Garden edibles the theme of flower show and plant sale

Esther Craig takes great delight in the bumper crop of herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers she
Esther Craig takes great delight in the bumper crop of herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers she's grows on her property in Chemainus.
— image credit: Don Bodger

Esther Craig knows all about the value of home-grown food from considerable personal experience.

"I grew up on a big farm in Alberta,'' said the convenor of the Cowichan Valley Garden Club's annual flower show that takes place Saturday at the Duncan United Church Hall, along with a plant sale.

"We grew our own food there, too. Everywhere I've lived where I was able to have a vegetable garden, I had that.

"Both my husband and I, we love being outside in the garden every day, growing stuff and watching the animals.''

Garden Edibles just happens to be the theme of the Saturday flower show and plant sale that runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The theme was chosen in response to a growing awareness about the value of home-grown food and to attract a larger and younger group.

Some expert advice on planning and maintenance of an edible landscape will be given during a special presentation by Jeff de Jong, a horticulturalist, designer and host of Gardening 101 on C-FAX 1070 radio. General admission Saturday is $3 per person or $6 each with a choice of presentation times at 10:30 a.m., 11:45 or 1 p.m.

Advance tickets for the presentation can be purchased at Leaf & Petal or Volume One Bookstore in downtown Duncan until Friday.

De Jong will provide information on how to include edibles in the landscape and make it an abundant source of food.

Craig and her husband Glenn are already practicing what de Jong will preach and stresses others can do it, too.

"We grow as much of our own food as we can,'' she said. "We start off with asparagus in the spring, then we have the strawberry patch, the raspberries and the blueberries.''

The Craigs also have three pear, three cherry and four plum trees that produce abundant fruit, not to mention all the other things they grow in a large vegetable garden.

"My husband is an avid hunter and fisherman,'' Craig said. "I do all the veggies and the fruit. It's a way of life.''

Craig said teams of Garden Club members work on all aspects of the show, including the publicity, the flower show and the plant sale. There's also a three-course lunch available from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"We try to make it an all-around event,'' said Craig.

The show is becoming increasingly more popular, she added, with more than 300 people attending last year.

The flower show is being judged by members of the Vancouver Island Horticulture Judging Group and the plant sale offers a wide assortment of quality plants.

The club's efforts are also raising funds for the Providence Farm Therapeutic Garden through the sale of raffle tickets. Proceeds will go toward purchasing new garden tools and equipment for the program.

"We always support a community non-profit organization,'' said Craig.


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