With 75 years under their boots the Lynn Valley Garden Club has taken their plants from Victory Gardens to trendy succulents. The club is expanding its popular annual plant sale to celebrate its diamond anniversary May 18th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Stephens Church on Mountain Highway.
Founded in 1943 by residents embracing the federal government’s call for WWI food security, the Lynn Valley Garden Club has been taming the forest ever since.
“A lot of people were new to Canada at that time – and a lot of people came from a farming background or a place that had been cultivated for a long time,” Said Anna Marie D’Angelo, president. “When they came to Lynn Valley, or any where on the North Shore, they were dealing with second growth forest. It was not gentile gardening. It was quite challenging but they got good results and they were quite proud.”
From parlour shows, Lynn Valley Days and garden parties the club has been busy. Today the club has recently moved to a new meeting location to meet growing demand.
“People still have stories – I think everyone in Lynn Valley has a big stump story – or a big rock story in their yard,” laughed D’Angelo. “It’s unique to this area.”
Gardening on the North Shore can be a delicate with the forest that surrounds the neighbourhood.
“If you walk around Rice Lake or the suspension bridge, you will see the same things down here,” said D’Angelo. “You have to figure out the garden you have. If you have a shade garden plant for that – don’t do succulents. We are in Lynn Valley, we don’t get a lot of sun. We have a lot of hostas – you won’t see those in Tsawwassen. They have lovely gardens too but they are different. It’s about making the best of what you have. And trying something different if it doesn’t work out.
“People today are so interested in veggies and herbs. When you start getting your garlic coming in or you have enough tomatoes to see you through the winter. It feels like you succeeding.”
One member has so much success she donates approximately 2000 lbs of veggies to the food bank each year, she said.
The annual club fundraising sale will feature plants from club members.
“We will have several thousand plants – it sounds like its a lot but the seedlings are small,” said D’Angelo. “There from our gardens and greenhouses so you know the plants are for here. Sometimes when you buy plants they are for drier places or sunnier places. The tomates are tried and true that work well here. The plants need a certain amount of sun and certain number of days. You want to look for something that needs 90 days to reach maturity, not 180 days like some watermelons – we don’t have a long enough season here.”
Money raised to keep the dues low and affordable. Extra funds go to local garden projects like Edible Garden Project, Seeds of Diversity and the BC Council of Garden Clubs’ scholarships for horticulture students.
This year’s sale – at a new location – will have more to offer than just plants. There will be information available from the Invasive Species Council of BC, an information table with master gardeners with their wealth of local knowledge, a raffle, a 75th anniversary table, a membership table and more.
“We are selling the largish jars of honey for less than $9. In the stores, it would be at least $13 and not local,” said D’Angelo. “We sold out quickly last year so have gotten a larger supply. Even if you don’t garden, you should come to the plant sale to get a jar.”
The club warns they have been informed of some Mountain Hwy closures on May 18 for the continued road work and recommend checking for details coming out.
A club for everyone
The Lynn Valley Garden Club meets the third thursday of every month (except July and August) and is open to everyone. To attend as a guest is $5 but to join as a member is only $20. Each meeting has a speaker – upcoming fall topics include tool maintenance and alpine gardening.
“We always have a question period and take a look at what people have brought in,” said D’Angelo. “We have such a wealth of knowledge and want to help.”
With 75 years done, the Lynn Valley Garden Club is looking forward to many more and invites everyone to get involved.
“It’s very rewarding. Just start small and go from there.”