President’s Message – June, 2011

It’s June 3rd as I write this and it seems that spring-like weather has finally arrived. Most of my roses have been growing on through the dim cloud-covered skies and persistent rainfall and will likely rush in to bloom as soon as the sun has warmed their buds for a few days; a few are unfolding now and this may make for a concentrated period of bloom this year. At any rate, it is wonderful to see spring finally arriving, albeit late.

In checking the provincial government’s Snow Survey and Water Supply Bulletin we see that the risk of flooding has greatly increased with the additional precipitation this spring (snow at higher levels) and cooler temperatures so flooding is something that we will have to watchful for this summer as the snowpack starts to melt and find its way to the Pacific. A lot depends on the weather over the next few weeks – hopefully there will not be significant precipitation to add to the problem and that the existing snowpack will not melt all at once, adding to the likelihood of flooding in some regions. At least we should have plenty of water on hand this season in local reservoirs, perhaps as an antidote to a (previously) projected hot and dry summer season.

We have had few open gardens this spring as the weather has held flowers in a long-lasting and persistent bud stage but the current warmer weather should bring a flood of these welcome garden visits. I was hoping, this year, to show off some of my recently planted tulips but the plants sat in the foliage stage for up to two months before briefly bursting into bloom for a shortened period, all under cold, dull, rainy skies; well, next year will have to suffice for a spring open garden. I’m waiting now for my roses to get going until I nail down a date for my first open garden of the year. I hope to see more of them from other members as it is the ideal way to see plants growing in a garden that are hard to imagine when they are seen in a 4 inch pot at the local nursery. Seeing them growing, often in maturity, in a garden setting gives one an excellent idea of how they would work in our own gardens and if they are right for our own designs.

This year’s plant sale was a success with almost as much income as last year and a fine crop of perennials on hand for would-be gardeners in the community to try their hand at. I acquired a nice hellebore (either sternii or sternii crossed with lividus). It is much like my other sternii’s but with much better colour, and mottling, in the foliage. A kind member also donated to me a fine clump of Arum italicum that I had admired in her garden and I have found a spot for it where it can be seen easily from the kitchen window next winter (its foliage) and where, hopefully, I will also be able to see the stalks of bright red berries that rise, phoenix-like, in August.

Aside from one frontal area where a large drift of lamb’s-ears seems to have departed for a better world (who can kill lamb’s ears?), I have very little space left for more plants so I must be choosey about what other plants I introduce into the garden – probably best to hold out for rare treasures and, of course, small spring bulbs which, seemingly, cannot be overplanted. They have all been successful for me with the exception of Narcissus – a gardening friend tells me that this is likely due to the narcissus fly and I am on the lookout for a method of disrupting this creatures fruitful lifestyle in my garden that does not involve spraying or other poisons. Any and all suggestions would be appreciated.

Work has proceeded on the park bench to be installed by the city in honour of our 20th anniversary and the bench should be installed soon. It will be situated along the Donald pathway, close to Atkins Avenue, in the city core in an area that enjoys good foot-traffic and is surrounded by senior’s residences and many new, and projected, condos and townhouses and where (it is rumoured) a bowling green may be installed in the future. I think it will be a fine memorial to the club and its endeavours.

Be sure to attend the upcoming meeting on June 21st when our speaker will be Pieter de Bruin from Devon Greenhouses; Peter will give us an insight into how his company keeps us provided with plants for our gardens. Visitors are always welcome at our meetings and we are anxious to welcome new members to our club and to be of assistance to them in any way that we can.

After the June meeting we have no club meetings until our Sept. meeting (Sept 20th, always the 3rd Tuesday of the month). Our speaker in Sept. will be the much-respected Dr. Jan Walls who was involved in the creation of the Dr. Sun Yat Sen garden in Vancouver’s Chinatown. This is the only existing authentic Chinese garden outside of China and is of great importance to Vancouver’s horticultural heritage and we are excited and honoured to have Dr. Walls as a speaker for our club. Dr. Walls’ subject will be Chinese gardens, a topic that has been an interest of mine for some time once I learned of its importance in the evolution of European gardens in the 18th and 19th centuries. It is also a gardening tradition that is not well documented in European literature so I’m sure that Dr. Walls’ presentation will be informative as well as enjoyable – be there.

Jim Thorleifson

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About pocogardenclub

PoCo Garden Club Established July 5, 1990 by Len Cuddeford P.O. Box 631, PoCo Depot, Port Coquitlam, B.C. V3E 6H9 pocogardenclub@gmail.com
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