Steele: Flower Power gardens should be in full bloom

With spring being hot, dry and three weeks early, plants not normally blooming during the garden tour will be in full flower on June 13.

This year, the Flower Power Garden Tour will take place Saturday, June 13.

Now that we have had good, soaking rains, gardens are beginning to look lush.

With spring being hot, dry and arriving three weeks early, plants not normally blooming during the garden tour will be in full flower.

The Okanagan Xeriscape Association is delighted to have been asked to put the unH2O Xeriscape Garden on the tour to fill in for a garden that was decimated by deer and winter damage.

On Monday, I joined three hardy volunteers to add annuals to fill some bare spots in the unH2O Garden.

The rainstorm began as we arrived and continued through Tuesday night.

Although not the pleasant evening we anticipated, it was a perfect time to plant.

The soil was dry so we could walk on it without compacting it. Holes and plants were soaked and watered again after planting.

Then Mother Nature obliged with very cool temperatures and over a half inch of rain.

A return to high temperatures is forecast for the weekend so plants should put on a burst of growth and blooms for the tour.

This year the tour includes gardens in the Mission and downtown Kelowna. Three are at heritage homes.

The one on Marshall Street was my grandparents’ home during my childhood.

Granny was an avid gardener so the landscape was always beautiful.

When the house sold, the gardens deteriorated so badly that the current owners had to remove some of the weedy soil.

The new gardens are lovely. I know Granny would be very happy to see the restoration.

The heritage walnut tree we played around has survived. It was purchased in 1952 from Gellatly Nut Farm in West Kelowna.

Gardens range from small city lots to estate-sized properties.

Examples of vegetable gardens vary from small planters to the garden that supplies organic vegetables, and edible flowers to the Sunset Organic Bistro at Summerhill Pyramid Winery.

There are gardens designed and cared for by professionals but most were made and are cared for by the homeowners.

For the second year in a row, the self-guided tour is a fundraiser for the Growing Chefs! Okanagan project, a classroom gardening and cooking program in Kelowna’s elementary schools.

This program has been highly successful in Vancouver and was piloted in 2013 with 30 children at Glenmore Elementary.

This year, thanks to donations, it has expanded to include 180 children in three schools.

Over the course of three months, chef volunteers visit the classroom every two weeks, helping students tend to indoor vegetable gardens.

The chefs engage the students in games, lessons and activities focused on plant growth, local and urban agriculture, sustainability and nutrition.

Students harvest their vegetables and chefs teach them to cook healthy, delicious meals with what they have grown.

For more information about the tour and where to purchase tickets visit the website flowerpowerylw.ca/.

 

Kelowna Capital News

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