The patio

Gardens of Cormorant Island

Our Bee's Knees columnists pay a visit to the gardens around Alert Bay.

We visited Alert Bay to see for ourselves the garden enterprises developing there.

Our first stop, the Kwakwalatsi Demonstration Garden on Atli Street, aims to reach out widely with information to promote a healthy community. Chris Joy, the coordinator, met us with a stunning smile of welcome and guided us up the steep slope which forms the lower part of the garden which is being terraced. The upper, level, area comprises a patio, a greenhouse and a round bed divided into pie-slice segments by narrow clam shell paths. Herbs, fruit and vegetables are flourishing throughout the garden. The greenhouse is a sturdy yet elegant building remarkable because it is built of recycled windows and warmed overnight by “solar collectors” – plastic containers filled with water.

Sociability is the keynote here. The garden is fun, Val Hunt, a core group worker emphasised. It was started in October 2011, with a greenhouse project for mums-to-be and now has a core of incentive workers who tend the garden. A group notice board carries fliers for community events as well as lists of crops planted and desired and a map of the crops in the garden. Produce goes to people in need – they cut and carry what they want – and to the child care centre.

Challenges relate to shallow top soil and invaders: rabbits, cats, caterpillars and slugs. In outreach to the wider community the group has created six gardens at people’s homes. The group is considering winter/all-year round cropping and more companion planting.

We were joined by Mel Alfred a UVIC student, home in Alert Bay for the summer, who had a vision of a garden for the Whe La La U community, waved her wand and created it! She took us to the site, where the garden about twenty-feet square was developed in one week, largely by “female power”. It is on a large parcel capable of expansion to include a greenhouse and terraces on the slope behind it. Planted with strawberries by kindergarteners, tomatoes, peppers and onions by a youth group, there are also thyme, comfrey, cabbage, oregano, parsley, petunias, marigold, peppers, tomatoes, rosemary and peas. The garden is cared for by the community – and they can harvest at will. We were struck by the attractive driftwood and fishing net fence.

The U’Mista Cultural Centre maintains a native plant garden in front of the building. Kelsey Nelson helped us find the descriptive signs. Some years ago, the plants seemed to be struggling, but now they are strong and healthy. Assuming they were transplanted here, their survival is instructive and encouraging. The garden incorporates many plant species described in “The Living World”, an excellent guide to native plants and animals.

Up the hill at the Alert Bay campground, Bill Gomm was working on the little gem of a garden, as he has for the last 15 years. This garden fits perfectly into its surroundings. The setting, the layout, the choice and placing of plants compliment the beautiful campground.

Our last stop was not a garden but a small, trim building at the airport housing the Cormorant Recycling Depot. The island has curbside recycling pick-up. With more people catching on to the responsibility of recycling, the service has just expanded to two days a week to meet the demand.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port Hardy RCMP discuss reconciliation with First Nations

The RCMP “want to be emotionally respectful of the past while still trying to uphold the laws.”

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

Claims already being staked after GeoScience BC report released

In the first 15 days following the report, a total of 34 new claims were staked.

Bradshaw’s Photo Highlight: Waulkwass River

A kingfisher and some trumpeter swans came by close enough to get a few shots.

Port Hardy RCMP investigating drug offences

Both vehicle occupants may face future charges related to the suspected drugs and cash.

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

UPDATE: Boy, 5, will donate organs after crash that killed father, son on B.C. highway

Mike Cochlin and sons Liam and Quinn were travelling on Highway 5A

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs to meet today with federal and B.C. governments

Nationwide rail and road blockades have been popping up for weeks

Chinatowns across Canada report drop in business due to new coronavirus fears

Around the world, about 81,000 people have become ill with the virus

Endangered butterfly species to be reintroduced to Hornby Island

Hornby Island is about to play a major role in the saving… Continue reading

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Most Read