around it.
  • The do not like to be wet.
  • They can grow in a variety of media such as bark, perlite, lava rock and hydroponic beads – they just need something to anchor their roots in.
  • In order to bloom orchids need a 10 degree difference between daytime and nighttime temperature.
  • Repotting them can help promote blooming.
  • Phalaenopsis can be repotted once a year.
  • Cymbidium should be repotted every 3 years.
  • They do not like to be potted up – they are happier staying in the same size pot
  • When repotting an orchid note down the date it has been repotted.
  • Cymbidium can be put outside in the summer but must be introduced to the sun slowly.
  • Cypripediums are native from Alaska to California and can grow outside in the semi shade .however they need protection in winter from too much rain. They do not mind the cold.
  • Do not cut the stalk on Dendrobium as blooms develop on it.
  • Pleione is an outdoor orchid that needs a sheltered condition near the house but should not be allowed to dry out.
  • If the roots look rotten sprinkle them with cinnamon or garden sulphur.

For more information on growing orchids visit the following websites

The Vancouver Orchid Society

The Canadian Orchid Congress

The American Orchid Society


Nassichuk, Mike (February 19, 2015 and November 19, 2015)

Mike Nassichuck spoke about mason bees.  His handout is below.

Download (DOC, 56KB)

Nevill, Ralph (April 19, 2018)

Ralph Nevill is an arborist with the District of North Vancouver where he responsible for enforcing the District’s Tree Bylaw and Tree Policy for all trees on District property and the supervision of the District’s field crew and contractors. He is also responsible for the District’s Noxious Weed program. His education includes a B.Sc. in Plant Science (Horticulture) from UBC, a Masters in Pest Management from Simon Fraser University and a PhD in Plant Pathology from Virginia Tech.

Topic: Pruning trees and shrubs: Getting started

Download (PDF, 1.52MB)

Odermatt, Gwen (June 16, 2016)

Great Plant Picks

Gwen is a life-long gardener who, as a young child, was fascinated with plants and bugs. She became a discerning observer of how plants grow in harmony with other plants, insects and the diversity of the natural world.  This led to a degree in science at the University of Alberta. For the last 20 years she has operated Petals and Butterflies, a farm nursery that specializes in growing plants that attract butterflies and other beneficial wildlife to gardens. The nursery offers an always interesting collection of rare and unusual ornamental plants that she sells via consignment; for example, her plants can be found in the perennial section of the Van Dusen Plant Sale.  

She is on the Selection Committee for Great Plants Picks, teaches the Advanced  Master Gardener Right Plant/RightPlace course, is a member of the Vancouver Hardy Plant Group and was on the organizing committee for the Hardy Plant Study Weekend 2013, and is a long-time member of the South Surrey Garden Club.  

Her garden has been open for local, national, and international tours, and is open to garden clubs by request. 

Gwen is a Langley resident, married to Paul, a mother of three, and a grandmother of four. 

Olser, Betty Ann (May 21,2015)

Betty Ann Olser spoke about living walls - all the information can be found at the Living Wall website

Rahe, Jim (June 21, 2018)

Topic: Annie's Orchard: 35 years of Growing and Selling Apples and Pears in the Fraser Valley.

Jim Rahe is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Biological Sciences at Simon Fraser University.  Until his retirement in 2004, Jim taught mainly courses in plant biology and in the Department’s Master of Pest Management program where he was the Department’s specialist in orchard, farm and specialty crop pest management.  The focus  of his research specialization was biology of plant disease interactions.  Jim was an active member of the B.C. Professional Pest Management Association (past President), the Canadian Phytopathological Society, and the Fraser Valley Farm Direct Marketing Association (past President).  He is knowledgeable about plant propagation and crop production methods, and pest management for a wide range of specialty crops. He and his wife Mary Ann live near Aldergrove, B.C,, and own and operate Annie’s Orchard.  Annie’s is a small, high density orchard specializing in direct sales of more than 50 varieties of fresh apples and pears.

Some tips from Jim Rahe about growing apples in the home garden:

  • Apples do best with full sun and good drainage
  • More damage can be done by over fertilizing than under fertilizing
  • Most apple trees need a genetically different tree that blooms around the same time in order to be pollinated
  • Apple tree don't come true to seed.  In order to obtain the same tree it needs to be grafted.
  • It is difficult to get an apple tree cutting to root
  • Some of the pests and diseases of apple trees are the coddling moth, the apple maggot, the apple leaf curling midge and the anthracnose canker


Schulz, Margitta (December 9, 2015)

Margitta Schulz from Margitta's Flowers at Lonsdale Quay demonstrated how to make centerpieces.  




Sellars, David (March 16, 2017)

Photographing Alpine Plants: A Landscape Point of View

David Sellars is an award winning photographer and is the Past President of the Alpine Garden Club of British Columbia.  Together with his wife, Wendy, he is developing an extensive alpine and woodland garden in coastal British Columbia. Their garden won the NARGS Millstream Garden Award in 2012.

He is an avid mountain hiker and maintains the website:

His particular interests are rock garden design and construction, alpine plant photography and using video to illustrate mountain landscapes and alpine plant habitats. His video page is here:

He has written articles on rock garden design and alpine plant explorations for the NARGS Rock Garden Quarterly, the International Rock Gardener, and the Saxifrage Magazine. A selection of his photographs were published in the recent book Alpine Plants of British Columbia, Alberta and Northwest North America. His images will also be included in a new edition of Arthur Kruckeberg's Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest. 

Shore, Randy (October 15, 2015)

Randy Shore writes for the Vancouver Sun' Life and Food section.  Link to his column page by clicking here.

He spoke about GMOs - Genetically Modified Organisms.  For more information on this topic click here.

He is also the author of the book: " Grow What You Eat, Eat What You Grow;The Green Man's Guide to Living & Eating Sustainably All Year Round" 



A book of recipes and gardening tips for living and eating sustainably and responsibly all year round. Randy Shore's father and grandfather grew up on farms, yet he didn't even know how to grow a radish. Author of .The Green Man. column in the Vancouver Sun , he spent five years teaching himself how to grow food for his family, and then how to use the resulting bounty to create imaginative and nourishing meals the year round. In Grow What You Eat , Randy reveals the secrets to creating and maintaining a thriving vegetable garden, from how to make your own fertilizer to precise instructions on how best to grow specific produce; he also offers advice for those with balcony or container gardens and others who live in small urban spaces. He then shows how to showcase your bounty with delicious, nutrient-packed recipes (both vegetarian and not), including instructions on canning, pickling, and curing, proving how easy and fulfilling it is to be a self-reliant expert in your garden and your kitchen. Grow What You Eat is primarily a cookbook, but it is also a gardening book, personal journal, and passionate treatise on the art of eating and living sustainably. In his quest for self-sufficiency, improved health, and a better environment, Randy Shore resurrects an old-school way of cooking that is natural, nutritious, and delicious.

Shoroplova, Nina (May 19, 2022)

Topic: Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver's Stanley Park

Nina Shoroplova is a tree enthusiast, historian, researcher, and author. Born and raised in Wales, she immigrated to Canada in 1969 and settled for a time at the Douglas Lake Ranch, the subject of her first book, Cattle Ranch: The Story of the Douglas Lake Cattle Company. She has since self-published three books on inspirational themes, and was a contributor to the 2019 anthology The Group of Seven Reimagined: Contemporary Stories Inspired by Historic Canadian Paintings. Nina holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from SFU and is a trained vocalist and lifelong performer in choirs and community theatre. A professional member of the Canadian Authors Association and a member of the Stanley Park Ecology Society, she spends her days writing her own books, editing the books of others, and taking photographs of trees and plants in every season.

Legacy of Trees: Purposeful Wandering in Vancouver's Stanley Park can be found in the North Vancouver District Public Library


Simms, Erika (March 15, 2018)

Topic:      Growing from Seed

Erika has loved food and gardening from a young age, and has spent many years working as a chef always focusing on fresh, organic and local ingredients. She has worked in the food security sector,  taught gardening workshops, and developed a community seed library. she is presently a customer service representative for West Coast Seeds

She spoke on the following topics:

The history of West Coast Seed, which can be found here.

Products and Practices:

  • Untreated non GMO Canada No. 1 seeds
  • F1 Hybrids
  • Open Pollinated

Types of seeds

  • Open pollinated
  • Heirloom and heritage
  • Organic (grown on organic certified farms)
  • Fi Hybrids (mix of 2 seeds)

Supplies needed to start seeds

  • Seed starter mix
  • Trays
  • Lighting
  • Warming mats
  • Labels

Ways to grow

  • Containers
  • Companion planting list on website
  • Plant same family
  • Square foot gardening

Planning your garden – Question to ask

  • What seeds are suitable for my region?
  • What type of seeds do I want to grow?
  • What type of soil do I have?
  • How much space do I have?
  • How much sun do I have?


  • Seedlings require 12 hours of light/day ideally
  • On the coast choose early variety tomatoes



Spears, James (January 21, 2016)

B.C. Master Gardener James Spears shared information about vegetable gardening throughout the whole year.  He shared his list of recommended vegetables for the garden (posted below). For more of his tips on container gardening click here for a link to a CBC article. He also suggested the following links:

UBC Vegetable Gardening

Royal Horticultural Society Vegetable Gardening

University of Washington Vegetable Gardening

GrowVeg - garden planner app

Download (PDF, 66KB)

Thomas, Sangeeta (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”

Thuring, Christina (November 17, 2022)

Christine Thuring is an inter-disciplinary plant ecologist with a passion for enhancing conditions for biodiversity and healthy communities, with expertise in the built environment. Christine holds a PhD from the Department of Landscape at University of Sheffield (2016). She is very interested in urban ecology, and especially curious about creating native bee habitat in cities, whether through gardens, green roofs, or other forms of green infrastructure. Christine is a founding board member of the Native Bee Society of BC. She spoke on the topic "Let's Make Bees our Primary Clients”

The Native Bee Society of BC is a collective of scientists, artists, managers and enthusiasts working to promote the conservation of native bees in British Columbia.

Some facts about native bees:

  • Native bees are highly efficient pollinators.
  • Given enough local habitat native bees can satisfy the pollination requirements for many crops.
  • There are more than 590 species of native bees recorded in BC.
  • 90% of native bees are solitary.
  • 30% nest in woody tunnels (ie stems, twigs, snags)
  • 70% nest in the ground (bare or partially vegetated well-drained soil).
  • They generally live about a year and are only seen during the active adult stage for 3 to 6 weeks.

Some characteristics of native bees by functional groups:

Bumble Bees:

  • Fuzzy bodies
  • 36 species in BC
  • The only true social native bee in BC.
  • Live in colonies 60 - 200 individuals
  • Buzz pollination
  • Only the queen overwinters.

Hairy Belly Bees:

  • Large mandibles
  • Females carry dry pollen on scope on abdomen
  • Solitary bees
  • Nest in cavities in the ground
  • Use a wide range of nesting substrates

Pollen Pants Bee:

  • Females carry dry pollen on legs
  • Small to medium size
  • Mostly ground nesting

Difference between bees and flies:


  • Long, slender antennae
  • Four wings
  • Pollen collecting Charis on legs or belly
  • Eyes on side of the head


  • Short antennae
  • Two wings
  • No pollen-collecting hairs
  • Large eyes sometimes touching on sides of head

Difference between bees and wasps:


  • Herbivore diet - pollen and nectar
  • Antennae arise near centre of bee’s face
  • Often hairy
  • Pollen-collecting hairs on legs or belly
  • Spurs on legs - legs often stout


  • Omnivore diet (insects and nectar)
  • Antennae arise lower on the wasp’s face
  • Simple hairs - silvery appressed hairs on face
  • No pollen-collecting hairs
  • Spurs on legs - legs often long and thin

What do native bees need?

  • Forage that is nutritious, non-toxic, and readily available throughout the seasons.
  • Healthy pollen and nectar are provided through a diversity of plants at all seasons.
  • Water for drinking, air conditioning, feeding baby bees, and diluting honey. They can’t swim so you need to make provision so they don’t drown.
  • Eggs and overwintering adults need warm, dry shelter.
  • Space and material for nesting:Colonies use old rodent burrows, thatched ground, bird boxes; Above ground solitary use trees, shrubs, logs, grasses, pithy stems, mud, resin, leaves; Underground solitary use bad lawns, bare-ground, sandy soil; Avoid buying commercial boxes which can harbour parasites and pathogens

Garden Maintenance to help native bees:

Think about ground-nesting bees in all season:

  • They favour dry, sandy areas and patchy vegetation - leave it be.
  • Time any landmark-changing work for later in the day
  • Leave autumn leaves for overwintering queens

Think about cavity-nesters’ above-ground needs

  • Select plants with hollow stems
  • In the autumn cut stems to 6” - 1’ above ground (not to the ground) - this will become next spring’s real estate and adult bees will only emerge in spring or summer the following year.

Consider dividing an area’s major maintenance work (mowing, raking, burning) into thirds.


BC Invasives Grow Me Instead Guide

Firesmart landscaping guide  

Firesmart Landscaping Hub in an online tool that allow you to filter fire-resistant species by plant types and includes an extensive list of fire-resistant plants

INaturalist Bee tracker project

Pollen Specialist Bees of the Eastern United States

Pollinator Partnership guide has detailed information on pollinators, how to help them, and features specific ecoregion information     

Xerces Society Bring Back the Pollinators

Tracey, David – (November 17, 2016)5

Ecological Garden Design

David Tracey is a writer, designer and community ecologist based in Vancouver.

He has a master's degree in Landscape Architecture from UBC and has been a certified arborist since 2004. He is the Executive Director of Tree City, a nonprofit environmental group that aims to "help people and trees grow together." 

His environmental design and consultation company EcoUrbanist works with individuals, companies and municipalities to bring ecological ideas into urban greening project.

As well as teaching part time for Simon Fraser University and Gaia College, he works as a journalist and author. His books include Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto and Urban Agriculture: Ideas and Designs for the New Food Revolution. His most recent work, Vancouver Tree Book, became a #1 BC Books Bestseller.


Valana, Maria (March 17, 2022)

Maria Valana is a Horticulture Instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). She holds the Bachelor of Applied Science Degree from Olds College and the Provincial Instructor Diploma from Vancouver Community College.   Maria enjoys sharing her passion for horticulture by providing horticulture education to like-minded individuals.  Plant propagation is one of her favourite subjects.  In her presentation Maria will discuss plant division of a variety of plants, highlighting the correct timing and step-by-step procedure.

Topic: Plant Division

Reasons for dividing:

  • To make more plants
  • To rejuvenate a plant
  • To keep plants healthy
  • To contain plants in a certain area
  • To save money on plants

Plants should be divided within a year of spotting these symptoms:

  • Centre die-out/Doughnut growth: ornamental grasses and some perennials such as Monarda become more vigorous in the perimeter than the centre
  • Small/few blooms: if plant is growing in good soil this is a distress symptom
  • Sparse regrowth: fewer stems than normal when growing in good soil
  • Taking over the neighbourhood: vigorous plants that encroach on walkways, patios and other plants


  • Best when the plant is not actively growing or is dormant
  • Spring is ideal - plants recover quickly from the stress of division because the ground is moist and the temperature is not high yet
  • Plants that form the following year’s flower buds mid summer should be divided in late summer or early fall
  • Avoid summer - plants will wilt and scorch in the hot sun

Digging plants out:

  • Thoroughly water plant 12-24 hours before digging out
  • Dig on a cool morning
  • Dig with a fork or spade
  • Sink the spade or fork to its full depth working around the outside of the drip line of the plant’s foliage
  • The roots must stay cool and moist until the plant is replanted - place in a shady location and cover with moistened burlap if not ready to divide or replant
  • Replant in a well prepared soil with well-aged manure or compost or in a pot with a potting mix

Dividing Clumping plants:

  • Lift the mother plant
  • Look for growth buds on the crown
  • Divide into good-sized pieces with healthy roots and top growth with a spade or sharp knife
  • Each ice should have a t least 4 buds or growing points
  • Replant in a specific are or pot.

Dividing Suckers:

  • Suckers form at nodes along a plant’s underground stems
  • By removing suckers you create a new individual, get rid of an invader and have plants to share and sell
  • Examples: raspberries, forsythias, lilac etc…

Dividing plants with fleshy or woody crowns:

  • Look for growth buds and divide the crowns so they include at least 3 or 4 growth buds
  • Sharp tools are imperative for cutting through fleshy or woody crowns
  • Ex: Cannas, astilbes, dallies, peonies, hostas

Dividing plants with rhizomes:

  • Wait until the plant has finished blooming
  • Divide every 3 to 5 years
  • Divide when the flowering decreases, flower size diminishes or it just looks crowded
  • Ex: bearded irises, bergenias, wood lilies 

Dividing plants with tubers:

  • Tubers are swollen underground stems
  • Tubers can’t survive a winter in freezing soil
  • Dig up tubers at the end of summer and store them in a dark area at 4℃
  • Divide before planting in the spring and ensure that each tuber has at least one eye
  • Ex: Dahlias, calla lilies, ranunculus

Dividing plants with offsets:

  • Offsets are young plants that form at the crown or stolon of a parent plant
  • They take water and nutrients form the parent plant until they are safely rooted
  • They should not be divided until they have a well developed root system
  • Ex: Agaves, aloe, banana, strawberries, sago palm, hens and chicks

Plants with adventitious roots:

  • Plants creep on the ground and the stems touching the soil root in the ground
  • Rooted stems can be cut from the mother plant and replanted 

Bulb division:

  • Bulbs are underground storage structures holding nutrients
  • It is best to divide them when the foliage is almost all dead and the plant is no longer actively growing
  • They create new bulbs called bulbets
  • The bulblets will eventually enlarge to the same size as the original bulb and split off
  • Dig a few inches away form the plant to ensure that the bulbs don’t get damaged and loose the soil around the bulbs to prevent scarping
  • Carefully pull small bulbs from the base of the plant
  • Plant back at a adequate depth
  • Provide adequate spacing to allow for growth in the years to come
  • Can be planted in holding beds then moved once they have matured
  • Bulblets can also be sorted in dry peat moss and placed in a cool, dry and dark spot until the fall
  • Ex: lilies, tulips, daffodils, snowdrops

Layering outdoors:

  • Bend a stem and peg it to the ground
  • Cover with a mound of peat and grit
  • Attach to a bamboo cane to sind which stem is layered

Air layering:

  • Wound the stem
  • Apply rooting hormones
  • Pack with moist moss
  • Wrap with plastic, tie each end
  • Wrap with foil
  • Make sure the moss does not dry out


  • Is another method of air layering involving the removal of the epidermis almost all the way around the stem

van de Poll, Reinier (September 21, 2023)

Speaker:  Reinier van de Poll  of Van de Poll Gardens

Topic:  Creating a Patio Escape

Reinier van de Poll has a unique mix of practical and theoretical experience. He has worked for several horticulturists, garden centers, and landscape design firms. He is a graduate of the Landscape Design and Horticultural program at BCIT, and has also studied under Britain’s leading designer John Brookes. Over 20 years ago, Reinier started Van de Poll Garden Design and the firm’s accomplishments have led to many accolades such as Gold Ribbon at Van Dusen Show and a listing amongst the country’s top designers in Canadian’s House and Home’s Gardening Life. Reinier is a frequent lecturer at garden clubs and Vancouver Master Gardener’s Program, and is presenting at the BC Home and Garden show in March 2023.

Reinier mentioned the following designers as sources of inspiration:

Frederick Law Olmsted (designed Central Park in New York)

Gertrude Jekyll  ( introduced the herbaceous borders)

Thomas Church (1950s in California pioneer landscape designers of Modernism in garden) landscape design

Garrett Eckbo

John Brookes  (Books on Garden design)

Roberto Burle Marx (Massive plantings)

Martha Swartz

He shared the following information:

4 Design Principles:

Puzzle: Fitting all the pieces of a design together as a puzzle ie: needs, wishes, shapes, sizes etc..

Pedestrian: How will people move from one space to another

Profile: Shapes, features elevation of the house

Personality: Your tastes

10 things to include in a design

  1. Access: easy, logical, invitational
  2. Paving: concrete, pavers, stones, etc..
  3. Furnishings: durable, comfortable, color, built in
  4. Plantings: fragrant, not thorny, seasonal, …
  5. Views: in the garden, distant, privacy screening
  6. Structures: overhead, arbours, trellises, shade and shelter
  7. Water: fountains, masks, stone gurgler, pond with waterfall
  8. Fire: fire bowl, fire table, propane vs gas
  9. Rocks: placement, size
  10. 10.Pots: less is more, color, permanent plantings, seasonal

Trends in Garden Design

  • Natural materials
  • Color blocking
  • Hyperlocalism
  • Lawns reimagined
  • Old and new mashup
  • Active play spaces for all ages
  • Edibles, bees and me
  • Better quality vs bling
  • Upgraded furniture
  • Sustainability with technology


van Gruen, Siri (June 15, 2023)

Speaker: Siri van Gruen

Topic:  Seed Saving 101

Siri is a plant enthusiast. She is happiest outside in the garden, getting her hands dirty. Her passion for sustainable food systems led her to complete a BSc. in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences specializing in Plant Production. Since graduating, she has been working towards enhancing BC's seed security with FarmFolk CityFolk.

Seed saving is a great way to preserve plant biodiversity, adapt seeds to your environment, and experience a plant's full life cycle. During the "Seed Saving 101" session we'll discuss the importance of seed security, principles of seed saving, and how to maintain a healthy seed collection.

Some interesting facts:

  • Gardeners and farmers have been saving seeds for the last 12,000 years.
  • The shift to purchasing seeds began in the 20th century.
  • Today the top 10 seed and chemical companies control 73% of the global seed market.
  • There is a major decline in the number of crop species commonly grown as well as the genetic diversity within the crops.
  • 8345 vegetable seed varieties from 89 Canadian Companies…69% of those are only available form one company each.
  • There is a global shift to high caloric and energy dense foods such as cereals and oil crops and a shift away from cultivated fruits, vegetables, spices and wild plants leading to a decrease in food security.

Crop diversity is important

  • To protect crops from diseases.
  • To reduce the need for pesticides and herbicides.
  • To protect against crop failure.
  • To protect against diseases and pest which are more prominent in monocultures.

Seed saving leads to

  • Self sufficiency
  • Seed security
  • Personal preferences
  • Local adaptation
  • Building community

Quick tips for seed harvesting

  • Be on the lookout for plants that have finished flowering.
  • Look for where the seed is hiding: a pod, inside a fruit, encased in some plant debris or the base of a flower.
  • Leave the seed to dry on the plant for as long as possible.  However be aware that birds love seeds and if they start eating them harvest right away.  Also be aware of the weather - it if seems like it will rain in September harvest right away so the seeds don’t get wet.
  • If you have to harvest early - harvest from the base of the stalk and leave the materials to dry inside a paper bag in a dry space.

Seed storage

  • Seeds stored in the open air at room temperature can last for a year or two.
  • If stored in containers such as glass jars in cool temperature (ie refrigerator) this will double the life but be careful of drying them out completely to avoid any mold forming
  • Seeds stored in containers in the freezer will last longer but they need to be extremely well dried before storing them away.

“Something happens to people who plant seeds- it is impossible to watch something grow and flourish without getting a sense of the miracle of all life” Herb Barbolet, founder of FarmFolk CityFolk

Some good resources:

Farm Folk City Folk website

FFCF Seed Suppliers

FFCF Seed Libraries

FFCF Community Seedy Saturdays

Seeds of Diversity


Van Harmelen, Grant (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.

Veggimates (February 20, 2020)

The Veggimates revisited the requirements for seed-growing success. the following topics were covered: containers, soil, water, light, heat, choosing seeds and planting and transplanting techniques.

They also spoke about their favourite vegetables and herbs and what they have learned about planting, growing and harvesting them

Below are some seeding guidelines:


Download (PDF, 53KB)

Wade, Keith Dr. (November 21, 2019)

Biological Evolution of the North Shore: Why Our Forests Grow the Way They Do

Dr. Keith Wade was born in Vancouver and developed a keen interest in the natural world as exemplified by his many insect collections and terraria. He attended UBC for a BSc in zoology and botany, and an MSc in plant ecology, before going to Australia for a PhD in biogeography. In 1969, he returned to Vancouver and joined Capilano College (now Capilano University). He taught biology for 39 years, including 8 years as Chair of Pure and Applied Sciences. He also had several semester leaves teaching at McGill and taught individual ecology courses at UBC and SFU as well as being a research associate at the UBC Botanical Garden. He served on the Boards of VanDusen Botanical Gardens Board and the Vancouver Aquarium B and is currently on the Aquarium's Research Advisory Committee. His greatest pleasures is leading botanical and general natural history study tours to many parts of the world: the first to Malaysia in 1979, and the most recent to Peru this September. Although birds have gradually replaced plants as his area of major interest, but he finds all areas of natural history endlessly fascinating.

He spoke about the biological evolution of the North Shore and why our forests grow the way they do. He described three of the zones in our area and mentioned some of the plants that grow in them:

Coastal Western Hemlock Zone plants

  • Tsuga heterophylla (western hemlock)
  • Abies amabilis (amabilis fir)
  • Pseudotsuga menziesii (douglas fir)
  • Acer macrophyllum (bigleaf maple)
  • Picea sitchensis (sitka spruce)
  • Erythronium (trout lily)
  • Asarum caudatum (wild ginger)
  • Gaultheria shallon (salal)
  • Cornus canadensis (dwarf dogwood or bunchberry)
  • For more information about the ecology of the Coastal Western Hemlock zone click here

Mountain Hemlock Zone

  • Tsuga mertensiana (mountain hemlock)
  • Abies amabilis (amabilis fir)
  • Pinus monticola (western white pine)
  • Sorbus sitchensis (sitka mountain ash)
  • Phyllodoce empetriformi (mountain heather)
  • Rhododendron albiflorum (white flowered rhododendron)
  • Elliottia pyroliflora (copperbush)
  • Chamaecyparis nootkatensis (yellow cedar)
  • For more information about the ecology of the Mountain Hemlock zone click here

Coastal Douglas-fir Zone

  • Camassia quamash (blue camas)
  • Quercus garryana (Garry oak)
  • Dodecatheon hendersonii (shooting star)
  • Gaultheria shallon (salal)
  • Mahonia nervosa (oregon grape)
  • Arbutus menziesii (arbutus)
  • Erythronium Oregonum (white fawn lily or easter lily)
  • For more information about the ecology of the Douglas-fir zone click here


Wai, Hayne and Wilmott, Robert (September 17, 2020)

Bob is a veteran Master Gardener and retired garden designer and Hayne is also a Master Gardener and is a past president of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of B.C. During the last four years they have presented to many garden clubs in metro Vancouver as part of the Dr. S.Y.S Garden outreach program

Topic: Dr Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Gardens

This Ming Dynasty style classical Chinese garden opened in 1986 and was the first full Chinese garden ever built outside of China. Both Hayne and Bob are past board members and current docents of the Dr. SYS Garden. Their presentation showcased the essential elements of a classical Chinese Garden and a walk through the halls, courtyards and corridors with particular reference to the appropriate maintenance of plants, shrubs and trees to reflect a classical Ming Dynasty elegance.

The Dr. Sun Yet Sen Gardens are located in historic Chinatown. They were built by 53 Suzhou artisans using traditional tools in 1985-86 and opened in 1986.

Dr. Sun Yat Sen was the first president of China in January 1912 and is considered to be the father of the nation to mainland China and Taiwan. 

These gardens were the ancestral homes of Chinese Confucius scholars from the Ming dynasty. They are based on the taoist principles of Yin and Yang which represent the primal interplay of opposites in life and in the world.

The gardens are managed by the Dr. Sun Yet Sen Classical Chinese garden society and the Vancouver Parks Board.

The  key elements in the garden are: architecture, rocks, water and plants In the Chinese garden architecture is the most important and plants complement it.

Symbolism of plant:

Peony is the symbol of wealth and prosperity.

The water lily or lotus represents purity. 

Chrysanthemums represent fall.

The blossoming winter plum represents perseverance and hope.

Bamboo represents integrity, modesty and loyalty.

The pine tree, a favorite of Chinese artist, represents longevity and steadfastness of purpose.

Penjing is the ancient Chinese art of depicting artistically formed trees, other plants and landscapes in miniature.  Japanese bonsai evolved from penjing.


Webley, Jane (May 21, 2015)

Jane Webley spoke about the Sensory Garden project at the Kiwanis Care Center in North Vancouver

Wehinger, Elker; Dangelmaier, Pamela; Leroux, Wendy (October 19, 2017)

Topic: Fall in Love With Unusuals

Elke Wehinger – Co-Founder and Co-Owner of 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. She immigrated to Canada in 1996 and soon thereafter co-founded Botanus. Elke is very passionate about Botanus and along with her many hands-on skills and marketing genius, she is responsible for most of the wonderful plant photos in the catalogue. She’s also the brain-child behind the on-line Botanus Garden Club! Elke is a non-stop ‘life learner’ who enjoys giving informative presentations to garden clubs. In the spring of 2014 she took an intensive bee-keeping course and is the proud keeper of happy and healthy honeybee colonies at the Maples Discovery Co-op garden in Langley.  She is an avid reader, kayaker, drummer, floral designer and DIY guru…A true powerhouse!

Pamela Dangelmaier – Co-Founder Co-owner Botanus Inc

A native Vancouverite, Pam’s love of gardening began as a child when she explored her grandparent’s sunken garden - an inviting European-style landscape they had created around their Vancouver home. After graduating from UBC with a Fine Arts degree she pursued an active career in theatre, television and film and then returned to her ‘roots’ when she co-founded Botanus. Pam’s flair for the artistic can be seen in all that she does - from creating the Botanus catalogues and email newsletters to appearing as a gardening expert on television and radio. She also LOVES being part of the Botanus Garden Club where she gets to have her ‘theatrical’ kick in front of the camera! Like Elke, Pam is a bee keeper at the Maples Discovery Garden Co-op where together they care for a few colonies of honeybees. Pam recently fulfilled her lifelong dream of writing and publishing her first novel. It’s called ‘Flour Garden’! It’s a delightful read for all of us who love gardening, baking and quirky characters!

 Wendy Leroux – Customer Happiness Manager Botanus Inc

Wendy is our customer ‘Happiness’ manager, for her, the customers are now gardening friends and she loves to help them be successful in all their gardening endeavours. Her personal garden involves her whole front yard and she classifies it as ‘exuberant’ English Country. She spends many of her evenings in the garden until darkness forces her inside. Wendy is an avid Toastmaster member who enjoys mentoring and coaching new speakers as well as growing her own skills as a speaker. The advanced Toastmaster training has been crucial in allowing her to be comfortable in front of the camera while filming the Botanus Garden Club Episodes. In her spare time, she can be found baking sweet treats, felting up a storm, reading fiction novels and knitting in her cozy little home in Brookswood.Leroux, 

Weidenhammer, Lori (October21, 2021)

Lori Weidenhammer is a Vancouver performance-based interdisciplinary artist and educator. She is originally from a tiny hamlet called Cactus Lake, Saskatchewan. It is in this place, bordered by wheat fields and wild prairie, that she first became enchanted with bees. She is the author of a book called "Victory Gardens for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees"  (available in the North Vancouver District Public Library). For the past several years she has been appearing as the persona Madame Beespeaker, practising the tradition of “telling the bees”. As a food security volunteer and activist Lori works with students of all ages on eating locally and gardening for pollinators. On occasion, she likes to dress up in silly costumes and talk to bees. She is a founding member and a board member of the Native Bee Society of British Columbia. Lori is originally from Treaty 6 Territory in Saskatchewan the original lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dene, Dakota, Lakota, Nakota and the homeland of the Métis Nation and feels gratitude to be able to live and work in unceded territory of the Coast Salish nations.

Topic: Growing Plants from Seeds and Seed Collecting. 

A victory garden for bees is a place for restoration: rewinding our human-altered landscapes to add indigenous food and medicine for bees and humans

Information about bees:

  • Land use and climate change affects bees.  We need to take responsibility for protecting our most important and vulnerable native pollinators
  • The European honeybee (Apis mellifère) is an imported and manned bee.  It is only 1 of 20,500 described species of bees in the world.  Only about 9 species of bees make and store honey. 
  • Bees vary greatly in size, appearance, behaviour, effectiveness as pollinators and floral choices. 
  • Nesting habitat
      • Plant stems
      • Bare soil (over 70% of bee species nest in the ground)
      • Trees, including old stumps/ holes drilled in logs
      • Bumble bees: rodent nests/ bird houses/ bee boxes
      • Material: wax, mud, resin, pebbles, petals and leaves
  • Designing a pollinator garden:
      • Choose plants form your bioregion when possible
      • Right plant in the right place always
      • One meter square
      • Continuous bloom ie mid March to October (first frost)
      • Hardy, tolerant to your climate ie drought tolerant in summer wet feet in winter

“The quality of our existence is directly intertwined with biodiversity. Many of our medicines are derived from plants.  All of our food is derived from life, in one form or another.  Ecosystems provide us with clean air and water. And when species disappear, ecosystems crumble.  It’s quite alarming that extinction is accelerating and everyone should be alarmed” Noah Greenwald, the endangered species director at the Centre for Biological Diversity.

Information about seeds:

  • Open pollinated: pollen is carried from the stamen of one plant to the stigma of another by insect, wind, water, etc…
  • Two types of self-pollination: Pollen from the same flower travels down the stigma Pollen from a different flower on the same plant enters the stigma Ex: peas, beans, tomatoes, orchids, wheat, apricots
  • All heirloom seeds are open pollinated but not all open pollinated seeds are heirloom
  • Hybrid seeds are created in controlled environments for selected traits by plant breeders and seed must be purchased every year
  • Pollination spectra: some plants need bees, some do better with bees, some don’t need bees at all
  • Some bees are generalists and some are specialists and some are on the spectrum
  • Starting seeds indoors vs outdoors - Pros
      • Germination temperature, moisture and light can be controlled
      • Plants get to a size where they can compete with weeds and pests like slugs
      • Plants can be labelled and you can choose where to transplant them
      • Gives plants a head start on the growing season
  • Starting seeds indoors vs outdoors - Cons
      • Need rodent proof space with proper conditions end enough light and good air flow
      • Damping off (mold/fungus)
      • Tiny pests can get onto plants (greenhouse white fly)
      • Plants with long taproots are root crops don’t like to be transplanted
      • Some plants germinate better in outdoor conditions


Exotic Annuals and Bee Pasture

Madame Beespeaker’s Seed Starting Tips

Native Annuals and Perennials

Seeds to Bees Resources

Wills, Howard (January18, 2018)

Howard Wills of Fernwood Nursery, Devon, England holds the Plant Heritage National Collections® of Sempervivum, Jovibarba and Rosularia species and cultivars (Houseleeks). He spoke about some of his favorite gardens in the U.K.


Stowe is a Capability Brown designed National Trust landscape garden.


Carwinion House (now closed) is an 18th century manor house with a 12-acre subtropical woodland garden with a large collection of bamboos.

Trebah is a sub-tropical paradise with a stunning coastal backdrop.


Levens Hall has twelve wonderful acres of gardens that include a unique collection of ancient and extraordinary topiary characters sculpted from box and yew.


Marwood Hill is located in a steep valley in North Devon. Some of the plants you will see are massed camellia and rhododendron planting, a the bog gardens, carpets of primulas and iris as well as the National Collection of Astilbes.

RHS Garden Rosemoor is surrounded by woodland.Highly ornamental gardens with shrubs, roses, perennials and bulbs were established during the first ten years of the gardens' life, and now the emphasis has shifted to more extensive, long-term projects

Wildside Gardens

East Sussex

Great Dixter is an historic house, a garden, a centre of education, and a place of pilgrimage for horticulturists from across the world.


RHS Garden Hyde Hall is a 145-hectare (360-acre) estate that is constantly evolving, as the gardening team strive to retain the original intimacy and charm of this horticultural gem, while at the same time aiming to restore much of the estate to its former rural glory, including its historic hedgerows and woodland.


Exbury Gardens are a spectacular 200 acre (80 hectare) site, world-famous for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, rare trees and shrubs.

Northern Ireland

The Gardens at Mount Stewart reflect a rich tapestry of design and great planting artistry. The formal areas have a strong Mediterranean feel and resemble an Italian villa landscape; the wooded areas support a range of plants from all corners of the world, ensuring something to see whatever the season.


Drummond Castle Gardens is one of Europe’s and Scotland’s most important and impressive formal gardens.


RHS Wisley is one of the largest plant collections in the world. Some of the highlkights are the glasshouse, the rock garden, the trial fields, the Jubilee arboretum, the walled garden and the bonsai walk.


Dewstow Gardens and Grottoes contain many ponds and rills and an interesting labyrinth of underground grottoes, tunnels and sunken ferneries.

Dyffryn Gardens cover more than 55 acres with intimate garden rooms, formal lawns and an extensive arboretum.

The National Botanic Garden of Wales has range of themed gardens, the world’s largest single-span glasshouse, a new tropical Butterfly House, play areas and a national nature reserve.


Stourhead is one of England’s greatest landscape garden.


RHS Garden Harlow Carr covers 27.5 hectares (68 acres). Some of the areas to explore are a hedgehog friendly garden, a streamside garden, a kitchen garden and an alpine house.

Presenter Biography, in his own words:

I am a life-long gardening enthusiast (plantaholic!) with many years of experience of growing a wide range of plants. I run a small nursery specialising in Sempervivums (Houseleeks) and related plants.

At Fernwood, I hold N.C.C.P.G. (Plant Heritage) National Collections® of Sempervivum and Jovibarba species and cultivars (Alpine Houseleeks) and previously, National Collections® of Phormium species and cultivars (New Zealand Flax) and Rosularia species.

I have exhibited these plants at all the major Royal Horticultural Society Flower Shows and the exhibits have been awarded RHS Gold Medalsat Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court Palace, Gardener’s World Live, Tatton Park, Malvern and RHS Wisley Flower Shows.

The nursery is managed in an environmentally sensitive way and I am also very keen on watching, recording and studying our native fauna and flora. I also enjoy visiting gardens and natural environments both in the UK and in other parts of the world.

 Great Britain has a large number of wonderful gardens showing an incredible range of plants and a fascinating diversity of gardening styles.

In this talk I describe a varied selection of British gardens that are, or have been, open to the public and which I have particularly enjoyed visiting, including some Scottish and Welsh gardens as well as those in England.

Wong, Nick (October 15, 2020)

Nick Wong is the Research and Projects Coordinator at ISCBC. He has a PhD in Marine Ecology from the University of Auckland, New Zealand and diverse experience working in Pacific salmon and herring fisheries in BC. Nick is passionate about teaching and creating engaging opportunities for people to learn and understand the role they can play in the prevention and mitigation of invasive species. Nick has been intensely involved in the coordinated response to the Japanese Beetle invasion in Vancouver since 2017.

The ISCBC "Grow Me Instead" brochure can be downloaded for free here.

Nick's Presentation is below:

Download (PDF, 4.25MB)