Steele: Garden tours offer inspiration

A variety of garden tours being offered this summer, one self-guided on bicycle, another for the fall harvest.

I love garden tours. They provide an opportunity to see new plants, get ideas and find out how the gardens have evolved.

The Kelowna Garden Tour was started by the Diggers and Weeders Garden Club in 1997. I remember it well.

My parents’ (Arthur and Vitie Hughes-Games) garden was on that first tour. The garden had evolved over 50 years from a half acre of bush around their new home on Christleton Avenue.

Mom and dad were thrilled to share their labour of love with the 800 ticket holders.

Even though their four children were long gone, they still had an enormous and very productive vegetable garden.

The flower gardens were numerous and beautiful including a hedge of peonies, some of which had been my grandmothers.

My husband and I had opened our plant nursery the year before and were invited to sell our plants in the garden

I grew up in a garden where I had learned to love gardening.

The Kelowna Garden Tour is now known as the Kelowna Flower Power Garden Tour and is a fundraiser for Ballet Kelowna. This year it will be held June 15, with nine beautiful gardens on show.

Many are gardens that have evolved over years and been lovingly tended by their owners. Two compliment heritage homes and three are water-wise gardens.

Several have vegetable gardens which are of increasing interest.

There will be live music, food, art displays, and gardening experts.

The Okanagan Xeriscape Association will have an information booth in the large, colourful xeriscape garden that won OXA’s Xeriscape Garden Contest in 2011. I will be there to answer questions. B-line Design garden art will also be there.

Tickets are available at local nurseries. Details are at www.flowerpowerylw.ca .

This Saturday, June 8, the Lake Country Garden Club is holding its Lake Country Garden Tour. Ten Lake Country gardeners will show off their talents and share some great gardening ideas.

There will also be displays of fine art provided by local artists and crafts people.

For information go to  www.kelownagardens.com/lake-country-garden-tour-2013-2/.

At the end of the summer we will have a different type of garden tour. Maggie Shirley is organizing a bicycling garden tour of front yards in Kelowna.

The theme is eco-friendly front yards. There will not be any lawn in the featured gardens.

The idea is to showcase creative lawn-free front yards. If you have or know of an interesting no-lawn front yard, please contact her at turftheturfproject@gmail.com.

The new Fall Gardens Harvest Tour, organized by the Summerland Friends of the Garden, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28 in Summerland.

It will showcase the beauty and bounty of the Okanagan.

There will be edible gardens, natural and water-wise gardens and artist’s studios in gardens.

For more information call 250-494-6385.

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