This is my 2nd year with the Master Gardeners, and my final season as a student. Over the last two years I have worked a lot of clinics, answered a lot of garden questions and made some wonderful new garden friends in the process. It brings me great joy to help solve someones garden problems. There is absolutely nothing finer than nailing age old question: What’s bugging my plant?
One of my favorite things about being a Master Gardener is getting to visit some really cool gardens. This year I had clinics at Dart’s Hill and at Burnaby Nature House. When I wasn’t working the tables, I was able to stroll through some terribly beautiful spaces and visit with the local wildlife. I had opportunity to peek my head into the back rooms of two of my favorite local garden shops, namely Amsterdam Greenhouses & Mandeville Garden Works when we ran clinic’s there on the weekends to help answer shoppers questions. My extra large A-Z in tow.
With fall’s arrival and all of that hard work done, what better way to cut loose than a Master Gardeners Garden tour?
The Vancouver chapter of the Master Gardeners took to bus last week, heading out under a beautiful fall sky. We made our way out to Pacific Northwest Propagators in Rosedale, where we found fields of unique and prized trees and shrubs. Including a large variety of dwarf and miniature conifers. After an hour of perusing through the rows of greenhouses, narrowing my must-have list was difficult. By the time we were ready to leave, oh let me tell you; my arms were loaded with treasures and I was in good company. This was a MG tour after all. I wasn’t the only one who got carried away!
What followed me home:
-Acer Palmatum ‘Butterfly’- Ginkgo biloba Mariken- Chamaecyparis obtusa Golden Pillar- Thuja occidentalis Brobeck’s Tower- Thuja Orientalis Morgan- Chamaecyparis obtusa Hage- Juniperus x media plumosa-
From there we hopped back on our bus and continued the drive out to Minter Gardens in Chilliwack. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch, followed by a personal tour from Brian Minter himself. He spoke about the difficulties for the industry: From keeping young generations interested in the garden and the challenges of reaching the tech age kids. To the loss of American tourists after 9-11. It was a difficult time for business’s just north of the 49th parallel. Creative solutions were used to reposition the garden to stay in the black, with the addition of weddings in the garden and the opening of the Country Garden Store.
Our group was led on an informative walk up and down the mountainside beds and through the tall iconic Cedars that call this place home. We examined creative and colourful plantings, while Brian shared personal stories behind some of the more unique specimens and the remarkable garden art that fills the landscape. The talk was full of charm and humor. As is the man.
Walking with Brian Minter was an experience unto itself. When our large group passed other visitor’s along the trails, Brian always stopped to chat and have a word with them. He’d offer a smile, and ask how there day was going. Answering any questions they may have had. You could clearly see how much he loves his work. And why shouldn’t he? This place is stunning!
What an inspiring place to spend the afternoon.