Steele: Kelowna gardeners earn deserved kudos

The garden shed and vegetable garden of Bev Shortreed and Roger Hume was part of the Kelowna Garden Tour this year.   - Gwen Steele/Contributor
The garden shed and vegetable garden of Bev Shortreed and Roger Hume was part of the Kelowna Garden Tour this year.
— image credit: Gwen Steele/Contributor

For over 10 years, the Kelowna Communities in Bloom Committee has been awarding Green Thumb Gardening Awards.

Judging is done by local master gardeners using criteria set up by the B.C. Council of Garden Clubs.

On July 21, this year’s winners were honoured at an event held in Benvoulin Heritage Church. The winners are listed here in the order of presentation.

Best Xeriscape Garden: Saskia Makela. A photo story of this delightful, easy care garden is on the gallery page at

Best Large Garden: Roger Hume and Bev Shortreed are two passionate gardeners who have together created beautiful lakeside gardens, including a great vegetable garden.

Best Small Garden: Doreen Morash has a charming garden with lots of bird feeders, bird houses and roses surrounding her heritage house.

Best Rose Garden: Judy and Bill Runzer have a lovely garden with a huge variety of very healthy roses.

Best Vegetable Garden: Helen Serwa has been looking after her garden since 1945, including an enormous vegetable garden that she is still tending herself at the age of 100.

Best Large Commercial Landscaping: Valux Homes Ltd, Bridges at Glenview development above Clement Avenue, Carol Rutherford is the landscaper.

Small Commercial Landscaping: Kreator Motorcycles.

Best School Garden Project: A.S. Matheson Elementary School students have built great instant gardens consisting of many wading pools made into thriving vegetable gardens cared for by the students.

Best Multi-Residential Vegetable Garden: Gordon Manor seniors have a very healthy vegetable garden of 24 very large plots. As well they have taken over maintenance of the landscaping around Gordon Manor.

Best Urban Forestry Award: Minstrel Cafe and Bar on Lakeshore Road for Preservation of a heritage London Plane Tree.

Best Institutional Garden: Hospice Garden on Ethel Street. This very beautiful, colourful and peaceful garden is tended by a large number of volunteers.

Gardener of the Year: Judy Bell, master gardener, coordinates the volunteers who tend the gardens at Hospice House. She has given many hours of advice to senior’s homes about garden makeovers, at workshops for SLR, through Master Gardener clinics, and advised on many worthwhile projects.

Best Community Project: the Okanagan Xeriscape Association’s unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden. The award goes to myself and Lisa Masini, co-founders of OXA and creators of the garden. Many thanks go to all the in-kind donors and the volunteers who helped build this garden, which is beautifully maintained by volunteers. This is truly a teaching garden featuring lovely colours at any time of the year.

Contribution to Gardening: Darla Wiebe has been leading her Urban Gardeners Club to provide Kelowna with a great Garden Tour for the past five years.

Best Block: Mountain Avenue from Glenmore to Clifton was chosen as a good example of an older neighbourhood being kept green and tidy and beautiful by all.

Kelowna is full of beautiful gardens and great gardeners.

I encourage you to keep the award categories in mind for nominating gardens next year.

Google City of Kelowna Communities in Bloom for information and forms.

Gwen Steele is executive-director of the non-profit Okanagan Xeriscape Association. Learn more about Gardening with Nature and plants for the Okanagan on the website at


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