Steele: Mother’s Day plant sale offers gift ideas

Summerland Friends of the Garden spring plant sale in the Summerland Ornamental Gardens Saturday 8-4 and Sunday 8-3.

The Summerland Friends of the Garden are holding their annual spring plant sale in the Summerland Ornamental Gardens this weekend, on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The sale will include a wonderful selection of native and drought tolerant plants, annuals, perennials, herbs, and heirloom vegetables from valley nurseries as well as plants propagated at the gardens.

Bring your mom for tea and refreshments in the gardens and to choose her own hanging basket from the beautiful selection of Mother’s Day hanging baskets.

Master Gardeners will be present to answer gardening questions.

Saturday events include, at 11 a.m., Kitchen Herbs with Heidi Noble, cookbook author, of Joie Farm Winery, at noon, Mason Bees in the Orchard with naturalist Don Gayton and at 1 p.m.,  Backyard Ponds with Alex Juhasz.

Also on Saturday, the Penticton Bonsai Club will have a display and Lisa Scott, invasive plant expert from the South-Similkameen Invasive Plant Society, will have invasive species information.

The gardens are above the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre off Highway 97 opposite Sun-Oka Beach Park.

I drove there Tuesday for a meeting and thoroughly enjoyed all the spring blooming Okanagan sunflowers and Saskatoon bushes in the hills along the highway.

Visiting the gardens (established in 1916) always brings back memories of my grandmother.

She was and avid gardener and frequently took our family to picnic at the Ornamental Gardens.

My dad just reminded me that Granny was good friends with the garden superintendant and often would walk the gardens with him as we played on the lawns.

I continued the tradition with my family and in the 1990s became friends with head gardener, Brian Stretch who created the first public xeriscape garden in Canada at the gardens in 1994.

Dean Dack of Classic Compost just left me a message to say this week is National Compost Week.

If you google National Compost Week you will find it is celebrated in several countries in the world and there is lots of composting information online.

On the resources page of www.okanaganxeriscape.org you can find a link to the Let’s Go Natural booklet put out by the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.

It contains a wealth of composting information.

The different types of composters in the booklet can be seen at the Compost Demonstration Garden at the EECO Centre.

Organic matter such as compost is essential to feed the multitude of life in the soil.

These organisms break down the organic matter to provide nutrients that plants require for photosynthesis.

All life above the soil directly or indirectly relies on plants for food.

In the wild, mother nature naturally provides organic matter. For example, fallen leaves in a forest.

We need to mimic this in our gardens and yards so we have good soil to keep our plants healthy.