Steele: Rare open house at Summerland Research Centre

Find out what they do up on the hill in the agriculture research centre and participate in activities in the ornamental gardens.

Saturday, Oct. 4, will be a very exciting day in Summerland.

It’s a rare opportunity to find out what they do up on the hill in the agriculture research centre and to participate in many activities in the ornamental gardens.

Welcome garden

Both are located at 4200 Highway 97S at the south end of Summerland (Lookfor a big sign on the right at the turnoff).

The Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre (PARC) is celebrating its centennial with an open house of the facility’s labs and field research projects.

This is where many of the valley’s tree fruit varieties are developed.

Other research includes pest and disease control, efficient irrigation methods, and influences of soils and climate on the valley’s agriculture.

At the same time (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), further up the hill, the Friends of Summerland Ornamental Gardens (FOG) are will also hold a series of public events.

The gardens were begun in 2016 to demonstrate to Okanagan settlers what ornamental plants they could grow.

As a child, I went for many picnics to what was then called the Summerland Research Station with my grandmother, an avid gardener. It has been a favourite place all my life.

In the late 1980s, the government ended the ornamental horticulture program.

Then in 1991, a non-profit charitable organization, Friends of Summerland Research Station Gardens (FOG), was formed to conserve, enhance and maintain the gardens in collaboration with PARC.

Today the 21st century mission of FOG is to educate the public in ornamental horticulture and effective water use, by demonstrating water conservation methods and the range of plant species possible in the Okanagan.

On Saturday you can take any of a series of tours, guided by experts:

10-11 a.m.—‘Xeriscape in the Gardens’

11 a.m. to noon—‘The New Welcome Garden and Rain Garden’

Noon to1 p.m.— ‘Grasses in the Gardens’

1-2 p.m.—‘Trees in the Gardens’

2-3 p.m.—‘Highlights of the Gardens’

Tours start from the Hummingbird Information Centre. Donations are welcomed.

There will also be guided tours of the historic superintendent’s house where FOG will be serving refreshments. It’s rarely open to the public.

While there, you can bid on many wonderful silent auction items. Donors include local wineries, restaurants, and artisan food producers.

Be sure to check out the perennial plant sale.

There will be some rare and unusual varieties including species found in the Gardens and xeriscape plants.

Fall is a great time to plant so plants establish good root systems before next year’s dry summer.

FOG is not set up for debit or credit cards so come prepared.

For more information see

Just Posted

Okanagan can learn from Washington’s wine industry growth

Winery owner cites importance of industry collaboration

Okanagan wineries shine in global chardonnay competition

Recognition for Kalala and Liquidity wineries at 2018 Chardonnay du Monde competition

Kelowna’s South Perimeter Road project to go ahead

Project to extend Gordon Drive doesn’t get enough signatures to keep it from moving ahead

Fleeing driver leaves behind severely damaged car

West Kelowna crash occurred at Highway 97 South junction

Dozens of impaired Kelowna drivers ticketed on St. Patrick’s Day

Kelowna RCMP stopped many vehicles for impaired driving during a one day blitz

Rainy week ahead for Okanagan and Shuswap

Environment Canada is forecast rain for the next three days, starting Tuesday afternoon

Attempted gun smuggler across the Osoyoos border sentenced

Alex Louie, who prefers the name Senk’lip, was sentenced to the mandatory minimum

Pro-Trump protest sign with F-word is OK, court rules

Judges say Ontario man can protest publicly, even using vulgar language

VIDEO: Police officer looking for distracted drivers gets hit by truck

Road safety investigator clipped by trailer while patrolling busy intersection

YVR wants you to help name three new puppies

Say hello to the Vancouver Airport’s new assistance pups

Search and rescue help injured sledders off Owlhead

Volunteer searchers also locate two hikers near Little Shuswap Lake

Suspect who attacked autistic man in Ontario could be from B.C.’s south coast: police

29-year-old man was sent to hospital with serious injuries

Privacy watchdog to explore Facebook leak

Canadian expert says his analytics company helped Trump campaign capitalize on private Facebook info

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most Read