For the past 31 years, Denman Island has periodically opened its garden doors and welcomed green thumbs from across the island to an event once called by the Globe & Mail “one of the top six horticultural events in Canada.
The biennial event is not only an opportunity to showcase elegant flowerbeds and innovative building techniques, it is also a major fundraising event for the Denman Conservancy Association, which protects rare and fragile ecosystems. of the island since 1991.
“This year’s tour really showcases the creativity and skills of the participants. So many homes were designed and built by the current owners as family projects,” says JoAnne Shepherd, co-organizer of the fundraiser. “Over the decades, the clearcuts and patches of blackberries have turned into these beautiful gardens. It’s so exciting to see and so inspiring.
The home and garden of writer and broadcaster Des Kennedy and his partner Sandy are part of Denman’s living history. Featured in numerous TV shows, books and magazines, it is perhaps the most famous example of the back-to-the-land movement that brought many urban refugees to the shores of Denman in the 1970s.
A spectacular ornamental garden and a productive fruit and vegetable garden are surrounded by rainforest, creating a welcome habitat for birds and pollinators. The chemistry between wild and cultivated beauty is magical, and it’s a theme that runs through many other participating properties as well.
A total of 13 unique properties will be on display. The house and garden tour runs June 11-12, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last entry at 4:30 p.m.). Tickets are $25 and can be purchased in the Comox Valley at Blue Heron Books, Art Knapp and Rusty Rooster, or online at www.denmanconservancy.org.
More information, including a list of participating properties, can be found at www.homeandgardentour.blogspot.ca, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Extra incentive for cyclists
Organizers would like to see cyclists take over the island in the event’s post-COVID return. As an incentive, there will be a free draw for those who ride the bike tour to win a basket of prizes.
“It’s a way to encourage and appreciate everyone who rides a bike,” said media coordinator Katarina Meglic. “As the tour is all about raising funds for conservation, we are thrilled to be able to reward eco-friendly transportation. With our ever-increasing awareness of climate change, this seems increasingly relevant. Another advantage of the bike tour for non-islanders is that there is no waiting to get on the ferry during this busy weekend.
To enter the Riders Draw, simply register your name at the box office next to the Community Hall, to win one of two gift baskets containing a variety of items, edibles and otherwise.
“Over the past few years, more than 100 people have cycled the circuit,” Meglic said. “It has a visual impact on our roads, and we’re hearing from people riding bikes that they loved the experience of being outdoors and seeing the island in a new way.”