Lower Mainland Plant Sales

See the link below for a list of garden sales in the lower mainland for April and May. 




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Ron Long “Orchids in Ecuador” presentation

What a fantastic presentation by Ron Long on his 20 day “photography trip” to Ecuador, with an expert orchid guide leading him into the thick forests and mountainous terrain! First, we had the chance to “armchair travel” as he showed us small town life and local customs while adding in his own entertaining stories.  Then we experienced the magic of his photography… orchids of every size and color, in splendid detail.  (It was a relief to hear that one “perfect shot” might have taken 10 to 20 or more photos from every angle!)  Who would have dreamed that an orchid of only 3mm could be so intricate!

In doing a little online research, it is evident that Ron Long has a passion for his photography as well as nature.  Who is Ron Long? In his words: “For thirty-six years I have been employed as a full time photographer at Simon Fraser University. For fifteen of those years I photographed exclusively for the Biological Sciences Department so I have a considerable amount of biology in my background and an abiding interest in nature photography.”

Check out his “About Ron”, where he is a photography guide for Wild BC Tours. http://www.wildbc.com/instructor.htm

I also found some of his orchid photos on Flickr!

Ron has given many presentations at photography and garden clubs, UBC Botanical Gardens, VanDusen Gardens, Vancouver Orchid Society. It was such a treat to have him as a speaker at our PoCo Garden Club!



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Shade Plants

Thank you to Gwen Odermatt for a wonderful slide show (with fabulous photography, thanks to her husband!) on Treasures for the Shade and Pond.

Here is a Shade plant list from the presentation.

Petals and Butterflies Farm Nursery (no website that I could find… sorry!

Here’s a blog from another Garden Enthusiast with a few photos from Gwen’s place!



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Thanks to Dave Theobold, we enjoyed a very informative evening learning about composting!

You can find Dave’s recommended books (in the photo) at Amazon.ca among other places.







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Qualicum Garden Tour

Thank you to Neva for putting together a lovely PDF file of the Qualicum Garden Tour in June 2016!

16-06-23 article

Here’s a little taste to inspire you to read the whole article!

Neva writes: “We had a fabulous weekend away! The hosts provided us with a route & schedule that worked well, our group was very amiable, the weather was glorious, and the gardens were lovely.”

Looks like it was a fantastic trip!



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Mason Bee Houses!

Do you have a Mason Bee House?  Send in your photo and I’ll make a gallery here!


Here I am in my Gr.2 classroom with Pasquale G., our local “Bee Man”.  You may remember him from a Mason Bee presentation at the PoCo Garden Club a few years ago.  He is still an enthusiast and sells cocoons, start-up supplies, and handmade wood bee trays and bee houses!  You can contact him at:  604-941-6595.
(Don’t ask for the incredible houses shown here though, because these were a special surprise from Pasquale to my school! Lucky us!)


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Mason Bees!

Thanks to Linda Gilkeson for the following excerpt and photo!

Mason Bees- Linda G
A word (OK, a rant) about Blue Orchard Bees/Mason Bees: If you have a colony and haven’t cleaned the cocoons yet, do it right now as the first bees will be emerging any day (this year, vow to get the cleaning done in late fall). For bee nests, you may have read (darn that internet!) that all you need to do is drill holes in a block of wood and put it out. We now know that doing that is being the bee equivalent of a slum landlord. In the wild, mason bees are naturally solitary. Each female finds her own hollow reeds, woodpecker holes, etc. to make mud cells for her eggs. When she is lured into sharing a multi-unit apartment house, however, there is a high risk of parasites building up in crowded conditions if the nests are not cleaned between uses.

If we provide nests, they must to be designed so cocoons can be removed and cleaned properly. A colony can be so badly infested that many bees die in their cocoons; I have seen bees emerging with such high loads of mites they can’t fly. Sadly, they just end up crawling around on the ground. Bees with lighter loads of mites leave mites behind on flowers to infect other bees. If you are not prepared to use disposable nest materials and clean the cocoons properly, then it would be better for the wild bees in your neighborhood if you don’t lure them into bee houses. There are other very valuable ways to help out the bees in this world by providing bee forage and wild, weedy areas for food sources all season. And do take down any old nest boxes and get rid of them if they can’t be cleaned.
There are lots of options for cleanable or disposable bee nests from making your own paper straws (free) to purchasing cardboard tubes or split nest boxes that can be opened for cleaning. Lots more on bee life cycles, managing nest boxes and what to do now if you have un-cleanable nest blocks with bees in them (they can be salvaged), in an article I wrote last year for Transition Salt Spring.

Read Linda’s full article at:


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