For the past 31 years, Denman Island has regularly opened its garden gates and welcomed green thumbs from across the island to an event once celebrated by the Globe & Mail “one of Canada’s top six horticultural events.”
The biennial event is not only an opportunity to showcase elegant flower beds and innovative building techniques, it is also an important fundraiser for the Denman Conservancy Association, which has been protecting rare and delicate ecosystems on the island since 1991.
“This year’s tour really showcases the creativity and skill of the participants. So many of the homes were designed and built by the current owners as family projects,” said JoAnne Shepherd, co-organizer of the fundraiser. “For decades, clear cuts and brambles have been transformed into these beautiful gardens. It’s so exciting to see and so inspiring.”
The home and yard of writer and broadcaster Des Kennedy and his partner Sandy is a living piece of Denman history. It has been featured in numerous television programmes, books and magazines and is perhaps the most famous example of the back-to-the-land movement that brought many urban migrants to the Denman coast in the 1970s.
A spectacular ornamental garden and a productive orchard and vegetable garden are surrounded by rainforest, creating a welcome habitat for birds and pollinators. The alchemy between wild and cultivated beauty is magical and a theme that runs through many of the other participating properties as well.
A total of 13 unique properties will be on display. The Home and Garden Tour runs June 11-12 from 9:30am to 5:00pm (last entry 4:30pm). Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased in the Comox Valley from Blue Heron Books, Art Knapp and Rusty Rooster or online at www.denmanconservancy.org.
For more information, including a list of participating properties, visit www.homeandgardentour.blogspot.ca or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional incentive for cyclists
Organizers want cyclists to take over the island during the event’s post-COVID return. As an incentive, a free prize basket will be raffled among the participants of the tour.
“This is a way to encourage and appreciate everyone who rides a bike,” said media coordinator Katarina Meglic. “Given that the tour is all about raising money for conservation, we’re delighted to be able to reward eco-friendly transportation. With our ever-increasing awareness of climate change, it seems to be becoming more and more relevant.” Another benefit of the bike tour for off-islanders is that you don’t have to wait for the ferry on this busy weekend.
To enter the cyclist raffle, simply enter your name in the ticket center next to the community hall to win one of two gift baskets containing a variety of edible and other items.
“Over the past few years, over 100 people have ridden the Tour,” said Meglic. “It’s making a visual impact on our roads and we’re hearing from cyclists that they loved being outdoors and seeing the island in a new way.”
Gardening in the Comox Valley