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Jo-Ann CanningContainer Gardening Friday, April 3, 2020

Chris Hildreth, (Founder & CEO of TOPSOIL - Innovative Urban Agriculture) The Business of Growing Food in the City Friday, March 6, 2020  

Bianca van der StoelHorticulture Therapy

February 7, 2020

Bianca van der Stoel is a budding Horticulture Therapist who previously trained as a Recreation Therapist at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  After working as the Director of Health and Wellness at a Memory Care Community in Calgary she recognized a need for increased opportunities to access nature and engage one’s sense with plant and natural materials.  Thus, she trained as a Horticulturalist at Vancouver Island University while studying under Registered Horticulture Therapist Mitchell Newson. Now employed at Eden Gardens in Nanaimo, Bianca offers Horticulture Therapy to the 130 seniors living there.

“I am fortunate enough to work within the role as a Horticulture Therapy Intern as I await my Professional Registration post-graduation.  Horticulture Therapy is based on a belief that an individual’s involvement with horticulture and gardening does not have to end, regardless of the barriers one may face in older age.  Horticulture Therapy offers a myriad of research-based benefits and provides opportunities to feel the familiar comforts of digging your hands in the soil, discovering the first flowers of spring, creating beautiful garden spaces, and so much more.

I have several great research sources speaking to the benefits of Horticulture Therapy and some very special anecdotes from my time at Eden Gardens.  I believe this could lead to some really interesting conversation, as each person in the club is likely enjoying their personal version of Horticulture Therapy in their gardens!”  Click The Eden Alternative for more information.

Don HareInvasive Plants of Coastal BC

September 6, 2019

The Coastal ISC Board of Directors is very pleased to announce that Don Hare is the new Executive Director.   

Don brings over 17 years of hands-on operational and strategic invasive plant management experience to our team, having managed invasive species for Canada as the subject matter expert for Dow AgroSciences, and most recently in his role as the program coordinator for Alberta Invasive Species Council. 

Don is passionate about invasive species management and looks forward to protecting our region from the impacts of invasive species.  He looks forward to meeting you.

For more information check out the website.


Valerie Melanson - Gardening in Your Kitchen

(President - AGCVI)

June 7, 2019

Valerie caught plant fever at a tender age from her Grandpa & Auntie, but it lay dormant until about 20 years ago when she developed an interest in growing herbs for cooking & making bath products.

Working at a book publisher / distributor she dealt with many RHS and UK gardening books, then joined the RHS & received seed on their exchange.  With success in growing Campanula species from seed, a passion was ignited for Alpines.  Alpines have been core to her garden work ever since along with growing herbs & veg. 

To get through our rainy winters, Orchids, Carnivorous Plants  & dabbling with Microgreens joined the list. 

And now, Gardening in the Kitchen is becoming more of a focus and experiments with grow lights, hot mats, seeds, cuttings & roots are ongoing.  

Colin Bartlett - Wild Birds & Gardening

(Backyard Wild Bird & Nature Store)

March 1, 2019

Colin Bartlett is the owner of The Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store in Nanaimo.

Looking for something different to do when he moved to Nanaimo, he started a business doing something he enjoyed and opened The Backyard Wildbird & Nature Store in May of 1995.

Colin was introduced to nature at a young age through the Boys and Girls club. He later volunteered with the Club helping out on the trips and teaching about some of the natural habitat around the camp and other activities.

Colin has written articles for local papers and magazines for many years about the birds and nature in the backyard.

Scott Stevenson - PONDS (click to see the presentation)

February 1, 2019

Scott started working at Cannor Garden Centre (now Wildwood) when he was 15 years old and continued working there for 10 years while attending university.

During the last 5 years, water gardening had become very popular and the manager at the time saw the opportunity to create a dedicated “Watergarden” department where Scott then spent most of his time. 

After graduating, he joined Van Isle Water (which was a distributor Cannor purchased pond equipment from) and became the outside sales rep for the outdoor living segments – ponds, landscape lighting, fire features – where he is now entering his 12th year.  

Scott has given talks at numerous garden centres, gardening clubs and trades colleges.  He has also contributed to Gardens West, Gardenwise and Pond Trade magazines. With Van Isle, Scott has also made many trips to pond and water garden destinations in the US and Europe.

P: (250) 383-7145  |  461 Dupplin Road, Victoria, BC V8Z 1B8

Art & Susan Lightburn - China 2010: Places, People, Plants

November 2, 2018

Art and Susan were born and educated in BC; Art in Rossland and Susan in Vancouver. They have lived in the Lower Mainland and coastal BC, raising their family on Haida Gwaii and Vancouver Island.

Art is a retired carpenter and Susan a retired teacher. Until about 18 years ago, Art was not interested in growing anything that was not edible – that is until he discovered Rhododendrons.

Art’s passion for rhodos has led them on numerous journeys throughout Europe and Asia, including the UK, Australia, China, and India.

Currently, they live in Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island on an acre and a third, where Art continues to build many new Rhodo beds for his species collection and Susan enjoys photographing the wonderful flowers.

Presently, Art and Susan serve as Directors for the Nanaimo Rhododendron Society (NRS), involved in the programming committee and social committee.

Kathy Claxton - Make Gardening Fit You

October 5, 2018

Kathy's  interest in all things gardening began in the early '70s with gardening employment at Whitburn’s greenhouses in Calgary.

Moving to Vancouver Island in the late 1990s opened up a magnificent new world of gardening. Kathy responded to her new obsession by seeking out as much knowledge as  possible through work experiences, working at Arrowsmith  greenhouses for 15 years, the Master Gardener programme at VIU (2003), running her own gardening consultation and maintenance company for 15 years and, in the past 8 years, has cultivated a spring-time business growing organic tomatoes for sale.

Kathy has enjoyed the privilege of sharing her knowledge and experiences with many as a guest speaker at events.

Bernie Dinter - GARDENING - Its Changing Focus -

(Dinter Nursery)

June 1, 2018


Bernie Dinter has lived all his life in Shawnigan Lake, having arrived there as a child from Germany.  He grew up on the campus of Shawnigan Lake School, where his father was gardener.  Bernie graduated from Shawnigan Lake School in 1969 and, in 1976 graduated from UBC with a degree in Plant Science.  

Bernie’s father started Dinter’s Nursery in 1973 and Bernie joined it full time after graduation.  The nursery has been supporting gardeners in the Cowichan valley for 45 years and now draws customers from all over Vancouver Island.

Bernie is a member of the Cowichan Valley Rhododendron Society and the BC Institute of Agrologists.

Lynn Doyle - Fire Smart Gardens

May 4, 2018

BC born and raised, I have loved gardening for over four decades.  Having gardened on the slopes the North Shore Mountains, on the lee side of Galiano Island and now in Nanoose Bay, I think I have made just about every mistake in the book. 

The impact of microclimate differences between my three gardens has been profound.  Moving from North Van with 100 inches of rain a year to Galiano with less than 40 inches of annual rainfall awakened the scientist in me.  I started to read about drought-tolerant gardening.  I later joined BC Master Gardeners. 

A wildfire on Galiano a decade and a half ago wakened me to the importance of Wildland Interface Management.  Ever since then, I have continued my self-directed study of Fire Smart gardening.  I look forward to sharing what I have learned from trying to put best practices to practical use in my own Nanoose Bay garden.

 Lynn Doyle.  BSc, MD

Theo Fredrich Sr. - Bees & Beekeeping

(Fredrich's Honey; Cedar, BC)

April 6, 2018

Master Beekeeper Theo Fredrich Sr. has been beekeeping for over 60 years and is as passionate today about beekeeping and making honey as he was when he first began.

Theo Sr. has been beekeeping professionally for over 65 years.

Starting off as an apprentice in Germany, he has studied and worked with bees all over the world, including Africanized bees in South America.

His interest for bees has not waivered and he still finds himself learning more every time he opens up a hive.

Kristi Bellis - Landscaping Your Garden

March 2, 2018

Kristi Bellis (Ozero) is a Certified Horticulturist and Garden Designer.

Upon completion of her Horticulture studies at Malaspina University-College in 1999, she worked at Milner Gardens and Woodland for four years creating the plant records department, and researching the rhododendron collection.

Over the past 18 years, Kristi has been self-employed as a Landscaper, Horticulture Consultant and Garden Designer. She is a graduate of the Garden Design program at the University of British Columbia.

She has taught community courses in Plant Identification, was an instructor of Horticulture Botany at Malaspina and has worked in retail garden centres.

Currently, Kristi operates from her home in Nanoose Bay, runs a boat charter business with her husband out of Schooner Cove and continues to manage the Plant Records Department at Milner Gardens.

Walter Pinnow - Growing Lavender

February 2, 2018

Walter grew up southeast of Montreal, in the eastern townships, on an orchard growing several different types of russet apples for cider production.

His interest in gardening began at age 7 and that Christmas he received his first Felco pruners.  Needless to say, the pruners got a major workout pruning several hundred apple trees every January.

As a teenager Walter started to breed Hemerocallis and German Bearded Iris and in 1980 was fortunate to meet one of Germany’s premier breeders of bearded Iris, who remained a mentor to Walter for 15 years.

Moving to Vancouver Island in 1990, Walter worked for Green Thumb Nursery in Parksville which was sold to Cannor in 1996 and is now Cultivate Garden & Gift.

He moved on from Cannor and joined Pacific Shores Resort, being responsible for building and maintaining all the water gardens and the aquariums. 

2014 saw Walter back at Green Thumb where he was asked to manage the garden centre on Hammond Bay Road, with the Gerke family running the large commercial operation.

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