The soothing sounds of water make any garden an oasis and will feature prominently on the 2011 Campbell River Art Gallery’s Garden and Art Tour.
This year’s tour, sponsored by Royal LePage Campbell River, is slated for Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26 and will offer 13 gardens, including eight gardens new to the tour. Water features are plentiful on this year’s tour, with local gardeners agreeing that there’s nothing like the sight and sounds of a pond, creek or waterfall to create a peaceful atmosphere.
“I have a very large pond in my very small yard,” said Donna Goodenough, whose property is new to the Garden Tour this year. “I find the sound of water is so relaxing and cleansing. It’s just soothing to the soul.”
Goodenough’s garden is a labour of love — a totally renovated piece of property that she rehabilitated on her own. To create her impressive koi fish pond, with fountain, lilies and sculptures, she hired a local excavating company to dig a huge hole and haul away truckloads of dirt and rocks. It took five men to carry in the rubber lining to create her pond. Goodenough said when she sits outside surrounded by a wide array of plants, feeding her koi and enjoying the quiet water sounds, all the effort is worth it.
“The koi are just angelic, they eat right out of my hand,” she said. “It fills me with joy to sit beside my pond.”
Kevin and Dianna Thompson’s Jurassic Park-themed garden is a perennial favourite on the tour. Kevin built a six foot waterfall and used old elk and deer bones to help create the impression of dinosaur bones. The Thompsons’ exotic garden features a huge array of plants, fossils, a total of three waterfalls, two bridges, three pumps and a huge pond where numerous koi and seven turtles reside.
“When the waterfall hits the bones, it’s very realistic,” Dianna said. “I love coming out here at the end of my day and being able to enjoy all this.”
For gardener Reta Davis, a garden just isn’t a garden without a water feature to enjoy. She describes her pond as a “tiny little thing,” but enjoys the way the water attracts birds and creates a serene atmosphere. Davis’s garden is full of personality with collectibles and found objects on display, including several antiques. Her pond is completed by an old-fashioned antique pump that keeps the water moving.
The Campbell River Art Gallery’s Garden and Art Tour is a fund raiser for children’s art programs. Tickets for the self-guided tour are $15 and available at the Gallery (open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday), at the Visitor Info Centre or at the Willows Market. Call the Gallery at 250-287-2261 for more information. Your ticket includes garden descriptions, a map and lunch discounts at the Royal Coachman and Boston Pizza, and a coffee break discount at Sundance Java Bar.
You can also enjoy the tour by bus, thanks to Campbell River Parks, Recreation and Culture. Call 250-286-1161 for ticket details. Seats are limited.
New this year is a tour of the gardens on Sunday, June 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with Island Joy Rides, a bicycle tour company. Participants can either bring their own bike or rent one. Call 250-830-8522 to find out how to purchase a ticket for the bicycle tour and to register.