A few of the Garden Club’s around 60 members at last years plant sale.

Celebrating 60 years of hands-in-dirt collaboration

'It’s really nice to be around other people who do understand how satisfying it is to have your hands in the dirt'

Though the name has changed throughout the years, history of a garden club in Campbell River can be traced all the way back to 1956.

After a recent inquiry to the club about a silver trophy that was found in an attic, members began investigating the history of the club. The trophy had the inscription ‘The Theo Morison Memorial Award’ and called the club the ‘C.R. Horticultural Association.’

The club went digging in the Museum of Campbell River archives and unearthed a scrapbook about the association and it’s founding executive members, R.B Morison, Lynn Elford, O. Thulin, M. Olivier and Wm. Mansfield.

After that the club was known as the Tyee Rose Club, then the Tyee Garden Club and finally the Campbell river Garden Club.

“The purpose of the club is to gather and share expert local gardening knowledge with each other,” said Elizabeth deMunck, out-going president and member since 2011. “It’s also about meeting people who have similar interests. Gardeners tend to be fairly solitary because it can be a solitary hobby. This gives people a way to get together with others that do the same thing.”

At the moment they have around 60 members, some that have been involved for almost 20 years. Since deMunck joined in 2011 she said the club has really found some kind of synergy and become this thriving, positive, fun club that is always welcoming new-comers.

“We have a lot of new members that are not from here, [they come from] B.C., Saskatchewan, and this climate is all new to them,” deMunck said.

During the summer months club members get together for garden tours and host demonstrations on various topics. During the winter the club hosts expert guest speakers from the area.  Even though there are some experts in the group deMunck said there is always so much to learn as new diseases and new bugs pop up every year.

The club’s official community project is the garden at Sybil Andrews Cottage in Willow Point. They provide not only volunteers to maintain the garden but also funding. Club members also volunteer for other gardening efforts such as the annual broom bash, and put in hours when Campbell River was participating in the Communities in Bloom competition. They also donate plants to the local charities who host annual plant sales.

“It’s really nice to be around other people who do understand how satisfying it is to have your hands in the dirt,” deMunck said.