Helen Chesnut’ Garden Notes: At the top of the June to-do list is stopping and smelling the roses

Look forward to a lot this month: roses, the first lilies, peonies and irises, along with sweet, sun-warmed strawberries and home-grown salads

I won’t soon forget the magical change in weather over the long Victoria Day weekend. Sunshine lasting all day chasing away the cold made me feel like I was being reborn into light and warmth. Short-sleeved T-shirt Finally some time in the garden.

The sun came out and so did the people. Happy groups of hikers passed by the house all day, reveling in the pleasant and comforting weather. On the Friday of the long weekend I spent all morning gardening with a friend and then stretched out in the sun for a short break before visitors came looking for me in the back garden. A neighbor came with muffins. Another brought empty beverage cartons, like the ones I use to make planter trays.

Look back. Although a significant portion of the usual spring planting has been delayed by cold, rainy weather over the past two months, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom.

The kale plants grew tall and produced a prolonged and bountiful harvest of succulent flower buds, enough for me, my friends, and several neighbors. Home-sown fields of miner’s lettuce at the edges of vegetable beds have produced masses of lush greenery.

The lush growth and profuse, long-lasting flowering of the spring-blooming shrubs and trees have made the view of the back garden from my upstairs bedroom window an extremely satisfying treat.

June. Looking ahead to the coming month, it will be a catch-up time for many of us. I hasten to transplant the last heat lovers – tomatoes and peppers, squash, marigolds, zinnias and more.

Look forward to a lot this month: roses, the first lilies, peonies and irises, along with sweet, sun-warmed strawberries and home-grown salads. Important things to do this month include stopping often to smell and admire the roses and other flowers. As the weather warms up, look for slightly shady spots for a number of lettuce plantings. Fill empty containers and garden spaces with flower and vegetable plants from local garden centers. Try growing something new. For the 19th, plan a gift or celebration tailored to the special interests of the gardening family man.


VHS meeting. The Victoria Horticultural Society meets on Tuesdays from 6.30pm to 8.30pm at the Garth Homer Centre, 813 Darwin Ave. Jeff Wright, senior horticultural expert at Royal Roads University, will speak about woodland gardening in Victoria. Masks are compulsory in the Garth Homer Centre. Entry fee for non-members $5. vichortsociety.org.

floral art. The Mid Island Floral Art Club will offer an Ikebana demonstration and workshop at their meeting on Thursday, June 9th at 2pm at St. Stephen’s Church, 150 Village Way in Qualicum Beach. Guest fee $6.

summer show. The View Royal Garden Club is hosting a summer garden show on Saturday, June 11 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Wheeley Hall behind the Esquimalt United Church, 500 Admirals Rd. Exhibits include roses, perennials and annuals, vegetables and fruits, potted plants and herbs. $5 admission includes refreshments and tickets.

Denman Tour. The Denman Island Home and Garden Tour is back, Saturday and Sunday, June 11 and 12, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Among the 13 properties on the tour are the home and garden of writer Des Kennedy and his partner Sandy as a cottage garden with beautiful stone walls and terraces and as a “retro-kitsch” home with bathroom on the front porch. Tickets for $25 can be purchased at denmanconservancy.org. The tour is a fundraiser for the Denman Conservancy, which works to protect rare and delicate ecosystems on the island.

Teeny Tour. The Victoria Hospice presents a repeat of its Teeny Tiny Garden Tour on Sunday 12 June from 9:30am to 5:00pm. The tour includes elegant formal gardens as well as rustic food gardens, herbs and intriguing blooms. $25 tickets are available at the Capital Iron and GardenWorks outlets and Heirloom Linens in Broadmead Village.

Walking tour of the Nanaimo area. Altrusa, an international non-profit organization, is hosting its seventh annual garden tour of six gardens in and around Nanaimo Garden on Sunday, June 12 from 10am to 3pm featuring lots of Asian influences and beautiful ceramic pots. The tour is a fundraiser in support of women, children and literacy in Nanaimo. $20 tickets are available from Green Thumb and Little Tree Nurseries, Turley’s Florist and KC’s Boutique. altrusa.org/nanaimo.


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