Gardener and instructor Sandra Milligan inspects her garden which she uses to instruct college level biology students about plant anatomy and physiology.

Willow Point garden acts as outdoor lab for NIC students

Sandra Milligan’s unique outdoor teaching lab will be among the 10 gardens featured on the upcoming Campbell River Garden and Art Tour

Sandra Milligan’s unique outdoor teaching lab will be among the 10 gardens featured on the upcoming Campbell River Garden and Art Tour July 7 and 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The self-guided Garden and Art Tour features 10 beautiful gardens from north Campbell River to Black Creek and will also feature artists at work on most of the properties.

Visitors on the tour will enjoy seeing how Milligan, who teaches university-level biology at North Island College, uses her food and flower garden to instruct her students about plant anatomy and physiology. Milligan began her Willow Point-area garden around seven years ago and it has since grown into a large endeavor that provides food and fun for her family as well as a wonderful opportunity to teach her students.

“I use the garden as a lab and a teaching tool,” Milligan said. “A field trip to the garden is a regular part of the curriculum.

“The students do a scavenger hunt to find different plant parts throughout the garden.”

As well as abundant flowers, Milligan grows at least 23 kinds of food in her garden and she’s fascinated by what constitutes food when it comes to plants.

“For example, when we eat broccoli, we’re eating a flower head,” she said. “I like to grow things that provide ways to teach. What is a cob of corn? What is a nut? What do we eat when we’re eating rhubarb? Things like that.”

To help her students, Milligan has created teaching diagrams that will be on display during the Garden and Art Tour.

The Campbell River Garden and Art Tour offers something for everyone.

Beautiful landscaping ideas abound on this tour, along with some specialty themes like creative approaches to composting.

See a stunning rose garden, ornamental kiwis, a unique Jurassic-themed oasis and much more!

Tickets for the Garden and Art Tour, which is sponsored by Royal LePage Campbell River, are available at the Campbell River Art Gallery, the Willows Market, the Visitor Information Centre and the Comox Valley Art Gallery. Tickets are $15 and the self-guided tour runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both July 7 and 8. Call 250-287-2261 for more information.

The Campbell River Community Centre is offering a bus tour, for $20 including your ticket, on Saturday, July 7 only. Call 250-286-1161 for details.

The Garden and Art Tour raises funds for children’s programs at the Campbell River Art Gallery.