For Virginia Blatchford you could say necessity was the mother of inspiration when it comes to her passion for gardening.
She remembers playing in her maternal grandmother’s vegetable garden. She also remembers the large garden her paternal grandparents kept so they could offer fresh veggies in their grocery store, and the lovely flower garden they kept as well.
But it wasn’t until she got off the grid, living in the Rockies, that her passion for gardening really took root. “We had 30 acres, surrounded by crown land on the Columbia River. We were off the grid, we had no plumbing or electricity and everybody had a huge garden,” she said.
“When you consider my view was the Columbia River, with the Rockies as a backdrop, I was really inspired. And when you eat fresh food every day, that is a big inspiration.”
Since then gardening has been a passion, to the point where she and husband Larry are preparing feverishly to welcome visitors onto their grounds at 310 Gill Road in Ladysmith as part of the annual Spring Garden Tour, which takes place May 29.
As well as the tour, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature nine gardens, there will be a show and sale at Aggie Hall from 8:45 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Activities at the hall will start off with a ‘healthy breakfast,’ and include high tea, garden video, master gardeners, vendors and displays, and a raffle draw at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets are available at the 49th Parallel Grocery, Nancy’s Fashions, Dig This Nanaimo and at Aggie Hall. The Chronicle joins Ladysmith & District Credit Union and 49th Parallel Printers as sponsors.
“I think that going on garden tours is a real inspiration,” Virginia said, “because there are so many different styles of gardening, and each one of them is magical.”
Everything from how to attract bees to your garden, to how you can distract deer, to how you can ‘layer’ your planting to have interesting features blooming all year, to how to take advantage of the benefits of micro-irrigation will be topics of conversation on the tour and at Aggie Hall.
The Blatchfords are getting their grounds tuned up for the big day, eager to have their best pallet of petals, leaves and branches ready for guests.
“Gardening is the purest art form,” Virginia said. “Where you place your plants and how you do it is like a paint brush. And it’s also very, very healing.”
She said a properly designed and planted garden doesn’t have to be a full-time job – at least not year-round.
“It looks like a lot of work, and getting it ready in the spring and for a garden show is a lot of work,” Virginia said. “But for the rest of the year, if you do your work in the spring, you’re done.”
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