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7 gardens sure to wow on Cowichan garden tour

The 27th Annual Garden Tour is scheduled for Sunday, June 4
David Coulson owns the the Miller Road garden, which is just under two acres. It’s just one of seven gardens featured on the Cowichan Family Life Association’s annual garden tour, taking place this year on June 4, 2023. (Submitted photo)

Gardeners have even more to look forward to this year on the Cowichan Family Life Association’s garden tour, with this year’s event featuring seven Cowichan Valley properties.

“We are honoured that seven local garden owners have generously opened their gardens for the public tour this year,” says CFLA President Deanna Wrate. “The tour is a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together to appreciate the beauty of nature while helping community members who are going through difficult times. These are experiences to which we can all relate.”

The 27th Annual Garden Tour is scheduled for Sunday, June 4.

David Coulson owns the Miller Road garden, which is just under two acres with a deceptive triangular layout that gives it a broad frontage that tapers up to the peak of Eagle Heights. Once the original proud homestead of Carlton Stone of Hillcrest Lumber fame circa 1913, some rare plantings still survive. From the atlas cedar in the front lawn, the surviving acacias, the climbing roses and Virginia creeper to the massive rhododendron and king apple trees, it’s a piece of history.

Over the years, invasives swallowed up much of the acreage until the current owners began reclaiming the site yard by yard starting in 1989. Today there is a large pond feature with waterfalls, a ‘bamboosery’ with over 30 species of bamboo, a woodland garden, a vegetable garden and greenhouse built of reclaimed windows from the original Fairbridge site, a Japanese garden with adjacent Japanese inspired studio, rooftop gardens with a three story treehouse and more.

And that’s just one of the seven properties you’re invited to tour between 10 a.m. at 4:30 p.m. on the self-guided tour.

Added features this year include a tea garden with an artist and musician, and the chance to purchase tickets for several raffle prizes made locally or supplied by local businesses.

CFLA provides affordable mental health services for individuals and families and has done so for more than 50 years. No one is turned away for lack of funds. Programs include training for volunteer peer counsellors, healing anger, seniors services, communicating with confidence, financial freedom and individual counselling. Other programs are in the process of development as CFLA responds to community needs.

The Garden Tour serves as a major fundraiser for the organization and tickets are now on sale at The Third Addition Toys and Gifts in Mill Bay, Dinter Nursery, Buckerfield’s Supply Store, Volume One Bookstore, and Russell Farms Market and Garden Centre.

Tickets are $25 each and include a map of the garden locations. Raffle tickets will be available from Tina Short, garden tour coordinator or through the CFLA office and during the garden tour itself at each of the gardens.

CFLA also thanks their sponsors for bringing the event to life: Dinter’s Nursery; Country Grocer; Island Office Equipment; and HSM Insurance. If you or someone you know could benefit from mental health services, contact Cowichan Family Life Association at 250-748-8281.