It was a sunny Saturday for the Williams Lake Garden Club’s Garden and Art Tour on July 9.
The event, which is a staple of the gardening and art community each year, did not disappoint in 2022, with eight gardens featured.
Each location on the self-guided tour included musicians playing live music for much of the day, and artists showing their works in the garden settings.
From 150 Mile House to downtown Williams Lake to Wildwood, there was a diverse range of garden styles.
The first stop for the Tribune was the stunning garden of Ros and Hal Giles, where Hal played some music for the guests and Ros’ incredible textile art decorated the yard.
Shading their yard on two sides are incredibly lovely sugar maples, originally from Hal’s grandfather’s farm in the Ottawa Valley. The trees came as a group of 40 saplings to the area in 1972, and were planted around the community, four in the Giles yard.
One since died but the couple still have three.
The trees turn a vibrant range of fiery shades of orange in autumn to help create some incredible fall colour in the community, bringing to mind the Chinese Proverb; “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.”
Hal was playing some tunes for the guests, as an accompaniment to the visual features of the yard.
Our second stop was at the garden of Cindy Porter, aptly described in the tour’s printed guide as “whimsical”, where her amazing creativity was peeking out at garden lovers as they checked out all of her plants.
Porter, just north of 50, had it on her bucket list before she turned 50 to learn pottery. Clearly, once she did, she was off and running, because there was something ceramic to see everywhere you looked.
The garden was full of hidden gems including handmade garden gnomes, colourfully glazed globes with cutout textures and creatures created through her other hobby of sculptural welding. Porter learned wire-feed welding from a friend as well and then began making different garden art out of scrap metal pieces and parts.
Some not-so-hidden gems were also visible in her garden, including garden totems, some a combination of ceramics and driftwood, many made from stacked ceramic pieces.
Her late husband had made some wood and metal wagon wheels which were highlighted, hanging on the wall of her shed as well.
Another creative feature in Porter’s yard was her “cat-garden” which included lights, cat-friendly plants like oat grass, catnip and lemon balm, perches for the cats and scratchable birch trunks.
All of this was contained within a sturdy metal compound, protecting both the cats and the birds. The cats however, all three, were hiding inside during the event, Porter said they were not fans of the ukulele. LeRae Haynes and friends were providing the music, and were even joined by some young musical guests prior to the Tribune’s arrival.
Kim Herdman’s amazing garden was the next stop, with the amount of work in her garden a stunning exhibit of both her and her late husband’s hard work.
The fox tail lilies in full bloom in the backyard might be one of the most stunning and beautiful cultivated flowers this wanna-be gardener has ever laid eyes on.
“Every week it’s different, it’s a whole new garden,” said Herdman of her downtown oasis, where she said she tries to have enough varieties that there is always something flowering. Harry Jennings and Sharon Hoffman were providing the musical backdrop to her garden for the morning.
The final stop for the Tribune was Darlene and Ted Bruce’s garden, and while the musical guests Celtic Connection were finished upon the afternoon arrival of the media, the reviews were excellent.
The vegetable garden was a highlight of this well-maintained spot, with a tidy and weedless patch of delicious food well on its way to harvest time.
Wood and resin art by Ted was on display, and included some river tables and customizable examples as well as cool coasters made from resin leftovers and wood cut ends.
Debora Radolla from the garden club said they estimate there were over 200 visitors on the tour, and donations exceeded their expectations.
All proceeds from the tour will go towards the Scout Island Nature Centre.
“It was a super delightful event due to the hard work and dedication of the Garden Tour coordinators and many club volunteers,” said Radolla.