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As our elusive ‘spring’ delays her appearance, its great to pick up a few ideas before our outdoor season begins.
The B.C. Home and Garden Show is taking place right now, until Sunday night. This year the theme is “Ribbons of Green” and showgoers will not want to miss the showstopper at Gate A; from the ground-up it’s an amazing tapestry of plants that is absolutely stunning.
There is always a wealth of information to be had, and discoveries to be made all through the show. Whether it’s home décor, an outdoor patio theme, privacy screens, landscaping ideas, hot tubs or patio warming units, there are so many cool ideas waiting for you, and all in the comfort of B.C. Place.
Outdoor kitchens are still extremely popular, as are unique covered spaces that can be used year-round, especially appreciated in winter. There is a growing trend of wanting, and even needing, to be outside 12 months of the year. This is the place to do your research and go home with some terrific ideas you can easily incorporate into your own garden.
The shock of paying $8 for a head of lettuce last fall, and the ever-increasing food costs we are seeing, has many folks thinking about the reality of adding a small greenhouse to their yard, but if space won’t allow, you will discover smaller, space efficient growing containers to suit your needs. It’s also helpful to speak with exhibitors who can provide valuable information about the true cost and practicality of setting up your own growing system, especially if you want to use it during the cooler seasons.
One of the huge trends in gardening is moving away from motorized garden equipment in favour of either electric or battery operated machines and accessories. The gardening industry is actually leading the way in terms of more environmentally friendly devices. You will find some notable examples of far greener garden implements.
As you stroll through the show, you’ll also discover several booths with new easier-to-use pruners and other gardening hand tools you may not have seen before. It’s always exciting to find that “new thing,” especially if its user-friendly.
There is certainly a growing interest in “art in the garden.” It’s kind of fun, and uplifting, to incorporate some creative pieces to spice-up your plantings and outdoor spaces. Many vendors, offering great ideas in a range of forms, are found throughout the show. We’re not talking Monet here, but rather unique and fun bits of folly which, I think, add a whole new element and great personality to your garden.
Privacy, too, is becoming even more important these days and it’s good to consider various ways to achieve that, especially in small spaces. Find attractive screening ideas, and perhaps some unique trellising that will provide, in a very neighbour-friendly way, your own all important private space.
I always enjoy the prominently featured, professionally designed “show gardens” on display. In the huge area of B.C. Place, a little bit of greenery, in the form of trees, flowering shrubs and, of course, early spring bulbs and flowers is certain to lift your spirits. The sound of water, from the smallest fountain to a waterfall, is always magic in a garden. These little oases also provide some great, easily implemented ideas for those smaller spaces around our patios that make being outdoors that much more appealing.
If you have specific gardening questions, many of the booths at the show are staffed by knowledgeable folks who will be happy to share their expertise with you. Browse the racks of seeds, new spring bulbs, early flowering shrubs and perennials and so much more available for purchase. Don’t forget to look for bundles of fresh cut pussy willows.
Each day of the show you can attend do-it-yourself demonstrations by well-known local gardening personalities. It’s always a great way to pick up a few timely tips and learn something new. The Vancouver Sun Gardeners’ School Stage has been a highlight for gardeners for so many years, and always offers a number of entertaining and informative speakers.
There are three main themes in this year’s presentations: the value plants bring to our lives, controlling rising food costs by learning to successfully grow more of our own food, and the reality of climate change and how we need to update both our thinking and our plant selections.
Emma Terrell, the Urban Botanist, Carissa Kasper, from Seed & Nourish, and Janis Matson, from Shoreline Landscape Design Ltd., will provide some amazing insights of how we can benefit from informed planning and design, to growing and eating healthy food.
Every Canadian is aware of rising food costs and more each year now, are turning to growing their own edibles. Aiden Silzer-Hooker, owner of Front Yard Farms, will address using organic methods as well as reducing food waste, increasing biodiversity and lowering carbon footprints.
There are many other great presenters as well. Alex Augustyniak of Lucky Sun Farms Ltd. will talk about new and old seed varieties and how to grow food 12 months a year in our climate; Gary Lewis of Phoenix Perennials will be speaking about perennials and specialty plants, as well as featuring his new book on ground covers; Laurelle Oldford-Down and John Cowie, from Art’s Nursery, have so many invaluable garden ideas to share; and Amanda Jarrett of Amanda’s Garden Consulting and Reinier Van De Poll of Van De Poll Garden Design are also exciting to hear. Add the expertise of Pamela Dangelmaier and Elke Wehinger of Botanus Inc. and Tamara Litke of Seed to Song Gardens and you will come away with great new design ideas and concepts.
Climate change is real and already affecting how and what we grow in our gardens. It’s also driving new and interesting trends in the way we live and garden. I look forward to sharing thoughts on this with you at the show as well.
The Sun gardening stage always hosts an impressive roster of presenters who share a great deal of their gardening knowledge and expertise, so it really is an outstanding learning opportunity.
For more information, or to buy online tickets to this great event, visit the B.C. Home & Garden Show website at bchomeandgardenshow.com.
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