Gardeners offer inspiration

Ladysmith Rotary Club presents its 17th annual Garden Tour, Show and Sale May 25

  • May. 12, 2014 9:00 a.m.

There are a lot of pathways in Bennye and Richard Miller’s South Wellington yard.

And at the end of each stone path, many of them featuring colourful painted or tiled stones, there is a reward — whether it’s a peaceful patio or a beautiful pond.

The Millers’ property is one of nine stops on the upcoming Ladysmith Rotary Garden Tour, Show and Sale Sunday, May 25. This will be the first time they participate in the tour.

The Millers’ one-acre property on Eglington Road, much of which is treed, features a lot of perennials and bright rhododendrons, Japanese maple trees, roses, ferns and much more.

The Millers have lived on their property for 30 years, and they’ve developed their garden slowly over time.

“We’ve been here a while, but the garden isn’t that old,” said Bennye. “We didn’t have much when we started because I didn’t do much gardening.”

Bennye figures they’ve taken the garden more seriously in the last 15 years.

“I love to just see how it all turns out,” said Bennye. “I love working in the dirt. It’s quite peaceful when you are in your garden. To see how things grow from very small, it’s very satisfying, but there is a lot of work, especially if you don’t work on it all the time.”

Wander around the Miller’s peaceful property, and you’ll find a patio, a smaller patio that faces the morning sun, a fire pit and a clear-water pond, which Richard built eight years ago.

Artist Mary Ann Fleming will be participating in her third Ladysmith Rotary Garden Tour this year, and she loves the experience.

“It’s all-encompassing because gardens are art, so to have an artist in a garden, which is a work of art, is fantastic,” she said. “There’s nothing I like more than being outside in my own garden, so to be in someone’s garden who had the time and energy to spend on it is wonderful.”

This year, Fleming will be creating art at the Millers’ property, and they happen to be her neighbours and friends.

“I really like them, and they do a lovely job of their yard,” she said.

Fleming, who is largely self-taught, says she goes where her spirit leads her, painting everything from landscapes to portraits, imprinting her unique style on each. Her favourite mediums are watercolour, oil and acrylic.

Fleming hopes to get her own garden to the point where she can invite people to visit as part of the Garden Tour.

“I think being in the other two [tours] made me think of my own garden, and it inspires me,” she said.

The Ladysmith Rotary Club presents its 17th annual Garden Tour, Show and Sale Sunday, May 25.

The Show and Sale runs from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Aggie Hall at the corner of First Avenue and Symonds Street. Here, you can pick up your tickets for the garden tour for $15 — which includes a garden pass, program and map — and enjoy a continental breakfast from 9-11:30 a.m. for $4.

Tickets for the tour are also available in advance from any Ladysmith Rotarian.

At Aggie Hall, local, garden-related businesses will offer their products for sale and answer your questions on gardening and landscaping. A variety of B.C. handicrafts will also be on display.

A slide presentation produced by Frank Elsom on the theme “Gardens and Flowers” will run continuously at Aggie Hall, and the “Ladysmith Singers” choral group will be performing there from 9:30-10 a.m.

While at the Show and Sale, don’t forget to buy your Garden Tour Raffle tickets. This year, the popular raffle features three great prizes — a pair of Bill Hutchinson cedar lawn chairs, a brushed silver patio heater and a set of solar garden lights. Tickets are available now from Ladysmith Rotary members and at Aggie Hall on the day of the Garden Tour. The raffle draw will take place May 25 at 1:30 p.m. at Aggie Hall.

The self-guided tour of nine gardens features a collection of both well-established and newly-created gardens, including everything from rockeries and shrubberies to historic photos and heritage coal mine cars. The Rotary Club hopes it will be a day of discoveries for master gardeners, beginner gardeners and everyone in between. The nine home gardens are open to the public May 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Plan on visiting the Ladysmith Community Gardens at High Street and Second Avenue from 1-3 p.m. This year, the Ladysmith Community Gardens will feature “demonstration” gardens and gardening techniques. Members will be available to talk with you about composting, greenhouses, gardening in raised garden beds, and other garden issues.

While taking the Garden Tour, you can also watch an artist at work.

Local artists will be present at most gardens to enhance your viewing experience and answer your questions about their creations and techniques.

All proceeds from ticket sales, raffle and breakfast support Rotary’s many projects.


For more information, contact Ed Nicholson at 250-924-3402 or