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 summerlandornamental-gardens.org.

Just Posted

Tsunami warning issued for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 8.0 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

Work continuing on new Kelowna visitor centre

Crews working through winter on downtown lakeshore site to have building ready for this summer

Pizza delivery car stolen during Kelowna delivery

While delivering a late night pizza, man has car stolen, then runs to recover it

Kelowna’s Serwa named to Olympic team

Kelsey Serwa is one of eight Canadian ski cross athletes headed to PyeongChang

Vernon Search & Rescue find lost snowmobiler

Male, 19, went missing in Hunter’s Range area near Enderby

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Angels at The Mule

Penticton nightclub introduces angel shots for safety

Dryer explosion at Teck Elkview Operations

Locals report hearing loud bang

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Most Read