On Thursday, April 10 at 5 p.m., the ongoing Okanagan Institute Express series presents Think Green: Finding Glory in the Garden. Join us as Gwen Steele, Gabe Cipes and Brenda Dureault, master green thumbs all, take us on a journey into the heart of horticultural delight.
In an effort to inspire our growing dreams, this special presentation features a diverse group of presenters – talented and dedicatd gardeners, growers and agrarians – sharing their horticultural adventures and learnings.
Gwen Steele is a local specialist in xeriscaping. She was born, raised and has lived most of her life in the Central Okanagan where she has gardened since early childhood. For 20 years she has been studying, teaching and practicing the principles of xeriscape gardening as she feels this is the most cost-effective, labour-saving, water-conserving, and rewarding method of gardening. Xeriscaping is a method of gardening which can be used to create almost any garden style. Gwen is the executive director of the Okanagan Xeriscape Association (a local not-for-profit organization) which she co-founded in 2009. It was formed to bring water-wise gardening education to valley residents. Much of the information on the Okanagan Xeriscape Association website, and in the plant database, is from Gwen’s many years of experience testing and growing plants in her nursery and demonstration gardens. Xeriscaping is gardening with nature. Gwen is passionate about gardening with nature as a way to restore and preserve natural systems and to bring peace and good health to individuals.
Gabe Cipes makes and sources the nine biodynamic preparations applied to Summerhill Vineyard and has successfully led the transition to Demeter Certified biodynamic status. He is also diversifying the farm with food forests and edible landscaping, conducting experiments based on Permaculture principles to increase biodiversity within the vineyard system and grow complimentary crops between the vineyard rows. Gabe has completed courses in Permaculture Design Certificate at Selkirk College and Natural Earth Building at the Cob Cottage Company with Ianto Evans, and has completed the vineyard management courses and viticulture certificate at Okanagan College Penticton. Gabe is inspired by the ideas and knowledge associated with creating self-sustaining food producing ecosystems and sees him self, planning and planting food forests and working with ecological communities for as long as he is able. Aside from his work on the farm, Gabe is a visual artist, public speaker and festival producer. Over the past five years, he has produced a pan-Okanagan Art, Music, Craft and Spoken word, ecologically themed festival called Conduit.
Brenda Dureault operates Curly Frog Farm in the Valley flatlands which supports both farmland and wetland. It is a family owned and operated farm whose overarching goal is to integrate people, habitat and agriculture in order to gain a better understanding and appreciation of the environment in which we live. To achieve this goal, design principles such as agroforestry and permaculture. There are several species of hardwood trees interplanted with conifers and fruit trees. Nut species such as black walnut, English walnut, trazels, chestnut and yellow horn are planted for their timber value as well as for biodiversity, food and wild life. Among the nut trees are Christmas trees, mulberry and paw paw fruit trees. Brenda also designs and creates unique jewellery which is hand knit with wire, gem stones, crystals and vintage finds. She has designed and created clothing, accessories and household items for herself and for contract work using various materials and further developing her textile techniques.
Wherever there is soil, plants grow and produce their kind, and all plants are interesting. When we make a choice as to what plants to grow – and encourage to grow – in any given place, we become a gardener. The satisfaction of a garden does not depend on the area, cost or rarity of the plants. It depends on the temper of the person. We must first seek to love plants and nature, and then to cultivate the happy peace of mind that is satisfied with the little miracles that happen with the combination of seeds, soil, light and nutrients and the tender loving care of the gardener.
With gardening, we will be happiest if we have no rigid and arbitrary notions, for gardens are moodish, particularly for the novice. If plants grow and thrive, we should be happy; and if the plants that thrive chance not to be the ones that we planted, they are plants nevertheless, and nature is satisfied with them. We tend to covet the things that we cannot have; but we are happier when we love the things that grow because they must. A patch of lusty perennials, growing and crowding in luxuriant abandon, are a worthy object of affection. A small vegetable patch reveals every spark of life and spirit and individuality to our culinary delight. Anyone who worries morning and night about the dandelions in the lawn will find great relief in loving the dandelions. Each blossom shines in the exuberant sunlight of the growing spring, and attracts the insects to its bosom. Little children adore the dandelions, and so should we.
There is a newly emerging trend, built on traditions that never really disappeared in the rush to industrial agriculture and lawn-dominated home gardens. This trend emphasizes diversity, natural systems and small-scale technologies. No single name adequately describes them all, but they all have much in common. Permaculture, biodynamics, xeriscape home gardens, urban agriculture, forest understory farming, non-traditional forest products, regenerative agriculture and agroforestry all capture some of the essence of this complex and integrated approach to food, flower and fiber production.
To register for this event CLICK HERE
Think Green: Finding Glory in the Garden takes place at 5 p.m. April 10 at the Bohemian Cafe, 524 Bernard Ave., in Kelowna.
Fee is $2 at the door, refreshments available. Space is limited so reserve a seat.
This marks the 269th event the Okanagan Institute has held since the Express series got underway in 2007.