History Archive

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  • Garden Tour (June '06)
  • Bulb Planting Fall '06)
  • Winter Gardening Fall '06)
  • Garden Tools Nov. '06)
  • Fall Fair (Sept. '06)
  • Bananas (June '06)
  • Christmas (Dec. '06)
  • Invasive Plants (Jan. '07)
  • Invasive Plants-Meg (Feb. '07)
  • Native Plants (March.'07)
  • Butterfly Gardens (April '07)
  • Water Features (May '07)
  • 2007 fall Fair (Sept. '07)
  • 2007 Fall Speakers (Oct.. '07)
  • Bio-Dynamics (Nov.'07)
  • Christmas Wreaths 2007 (Dec.'07)
  • Our History (Feb..'08)

    For Old Newsletters, Click here for PDF Files 2008-2011

  • June 20th. Pam Erikson
    Daylilies, Hostas and Garden Evolution

    Click here for her website

  • April 18th. Charlie Sale (Click here for his Bio)
    Rhododendrons in the Woodland Garden

    Squamish Gardeners present:

    Marianne Binetti: Weed Wars: Winning the Battle Without Upsetting Mother Nature. Monday March 21 @ 7 pm At the Eagle Eye Theatre 38430 Buckley Avenue

    Tickets $15 at Billie's Flower House & at the door. Winning the war on weeds without Harming Mother Nature" takes a practical and often humorous look at controlling those ever present weeds including what weeds you can gnash your teeth on (yes some weeds are good to eat!), what weeds are trying to tell you about your soil and why some of the so called "organic" weed killers such as vinegar and salt can do more harm than good. After hearing Marianne Binetti's fun filled and helpful advice, you may even learn to love weeding and out smarting the volunteer flora that always seem to pop up right before someone comes to visit your garden.

    She is a northwest horticultural expert: Marianne has a degree in horticulture from Washington State University and writes a syndicated gardening column that runs in over a dozen newspapers each week including the The Tacoma News Tribune (Sundays) and The Daily Olympian (Saturdays). She has also written or co-written 10 gardening books including "Easy Answers for Great Gardens" and her latest book "Edible Gardening for Washington and Oregon" She lectures and gives seminars on a variety topics, appears weekly in the summer on her show "Dig In Seattle and leads garden tours around the world with her husband Joe. She lives with her family in Enumclaw, near Seattle, Washington.

    Monday February 15th. at the Sandman Hotel 6:45pm

    Radina Jevdevic: How to Maintain and Re-bloom Orchids at Home was a great success.

    We learnt so much..Thank you, thank you.

    Website: Radina Flowers

    Our last meeting for 2015 was on November 16th. at the Sandman Hotel Featuring:
    Richard Hallman (fruit trees) 6:45 pm.

    Click Here for background information
    Click Here for his Bio

    Our Speaker for a previous meeting was Vicky Earle (Costa Rica)... Monday, October 19th.

    It was a very inspiring illustrated presentation.


    Bulb Planting:
    Congratulations to all those intrepid members who helped plant the tulip bulbs on Thursday Oct 26th at the Squamish Public Library.

    Garden Tools:
    The November meeting was held on Monday November 20, 2006 at the Squamish Library at 7:00 p.m.

    The Guest speaker was Paul Buikema..."Progress Landscaping" - tools- purchase & maintenance. He gave a very informative talk. With over 17 years experience in the nursery and landscape industry, Paul is a Certified Horticulture Technician (retail), an ISA Certified Arborist (PN-5482A) and a Certified Tree Risk Assessor. He has had articles published in gardening magazines, has been a guest on a number of gardening radio talk shows, gives seminars on a wide range of landscape and garden topics and is a regular contributor to garden and arborist oriented online web forums. In 2003, Paul received the British Columbia Landscape & Nursery Association's Young Member of the Year award for his volunteer efforts and contribution to the industry.

    Winter Gardening:
    On Monday Oct. 16th at the Railway Park, we had our Monthly Meeting and we all were treated to a very informative and interesting talk by Ellen Grant on Winter Gardening...Let's all get out and see what we can do to get more out of our yards this year! Ellen plans to tour her garden this coming season with camera-in-hand to illustrate her ideas.

    We also had a great Perennial Exchange and gleefully took home our new booty. Many thanks to all those of you who took the time to get out and dig.

    Fall Fair:
    At the Fall Fair Dorte Froslev was the aggregate winner in the exhibits/entries.

    Here are some images from the Fair
    (Taken by Beth Fitzpatrick)

    These plants are amazing. We over-wintered them from tiny plants indoors and planted them out in the spring....Result a real tropical feel to your garden...Try it yourself...all they need is a lot of water and regular fertilizing and they are happy...also easy to overwinter outdoors. Each one has several "pups" which can be transplanted in the spring.

    Dave and Alison Colwell

    Our Christmas Social and Wreath Decoratiing Event was held at the Brackendale Art Gallery on Dec. 4th.

    Thank you Thor and Dorte for providing the Space.

    Also many thanks to Lois for organising the wreath sales etc.

    Invasive Plants:

    At our January Meeting, the old Executive was thanked for all their hard work in the last activity-packed year and our new Executive was introduced. Also we were treated to a very informative talk by Andrew Appleton from 'Evergreen Stewardship and Restoration Services' on Invasive Plants.

    Many of us were humbled into reviewing our garden inventories...a good second look at some of the "monsters" lurking there certainly seemed to be in order! However, he did reassure some of us that a good knowledge of the growth habits of some of these aggressors might allow a few to be kept corraled and watched in certain specific areas of our gardens. It is quite amazing how many invasive plants are sold to the public and also naively shared by unsuspecting gardeners over the fence!

    Please check our "LINKS" section for some more information on Native Plant Species and Invasive Plants.

    << This is Giant Hogweed!....It is very invasive and any contact with the skin should be avoided. Lasting damage can occur, resulting in extreme sensitivity to sunlight with resultant burning. Do not try to remove it without some protective clothing. This plant is spreading rapidly throughout the lower BC mainland.

    Here's what it can do! -->

    Meg Fellows-Invasive Plants February 2007:

    Many thanks to Meg Fellows who gave a presentation at our February Meeting on Local Invasive Plants, leading a discussion on what we should do as a gardening club. This was followed by some interesting, useful and lively discussion.

    One main point was that we should all develop a clear awareness of the destructive potential of our local invasive species and act responsibly within the context of any particular situation. If we do have any of them in our gardens and wish them to stay then appropriate controls should be made. We all wish to avoid the unwanted spread to our neighbours and the environment as a whole.

    Some species are so aggressive that they might well oust other desirable species if allowed uncontrolled freedom. We should watch that we do not give other unsuspecting gardeners any of these plants as part of our generous sharing. Perhaps also we should encourage plant venders to be aware of what some of these commonly sold plants can do.

    Native Plants in Home Gardens-February 2007: At our March metting on March 19th. in the Squamish library we were treated to an interesting talk by Barry Belec on Native Plants in home gardens.

    Many species were discussed and it soon became apparent that there is much to learn about many of the plants which we take for granted.

    He did not preach about the exclusive use of natives but rather highlighted their beauty when placed in the right setting alongside our favourite interlopers. His knowledge and wit carried us all smoothly through the evening which ended with a multi-door prize raffle and the sale of a selection of the plants which he had brought with him.

    The April 16th meeting included our plant exchange followed by Gwen Odermatt discussing Butterfly Gardens. Location....Railway Heritage Museum.

    For over the last decade Gwen has operated 'Petals and Butterflies', a farm nursery that specializes in growing plants that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The large pond in her garden gives her the opportunity to grow aquatic plants and enjoy the expanse of wildlife the pond brings. She gave a most interesting talk which included spectacular pictures of Butterflies along with informative biological anecdotes

    On Monday, May 7th we were treated to this year's keynote speaker, Steve Kovacs of Waterscene Design in Delta. His topic was Creating a Paradise with Water Features. Since it was founded nine years ago, Waterscene has specialized in teaching landscapers and homeowners around Western Canada how to build a breathtaking 11' by 16' water feature in just 8 hours! The aim is to provide natural, beautiful, low maintenance water features. Waterscene has appeared on national television shows such as The Canadian Gardener and Room to Grow, and Steve has been a speaker at Garden Shows, Home Shows, garden clubs and libraries across the country. His company had a display garden at the BC Home and Garden Show in February and will also have one at the Vancouver Sun Garden Show at Van Dusen in June.

    He provided several hand outs, and presented a slide show.

    He said that people want to come home and hear the sound of clear water, particularly if this is a low-maintenance situation. Water features:

  • aesthetically enhance the landscape;
  • provide tranquillity and a relaxation zone;
  • are an educational tool for children, and
  • bring nature to your property.

    In his experience there are: Fish people (aquarists) Plant people (gardeners) Decorative people, and Complete water gardeners (all of the above).

    There are various water features available, ranging from a container water garden, to a pre-formed shallow pond, to a do-it-yourself liner pond, which is the most popular. The liner is hidden by rocks. A professionally installed liner pond is the most expensive choice. A pond-less waterfall is also an option.

    He mentioned that mosquito larvae do not live in moving water.

    There are five components to a water feature:

  • Circulation (pump and tubing
  • Filtration (mechanical and biological)
  • Rocks and gravel
  • Fish
  • Plants.

    Biological filters make use of beneficial bacteria to convert and remove nitrogen components, mainly ammonia and nitrate. Mechanical filters physically remove debris and waste matter.

    The best depth for a pond is 2 feet. Plants aid in algae control through shade and competition. It's best to cover 30-40% of the pond's surface with plants.

    The best predator control (herons, racoons) is a mechanical scarecrow with a motion sensor that shoots water. It's important when building ponds to create small caves and hiding places for fish.

    Steve invited all the Garden Club members to visit his operation in Ladner.

    Visit his web site by clicking here

    2007 Fall Fair (pictures from Beth Fitzpatrick

    Flowers from Ellen's Garden

    Some of our intreped members

    Speakers for this Fall

    September 17

    Gerry Gibbens, spoke on the topic of Pruning. Mr. Gibbens is on the BC Council of Garden Clubs Speakers List and was very obliging. He works for the Vancouver Parks Board and at the Van Dusen Gardens. He served his apprenticeship at Windsor Great Park in England. He has also been President of the Vancouver Rhododendron Society.

    His presentation was most informative and drew many questions from the audience. Many of us will now do our "surgery" with renewed confidence.

    October 15

    Our speaker was Chris Woods, the new director (as of September 2006) of the VanDusen Botanical Garden. His topic was "A Passion for Plants". It only took two or three frames of his slide show, combined with his wit and eloquent delivery, to surely convince us all of this passion. There were equisite pictures of gardens and close-ups of flowers which certainly had the "wow" factor to which he refered.

    Mr. Woods is originally from England and began his apprenticeship in horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He worked at three other gardens in the UK before moving to the US in 1981. There he has worked as Director and Chief Garden Designer of Chanticleer, Vice President for Horticulture and External Operations for the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, and Executive Director of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy in Ojai, California. He has been a consultant for a number of other gardens and horticultural projects. He has written numerous articles as well as The Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Gardener's Guide (1992). In 2003 he was awarded the Professional Citation for significant achievements in public horticulture by the American Public Garden Association.

    Our latest meeting was November 19 at the Squamish Public Library. We were treated to an amazing talk on Bio-Dynamics by Ferdinand U. Vondruska from Paradise Valley.

    He started his Bio-Dynamic life at the Zurich Waldorf School in Grade 4 when he was taught seeding wheat all the way to the making of bread. During the ten years at the Waldorf School, he attended gardening and farming classes every Wednesday afternoon for 4 hours. His study at Emerson College, Forest Row England under Prof. Dr. Herbert Koepf, a world renowned Bio-Dynamic expert, is where he got his Diploma.

    For 17 years, Ferdinand was also a Waldorf teacher before he settled with his wife Marcela in Paradise Valley, BC surrounded by the beauty of forests, mountains and the serenity of the wild Cheakamus River. Ferdinand has established himself here since 1985 and has actively been involved with studies and practices of BioDynamic Preparation Making and composting for gardens, fields and forests. To date he still teaches and practices Bio-Dynamic preparation making and composting to heal the soils that surround us. He also teaches BD courses in Mexico, the US, Finland, Canada and many other countries. Through his traveling experiences around the globe and the many countries he has visited and lived in, he has devised a method of Bio-Dynamics that can quickly restore polluted and exhausted soils in almost any geographical area.

    For background details and balanced discussion of Bio-Dynamics Click Here

    The date of the wreath decorating party is confirmed and it is December 3 at the Brackendale Art Gallery.

    On December 3rd. We had our annual Christmas Wreath Decorating Party at the B.A.G.

    Here are a few pictures...thanks to Carla, all the helpers, food contributors and, of course, our hosts (Tor and Dorte Froslev)....The Punch was most warming and welcoming!

    OUR HISTORY : A Look Back Over Time…….

    Part 1: The beginning years…..

    It’s a snowy Saturday in February, the groundhog saw his shadow today and everyone knows that means we have 6 more weeks of winter. All I can do now while waiting for Spring is nurture my indoor plants, let the snow disappear, and tend to some “unfinished” business.

    A few months ago I promised our President Carol, that I would try to write something for our newsletter on the evolution and history of the Squamish Gardeners. Being sort of a pack-rat, I had kept old minutes and other bits of information about the club in a very neat notebook thinking that some day the information therein would be useful! So here I am at my computer, a nice hot cup of tea beside me, thumbing through old minutes that tell the story of how the Squamish Gardeners came into being, the paths taken by the group and who the players (gardeners) were. Please know that I’m not making up any of the following information….it’s all to be found in the paper trail of our minutes and newsletters, although as a casual writer, I will be making frequent editorial comments!

    The first “formal” meeting of what was initially called the Squamish Garden Club was held on June 27th, 1994, 7:00 PM at the home of Fran Martin, Dryden Road, Brackendale. (That’s 14 years ago.) This was an organizing meeting (gathering of addresses, initiating a phone chain, discussing meeting places, possible club projects, and of course, who would bring the refreshments for the next meeting). Lots of gardening interests were raised and ideas flowed readily. (How do I control slugs? Can we share seeds and garden magazines? ). The first membership list for the club includes some familiar names: Marcie Phillips, Melissa Geddes, Mary Wild, Jill Gould among others.
    First Executive:
  • President Bev Carson
  • Vice President Cheryl VanDer Eerden
  • Secretary #1 Thelma Whitfield
  • Secretary #2 Tricia Scott
  • Treasurer #1 Marcie Phillips
  • Treasurer #2 Jill Gould
  • At the July meeting the club’s official name was established: The Squamish Gardeners and the first executive elected (see box). Committees were formed (social, fundraising, programs/events, membership) and the membership fee was set at $10.00. Members were advised to bring 12 self-addressed stamped envelopes to the next meeting if they wished to receive the minutes by mail. ( Now aren’t we fortunate to have e-mail?) More gardening/fund raising ideas were shared such as holding a plant sale, and donating funds to the library for the purchase of gardening books. I’m missing minutes for the next few months (I probably forgot to bring my stamped envelopes) but I recall that meetings continued to be held at member’s homes because of the difficulty in finding a “free” meeting place and the group’s limited budget. The first financial report (October 1994) showed 20 paid-up members and a bank balance of $187.45. The only expenditure in 1994 was $20.00 for membership in the B.C. Council of Garden Clubs.

    In 1995 the group met for several months at the Howe Sound Secondary School, then at member’s homes in the summer months with a garden tour included!. Wasn’t that nice incentive to attend. Later in the year meetings were held at Xanthine’s Coffee House, which later became The Pause Café. As a fund raiser the group held a “Squamish Gardener’s Dinner” at a cost of $10 at the home of Kathleen Brennan. (a delicious menu!) and surplus funds were given to the club.

    Although the group provided a wonderful opportunity for socializing most members wanted more information on gardening in Squamish and more structure at the meetings. We wanted to “tap into local expertise”. The first invited guest speaker was Greg from Garibaldi Nurseryland who talked about disease and pest control in the garden. A moss basket day was held in the spring . (That was fun: much like making a Christmas Wreath but using spring flowers.) Farmers from Brackendale approached the group to assist in resurrecting the Squamish Fall Fair and members were enthusiastic in their support.

    The idea of a meeting raffle was proposed by Tricia Scott. Cost of the raffle ticket was a loonie and the raffle prize must not exceed $15. The lucky winner would bring the prize for the next month’s raffle and be re-imbursed from the treasury.

    By June of 1995 the membership stood at 25 including three gentleman gardeners: Don Cochrane, Don McAllister and Lawrence Minchin. The dues were now $12 per year and an extra $5 if you wanted the club secretary to mail you the minutes. Elections were held at the August meeting: President Tricia Scott, Vice-President Don Cochrane, Treasurer Jill Gould Past President Bev Carson. Program planning for the meetings was taken on by 4 volunteers, each being responsible for the educational programs for a 3 month period.

    The bank balance at the end of 1995 was healthy and the Treasurer reminded the group that we needed to think about ways to spend the money. Some of the ideas proposed were making wreaths, setting up a club greenhouse, buying and painting terra-cotta pots, and so forth. The first Christmas dessert pot luck was held at Kathleen Brennan’s home where we made Christmas centerpieces. Member Jennifer Porter bought the decorating supplies for the club. (Jennifer still supplies our Christmas wreaths!)

    Now I know that reading accounts from the past can be tedious and I don’t want to loose your interest. Tune in for more next month! By looking back, we can see where we’ve come from and also honor our long-time members who led us down the garden path to where we are now.

    Part 2 Growing Pains………….

    The next several years saw many changes in the fledgling club and a welcomed increase in membership. But finding a place to hold meetings was a big problem and the executive struggled with this for a long time. As the number of members grew to 25 plus, member’s homes were too small and various church halls, the senior centre, and other venues were either too costly or just not available. But luck was with us! The new Squamish Library had recently opened and Maureen Painter (Head Librarian) approached Jill Gould (Garden Club President) about the possibility of the garden club taking care of the library gardens in exchange for a rent-free meeting place. (Minutes state: this is a heck of a deal!) Once concerns about the district’s union members response to this proposal were laid to rest, the Garden Club enthusiastically accepted the offer and held the first meeting at the Library on July 20th, 1998. Garden Club members, working along with volunteers from the Friends of the Library, held work parties for weeding, mulching and sometimes planting. I remember that one year we planted red and white geraniums all along the front walkway. It was a stunning display.

    Our first newsletter was born! Marcie Philips is credited with being the first editor as she struggled to learn Microsoft Word. Volume 1 (1997) began with less than 1/2 sheet of news and quickly expanded into a two column 3 page newsletter, full of information about nearby gardening events, and feature articles. In 1997 the dues were raised to $15 so that the Club could afford to make a $50 donation to the BC Council of Garden Club’s Scholarship Fund. The first perennial exchange was held in October in the parking lot behind the Library.

    The very first notable out of town speaker was none other than David Tarrant who was booked for April 30th 1998. This was intended to be a fund raiser for the Club and the evening was a resounding success. All the tickets ($5 each for members...what a bargain!) were sold without any advertizing. The Club also held a raffle at the event which netted almost $125. Doug Boyd from the Garden Centre donated the container, plants, and potting soil for David’s beautiful planter, which was one of the coveted raffle prizes. Marcie writes in the Newsletter: “You will notice that I refer to him as David because he has a way of making you feel like he is a friend and not a noted celebrity. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have an Annual David Tarrant Night? ” It’s a joy to read Marcie’s newsletters. She shares how her own garden is progressing, conveys her love of plants (especially roses), and invites readers to stop by anytime for a cup of tea and a walk down her garden paths.

    The Garden Club soon realized that the Squamish community would support events featuring noted speakers and Steve Whysall came to Squamish in July of 1998. His slide show and talk was another success and helped to put the Club on a secure financial footing. The Squamish Gardeners participated at Rose Park Day in June 1998 and at the Fall Fair showing their willingness to be involved in community service. We made a large purchase of a variety of daffodil bulbs, sold them to members and to the public at the Fall Fair. Interesting meeting programs were given by local residents—-Sandra Davis (Wild Onion: identifying herbs) and Karen Unger (making a living wreath with spring plants).

    But a change was about to happen. Tricia Scott, one of the enthusiastic leaders in the Club, moved to New Jersey. Jill Gould took over as President, Marcie Philips became Secretary / Treasurer and the new position of Program Director was given to Pamela Dithurbide. Beth Coles (later Johnston) volunteered to be newsletter editor. Our newsletters took on a different look thanks to Beth’s desktop publishing program and the addition of clip art. Interesting captions appeared such as Posies from the Prez, Seeds of Wisdom, All the Dirt and Where the Bees Buzz. Garden Gourmet treated us to some interesting recipes such as Garlic and Chive Mashed Potatoes and for those with a sweet tooth….Mocha Mint Nanaimo Bars. Yummy!

    1999 was another banner year for the Club. Brian Minter agreed to speak in February and talked about plant combinations, introducing us to blue and burgundy ornamental grasses which keep their foliage color all year round. A new community project was proposed: create a low maintenance courtyard garden for the Howe Sound Secondary School. The Club agreed to spend $400 for plants. At the time that seemed to be a HUGE expense just for plants. But have you visited there recently? If you do, overlook the disgusting litter and you will see that most of the original backbone plants are still thriving.

    Kelly Pfleiderer hosted the Spring plant swap at her acreage in Paradise Valley and everyone that attended was given a bag of chicken manure. Now only a gardener could get excited about that! Marcie Phillips learned all those Latin plant names and became Squamish’s First Master Gardener. Members generously shared their gardening expertise with us: Audrey Peterson talked about shade plants, Christine Bennett showed us how to make garden stepping stones, and Ellen Grant toured us through her huge garden on a beautiful August evening. New member Alison Sturton entertained us with her eloquent articles in our newsletters under the title Rambling Rose. She describes touring Ellen’s garden as “a journey of discovery”. Alison and Carolyn Grass designed our logo and the portable Squamish Gardener’s sign. But the highlight of the year was without doubt, the first annual Squamish Garden tour held on July 10th. 12 Gardens were on that tour and the rest is history.

    This is the end of my story. If you’ve stuck with me this far and your name has not been mentioned, I apologize. Many faithful members contributed greatly to the early success of the club: Kathleen Brennan, Debbie Donahue, Nancy Southam, Moira Begin-Pound to name just a few. Without a doubt, the success our Club enjoys today is based on the seeds sown by the early Squamish Gardener’s pioneers. Bravo!

    Submitted by Beth Fitzpatrick

    Details from Ingrid Hoff's Rhodi Presentation.

    Rhododendrons have an amazing ability to bloom prolifically. There are not a lot of common names for them, and those that exist are easy to confuse. Ingrid mainly used scientific names throughout her discourse.

    All azaleas are rhododendrons, but not all rhododendrons are azaleas. The distinguishing feature is the number of stamens: azaleas have five, and rhododendrons have ten. There are several sub-genera of rhododendrons:

  • Rhododendron
  • Hymenanthes
  • Azaleastrum
  • Choniastrum

    The first two comprise around 90% of what we consider rhododendrons. Rhododendrons can be divided into lepidotes (“scurfy scales” on the underside of the leaf) and elepidotes, which have a smooth underside to the leaf.

    Success with Rhododendrons is all about location and soil. For the most part they prefer dappled shade; they like a low pH; they prefer a moist well-drained soil. If the area is limed they cannot take up nutrients. They have shallow, surface roots, and are easy to transplant. Mulching, with pine needles is good; wood chips tend to break down and use up nitrogen.

    Rhododendrons respond well to pruning, which should be done after they bloom. There are three types of pruning:

  • Maintenance pruning, to remove diseased or broken branches. Cut well below the affected area – take out the whole branch. Disinfect pruners after use.
  • Shaping: cuts can be made at the top of the leaf whorls.
  • Rejuvenation: aggressive pruning can be done at any time. Stagger the cuts to have a natural look. Cut down to a latent bud.

    Dead-heading is not absolutely necessary. Spent flowers can be snapped off, or secateurs can be used.

    Seeds are difficult to propagate, as the seeds are small and the pod has to cure. An easier way is to take cuttings, best done in July. Use rooting compound, remove lower leaves of the spray, and cut each side of the stem.


  • The Lacebug is a sucking insect found on the underside of leaves. Infestations can kill the plant. They cause speckling – black and brown spots on the underside of leaves. This often happens in sunnier spots. In the Spring, spray the plant with a hose to dislodge the nymphs. The alternative is to do nothing and allow natural predators, such as the green lacewing (as good as or better than ladybugs) to manage them. Spraying with insecticidal soap is non-selective.
  • Infestation by root weevil is characterised by notches in the leaf. The larval stage feeds on the roots. They can cause death by drought. As the insects are nocturnal, shake the plant at night, and the weevils will fall onto newspapers placed on the ground. Nematodes, which are very effective, can also be used – be careful to follow the directions.


  • Root rot or stem die-back is not seen often. The causal organism lives in the soil, and can cause cankering. It is not fatal, but is very hard to get rid of. It is not specific to rhododendrons. The diseased area should be pruned out.
  • Azalea leaf gall is a fungal disease, which does not kill the plant. Infected areas should be removed, and the fallen leaves should be cleared away. The galls are known as Pinkster’s apples, and are edible!
  • Sudden oak death is caused by Phytophthora ramorum. This is causing problems in Oregon and California, and nurseries may be quarantined because of it. It is characterised by leaf tip damage.

    Environmental stresses:

  • Freezing and drought – rhododendrons droop leaves, which then curl up.
  • Sunburn causes brown spots or uneven all-over yellowing. The plant needs to be moved.
  • Nutrient deficiency – lack of nitrogen. Chlorosis, where the veins are green but the rest of the leaf is yellow, is caused by iron deficiency. Add fertiliser to the soil.

    The size of rhododendrons can vary greatly. They are defined by height at 10 years. It is important to check labels when buying. Hostas and geraniums look good under rhododendrons.

    The leaves can be very attractive. Rh. campanulatum has blue leaves in the Spring – it is an alpine Himalayan evergreen plant. Leaves can have different texture, shape and colour. Rh. rosevallum has a red underside to its leaves. An idumentum is a covering on the underside of the leaf in many rhododendrons. It is to protect the leaf (e.g., in cold areas of Asia) and stays on the leaf. A tomentum is a fuzzy covering on the top of leaves, which protects new growth from sunburn, cold and insects.

    Popular cultivars:

  • Anna Rose Whitney: hardy, large rose flowers with freckles, sun and cold tolerant. Eight ft.
  • President Roosevelt: variegated leaf, can tend towards legginess with weak stems, benefits from pruning.
  • Sappho: Flowers have purple splotches on white – mauve coloured buds. 6 ft. Sun tolerant, benefits from shaping.
  • Vulcan: green leaves, red flowers. 5 ft. Heat and sun tolerant. One of the great plant picks.
  • Deciduous azaleas: Northern Light series. Different colours, bloom in late May. 6-8 ft.
  • Unique: buds are pink, flowers fade to apricot and then white. 4 ft in 10 years. Early to middle blooming.
  • Blue Diamond: late April. Small leaves and flowers.
  • Species (available from Rhododendron Societies). Rh. luteum – has a good fragrance. Rh. barbatum – Himalayan, 6 ft., bearded flowers. Rh. campanulatum – pink. RH. decorum is fragrant, from China and Burma. RH. assinoborinum is orange-yellow. The underside of its leaves are fragrant.

    Check out the websites: www.rhododendron.org the American Rhododendron Society, which has a Vancouver Chapter.
    www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org UBC has the largest collection in Canada www.Vancouver.ca/parks for the VanDusen Gardens and the Ted and Mary Grieg Garden in Stanley Park www.brags.ca Burnaby Rhododendron and Garden Society.

    The best time for viewing is March to June, with April and May as peak.

    The New Victory Garden – Food For The Future

    Global warming, rising grain prices, genetic engineering, irradiation of plant foods, loss of plant species – it is all too easy to feel helpless in the face of these modern-day dilemmas. On the other hand, there is mounting awareness of positive things that we can do to ensure that we will continue to have safe food in plentiful supply. Urban gardening (growing food plants in your home garden) is regaining popularity. Eating food produced closer to home ( the ‘Hundred Mile Rule’) limits pollution from fossil fuels. Organic gardening avoids contamination of fruits and vegetables with pesticides. Seed banks are storing heirloom varieties of seeds to maintain plant diversity, and the home gardener is encouraged to save seeds for planting next year.

    These are not new ideas to Carolyn Herriot, who will be the Squamish Gardeners’ keynote speaker for 2008. Well before they became popular, Carolyn was putting them into practice. In 1999 she moved her family to a 2.5-acre property on the outskirts of Victoria and began gardening organically. By the end of only five years they were growing all the fruits and vegetables they needed to sustain themselves year-round, and saving seeds for future crops.

    Carolyn now shares these concepts with others through her regular articles in GardenWise and CommonGround magazines, her book, A Year On the Garden Path, a 52-Week Organic Gardening Guide, and presentations to garden clubs. She is currently President of the Victoria Horticultural Society. Her business, called ‘Seeds of Victoria’ at The Garden Path, sells certified organic seeds (www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath). She blogs ‘The New Victory Garden’ weekly on-line at www.gardenwise.ca and teaches the ‘Twelve Steps to Sustainable Homegrown Food Production’.

    Carolyn Herriot will speak at the Howe Sound Inn on Monday, May 12 at 7 pm. Tickets ($12 for Squamish Gardeners members and $15 for non-members) are available at Anna’s Attic, Billie’s Bouquet, The Garden Centre and Garibaldi Nurseries.

    At our February meeting we were all pleased to have Mary Ballon, founder of West Coast Seeds, give us a very interesting talk with accompanying slides.This year is W.C.S.'s 25th. anniversary. It is their commitment to bring their customers the "highest quality and ethically sourced agricultural seed available".

    She concentrated on vegetables but also included some beautiful pictures of flowers. There was much discussion and questions answered.

    We all found her very personable and enjoyed her sense of humour.Now is the time to start thinking about seed propagation, especially after our few spring-like days this month.

    Several catalogues were handed out, so get ordering! Included in the catalogue are new tools, new products and new seeds.

    Our October Meeting:

    The October meeting was held at the Brackendale Art Gallery on Monday, October 20 with the plant exchange at 6:30 and the meeting at 7:00. Liza Bennett spoke about irises, she offered some of her irises for sale.

    Liza has lived in Squamish since 1997. She has a Diploma in Forestry from BCIT and worked in silviculture for ten years. In 2000 she completed the Capilano College program in Applied Landscape Horticulture, with a focus on nursery work. She subsequently worked as a plant grower in a Lower Mainland native plant nursery and then in a propagation nursery. She began a small, chemical-free, landscape company in Squamish with the idea of developing a niche nursery dealing in irises. Liza has been a collector of irises for a number of years. She inherited a large collection of bearded iris varieties from her grandmother. She has propagated irises from seed and from vegetative divisions. She now combines her landscape work and the sale of plants and pottery (produced in her home studio, which was featured on the recent Art Walk). She has had a booth in the Farmers Market over the summer, selling plants, particularly irises and hostas, as well as her pottery. Photos of some of the irises can be seen in the gallery section of her website, www.plantsandpots.ca . In Liza's words, her love of irises 'has become both a challenge and obsession, in collection, identification and now in propagation - one that is likely to continue until I can garden no more,'

    Christmas Wreath Decoration Evening at the B.A.G. 2008
    Photo by Beth Fitzpatrick

    March '09 Speaker:

    Heike Stippler owns and operates Heike Designs in Whistler. She talked about Planning for landscape renos, design, and installations. Her website is http://www.heikedesigns.com
    Her wealth of experience and knowledge was most inspiring.

    Wednesday, May 20th 2009, 7pm at the Eagle Eye Theatre:

  • Speaker: Adam Gibbs, Gardens West Photographer.
  • Topic: Photography in the Garden.

    Adam's Website: http://www.adamgibbs.ca

    View some pictures of our Annual Christmas Wreath Decorating gathering (Dec. 2009) at the Brackendale Art Gallery.

    Many thanks to Thor and Dorte for hosting this event.


    At our April 2009 Club Meeting we were treated to a very useful and informative demonstration of Hanging Basket Construction by Jeff Larcombe.

    The time was spent actually making a large Hanging basket with a wide variety of plants. Below are three links to pages of recipes showing which plants to use under different situations. You might like to print them out for future reference:

    Two Municipal Recipes

    Arrangment Ideas

    Sun/ Shade Recipes

    A Presentation to Dale Embree for all his Extra Work for Our Club this last year
    (Photos by Lise Hamilton)

    Iris presentation document

    Here is a PDF related to the Garlic Growing Presentation from a previous meeting at the Railway Park.

    And Here is another PDF from Marg containing a good Garlic Recipe.

    Aaron Purdie, President of Howe Sound Performing Arts Association with Carla accepting the donation cheque for $100 for the music in the gardens on the Garden Tour.

    Garden Corner

    Have a read of Diddi Price's article on the Howe Sound Secondary C.A.N Group Project

    View a short slide show of Billie's Flower House presentation (photos by Anna Kirman): Click here (and then on each slide)

    Marilyn Holt
    "Fertilizers...When and where"

    (Photo: courtesy Anna Kirman)

    Great presentation on berries (Tom Baumann) Oct.18th.2013

    Here is a show he has created:

    Click Here

    Notes from Brad Jabert's Presentation on Roses

    Christmas Wreath Decoration & Social 2013
    Best Holiday Wishes to all

    Carol Robson Master Gardener Certification

    Julia Common, Master Beekeeper, Hives for Humanity
    Presentation February 17th.

    This presentation was held at The Sandman Hotel. Julia has been keeping bees since university days. What started as a summer job many years ago became a lifelong passion which only in the past two years has been fully realized. Hives for Humanity is a society which she founded in response to the reception her Delta Bees received when she brought them into the Downtown East Side of Vancouver in the spring of 2012. Now with over 70 hives and 40 sites Julia, as chief beekeeper for Hives For Humanity, had a story to share.

    Here is some information on our May 19th. Meeting Speaker

    Scott Henderson is a mushroom aficionado and member of the Vancouver Mycological Society.

    Through his business, "The Mushroom Man", Scott sells cultures, spawn of edible and Medicinal Mushrooms to both Commercial and Hobby Mushroom growers across Canada.

    The Mushroom Man also conducts workshops to help people to learn to grow their own mushrooms at home.

    He has worked with groups and businesses to integrate mushrooms as a component of Permaculture and edible Landscaping.

    Jo-Ann Canning, member of the Vancouver Chapter Master Gardeners was the speaker at the November 17th, 2014 Squamish Gardeners meeting.

    The meeting was held at the Sandman Hotel at 6:45 pm.

    Jo-Ann was raised on Vancouver’s West side and for 40 years has lived and gardened on Mid and Northern Vancouver Island, BC’s Sunshine Coast, Nova Scotia, the UK, and the American Southwest. Since 1996 she has been teaching and speaking on organic and sustainable gardening. Jo-Ann’s will be speaking about “Woodland Garden Design for the Northwest”. She plans to have her book, “The New Urban Kitchen Gardener” published in 2015. Jo-Ann is a very entertaining speaker, someone you will not want to miss.

    Our recent,very informative, witty, presentation....February 16, 2015 "Fred Collay - Living Walls".

    By Natures Design....Website

    March 16, 2015 Bill & Rosemary Bates Terry

    Beauty By Design

    Inspired Gardening in the Pacific North West

    They had their book for sale at the meeting.

    At the Sandman Hotel

    Here is a picture of those of us who attended this years BCCGC AGM on March 14.

    (F.R.)Nairn Stewart, Diddi Price, Mary Livingston. Kathleen Mercer
    (B.R.)Karen Brumpton, Philip Mitchell

    Pictures from Guatemala by Carol Anderson

    Reinier Van de Poll gave an interesting and informative talk to a large group on Garden Design on Monday March 17th,

    Squamish Contingent at the BCCGC AGM