Members of the Lake Bloomers Garden Club sit with Carla Boe (centre right) under her grape arbour and exchange gardening tips and stories.

Members of the Lake Bloomers Garden Club sit with Carla Boe (centre right) under her grape arbour and exchange gardening tips and stories.

Lake Bloomers begin summer tours of local gardens

ake Bloomers Garden Club members had their most recent garden tour/afternoon tea out near Skutz Falls at Carla Boe’s property

Lake Bloomers Garden Club members had their most recent garden tour/afternoon tea out near Skutz Falls at Carla Boe’s property on July 18.

Boe’s property is situated on the top of a hill above the falls. She has lived on the property for the last three years, and during that time has managed to cultivate a thriving oasis of perennials, some vegetables, trees, and has even put in a couple of ponds with the help of Mountain Man Services.

Lake Bloomers divides itself into teams to distribute responsibilities for these kinds of tours and for meetings. This month, the Carnation Team was in charge of setting up the tour and providing snacks and drinks for the lunch. Boe also kindly offered refreshments and a bottle of her homemade wine.

Carolyne Austin, club president and one of the members of the Carnation team, explains the clubs summer schedule.

“June, July, August, and September, are the months for tours and going to different places,” she says.

“We stay local most of the time to be honest, but we will hit other things in the valley as well.” Last year the club went to a park out by Mt. Sicker.

“We can do two or three tours in the month if we feel like it,” explains Austin. “But it’s just a bunch of us will get together and say do you want to go to so-and-so’s house, but usually we do at least one a month.”

For the tour at Boe’s, a tent was set up on a patch of lawn beside the house, where the snacks and refreshments were put out for members to enjoy.

Some ate at the picnic table placed adjacent to the tent and along a bed of colourful perennials. Others sat under the grape trellis built onto the side of Boe’s house, in the shade. These are the same grapes used to make her homemade wine each year. She says that keeping the grapes to herself is often a challenge as she has a resident bear who often steals from the vines.

Below the house is the larger of the two ponds on the property and some of the group chose to relax with their meal in the wooden lawn chairs that line the path around the small body of water.

A small stream runs down to the pond.

“This water is pumped from the pond,” explains Boe. “It’s a recirculating system.” Within the next two years she plans to dig out another smaller pond off to the side.

“People want to know when I’m going to stop, and I don’t know when I’m going to stop,” she says.

Boe says she prepared for the group as part of her regular seasonal clean up.

“The aim is, I want to make this low maintenance,” she explains of her gardens. “And basically three times a year I do a massive clean up and the rest of the time it’s low maintenance, and I think I pretty well have got there.This is not your normal garden,” she adds. “This is not a manicured garden. It’s sort of civilized slash on the wild side.”

She does have to bring in help periodically to keep up with the maintenance. “I love it,” she says. “The neurosurgeon has told me I do not rake, sweep, mop or vacuum.”

To help keep the garden low maintenance, Boe says she grows a lot of bulbs and shrubs.

“And the plants I put in containers for the summer. Everything else is bulbs because that’s low maintenance, and it grows every year.”

Club members enjoyed a few hours of wandering through Boe’s garden and sharing gardening tips.

The next garden tour will take place on either Aug. 8 or 15 and will be held at Susanne Thom’s house in Youbou. If you are interested in becoming a club member, call Austin at 250-749-6772.