Speakers - 2022

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

January 18, 2022: Robert (Bob) Wilmott and Hayne Wai

This Ming Dynasty style classical Chinese garden opened in Vancouver’s Chinatown in 1986 and is the first full Chinese garden ever built outside of China. Bob and Hayne’s presentation centres around the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and the four main elements of a 16th century Ming style garden: architecture, water, plants and rocks. Bob and Hayne also bring in the history of the Garden, its inception, construction and location within Vancouver’s Chinatown. 

They will showcase the essential elements of a classical Chinese Garden and walk us through the halls, courtyards and corridors with particular reference to the appropriate maintenance of plants, shrubs and trees to reflect a classical Ming Dynasty elegance. This is a ZOOM Powerpoint™ presentation with live commentary.

Both Bob and Hayne are past board members and current docents at the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden. Bob is a veteran Master Gardener, retired garden designer and chaired the Garden’s Facilities Committee which was responsible for the overall management of the structures, plants, rocks and water in the Garden. Hayne is also a Master Gardener, a founding board member, past-president of the Chinese Canadian Historical Society of B.C. and has researched and published on Vancouver’s Chinatown. During the last few years Bob and Hayne have presented to many garden clubs in metro Vancouver and Victoria as part of the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Garden outreach program.


New Westminster’s Hanging Baskets – The Story 

February 15, 2022: Claude LeDoux

How to create a stunning basket for your home, office or city. The complete history and dirty soil version of just how to make these beautiful baskets. 

Claude LeDoux has been a passionate Horticulturalist throughout his adult life. He retired in 2018, as the Parks Department Horticulture Manager for the City of New Westminster. Here, over a period of 18 years he was responsible for the City Greenhouse operations, and three divisions – Arboricultural, Horticultural and Irrigation. He also created and approved City and Park landscape designs, organized contractors and consultants and was a member of the Design Review Panel for the City.  

Prior to plying his considerable expertise at the City of New West, Claude was engaged at the Bota and Fantasy Gardens as Assistant Manager for Horticultural Operations where he oversaw design, layout and implementation of garden displays, purchased the plants, and provided guided tours. 

Claude graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1979, with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, majoring in Horticulture and throughout his career he has been a landscape consultant for commercial and private projects. 

Claude lectures on annuals and perennials at Van Dusen Botanical Gardens and has been a speaker to Van Dusen Master Gardeners and to UBC Landscape Architecture students. He speaks regularly to BC garden clubs and other groups and he is a member of Great Plant Picks of the Pacific Northwest and several other horticultural societies. Claude is also the co-coordinator for the “Plant a Row – Grow a Row” for the City of New West, a program started by Brian Minter to encourage gardening. 

Claude’s deep knowledge of Horticulture means that he is frequently sought out as a judge and has presided over many awards and garden shows including the National Awards of Landscape Excellence, the BC Landscape Awards of Excellence, Van Dusen Flower & Garden Show and New Westminster’s Festival of Trees, its Royal City Builders Awards and many others. 

Creating Climate Change Gardens and the Special Role of Irises 

March 16, 2022: Dr. Richard Hebda

British Columbia’s climate is changing rapidly with warming winter temperatures, summer droughts and a longer growing season. Learn strategies and techniques to adapt your future garden and keep it beautiful. Discover the roles that remarkably diverse irises can play; it’s time to start transforming our gardens.

Dr. Richard Hebda is Curator Emeritus at the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) where he has curated the museum’s Climate Change permanent exhibit and travelling fossil displays. Richard was also senior editor on RBCM’s volume on the human remains frozen in a northwest BC glacier and received the Queen’s Jubilee medal for his work in paleontology. He also received the national Bruce Naylor award for natural history curatorship. 

Dr. Hebda is also an adjunct faculty member at the University of Victoria (UVIC) and was the first faculty coordinator of the Restoration of Natural Systems Program at the university. His research interests are varied. He studies vegetation and climate history of BC, climate change impacts, alpine ecosystems and heritage potatoes. Richard is the (co)author of more than 135 scientific papers, 250 popular articles on native plants and climate change, and (co)author and editor of several books and reports on grasses and ethnobotany. 

Outside of his curatorial and scholarly life, Richard loves irises and is president of the BC Iris Society.

Flying Circus below, an Intermediate Bearded iris.  Photo credit: Ted Baker

Dragon Master below, a strong and reliable Intermediate Bearded Iris. Photo credit: Richard Hebda, Royal BC Museum

Dragon Master, a strong and reliable Intermediate Bearded Iris  Photo credit: Richard Hebda, Royal BC Museum

When to Sow and How to Grow

April 19, 2022: Matt Johnson

From patio gardens to full sized farms, this presentation will give you the information you need to get the most out of your vegetable garden! Learn when to plant your favorite vegetables, how to care for them when the going gets rough, and how to maximize your harvest. And while this presentation is directed to vegetable gardeners, it also contains many useful tips for gardeners of all kinds and experience levels.

Matt Johnson is the Agricultural Program Coordinator at Earthwise Society, the non-profit organization in South Delta. Matt manages a 1.5 acre certified organic vegetable farm, a quarter-acre demonstration farm, and three satellite vegetable gardens throughout South Delta. 

“My passion for gardening started when my grandmother would take me out to the garden to look into the compost bin, where I would see all the creepy crawlies doing their important work.” 

Fast forward a bit and Matt has been growing food for over 10 years in small amounts; throughout the last two years he has expanded to larger scale vegetable farming. The majority of his experience has been focused on no-till, organic food production and he is a firm believer that the key to sustainable agriculture is local production done in healthy soil and with appropriate water usage. 

Says Matt, “It is my goal to get more people involved with food production and to build a greater appreciation for the land we live on. I am always excited to talk about gardening and am looking forward to sharing my agricultural knowledge with the community!

Out of the Ordinary Annuals & Perennials

May 17, 2022: Janis Matson

Janis will highlight some plants that she thinks are out of the ordinary – plants that could add a unique punch or diversify your garden. She will look at plant choices that are possibly new to you and spotlight some forgotten classics. She’ll discuss diverse possibilities with the emphasis on exposure, colour, texture, form and structure. Janis’ presentation will help you design a forgotten corner or fill a spot where you wanted something just a little different!

Janis graduated with a Diploma in Landscape Design and Horticulture, and later became an Arborist Risk Assessor. She furthered her education when she obtained her Floral Design Certificate, Arborist Certificate, Red Seal Journeyman ticket, Level 1 Irrigation Certificate, and the ICPI - Paver installation Certificate. Janis also earned the Provincial Instructors Diploma and has put it to good use over the years as a Faculty Instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Langley with the Horticultural Diploma and Apprenticeship programs. She is also a Contract Faculty Instructor at Burnaby Community Education with the Horticultural Hardscape, Plant ID Certificate and Apprenticeship programs. In some of her spare time, Janis teaches in the Adult Education program at Van Dusen Botanical Garden and is a popular Guest Speaker at various garden clubs throughout the Lower Mainland.  

Janis has made her career in the Horticultural industry for over 30 years beginning in 1988, when she worked for Murray Nurseries in southlands where she stayed for six years. She then put her enthusiasm, plant and design knowledge to work developing her own company, Shoreline Landscape Design Ltd and has been its Owner/Operator for over 25 years, enjoying the challenge of making garden spaces look and feel good.

Born in Burnaby, BC, Janis is known to be creative, enthusiastic and fun and enjoys to work with people. Beyond appreciating nature and plants, Janis makes time for photography and sports. 

Your Favourite Gardening Tool

June 21, 2022: 

Change of Agenda for Tuesday, June 21 General Meeting

Due to illness on the part of our Speaker Megan Zeni, we will reschedule her presentation for the spring. Stay tuned to this page.  For the in-person meeting on Tuesday, June 21 the topic instead will be “Your Favourite Gardening Tool”

Think about your favourite gardening tool and why it’s your favourite. We’ll have time for five to six attendees to speak for a few minutes each and we’ll meet in person at the Church. When we invited members to talk on this topic in past, people went home with lots of tips and it was a fun evening.   

Plant Propagation by Division

September 20, 2022: Maria Valana

Free plants are all around you, ready for the taking. All you have to do is divide them! In this presentation you will learn propagation by division of a variety of plants, the correct timing and step-by-step procedure. 

Maria Valana is a Horticulture Instructor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). She holds a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree from Olds College, Provincial Instructor Diploma from Vancouver Community College and a Red Seal Certification in both Landscape and Production Horticulture. Maria has also worked for the City of Kamloops for six years and owned her own landscape business since 2015.  Her education along with her lifelong experience in horticulture provide a solid foundation for training students in the Horticulture and Apprenticeship Program on a variety of topics. Maria enjoys sharing her passion by providing horticulture education to like-minded individuals. Plant propagation is one of Maria’s favorite subjects. 

The Complete Talk on Ground Covers

October 18, 2022: Gary Lewis

Plants that reduce maintenance, control erosion, improve the environment, and beautify the landscape – Ground covers are widely thought of as utilitarian, but these plants also offer a diverse range of beautiful and intriguing options with a variety of colors, textures, and forms. They can unify a landscape, knit together plantings and hardscape, and add extra layers of beauty, dynamism, and surprise.

As a replacement for lawns, they can reduce our use of water, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, carbon-based fuels, and transform a yard into a diverse landscape of habitat and food for native insects, birds, and other wildlife. In this companion talk to Gary’s encyclopedia The Complete Book of Ground Covers to be published by Timber Press in fall 2022, Gary will highlight the functional and aesthetic uses of ground covers in the landscape including tips and tricks for designing with ground covers to take your outdoor space to the next level and a discussion on the diverse services ground covers can provide to make gardens more sustainable.

Horticulturalist Gary Lewis is the owner of Phoenix Perennials and Specialty Plants Ltd., a local nursery in Richmond, BC and a renowned online source of specialty plants shipping across Canada. Gary’s popular talks have become regular highlights of garden group meetings throughout BC, Washington, Oregon and beyond.

In 2013 Gary was selected as Communicator of the Year by the BC Landscape and Nursery Association and his nursery won the “Growing Gardeners” category of the Canadian Garden Centre of the Year Awards in 2012 and 2013 for his work educating the gardening public. He has also been a regular speaker at the BC Home and Garden Show and other public and professional shows, conferences and on radio shows. 

Gary is a graduate of UBC and its Horticulture program. A highlight for many gardening enthusiasts over the years has been the garden tours that Gary leads to destinations around the world. 

Most recently, Gary has been occupied with the writing and publication of his new book entitled, “The Complete Book of Ground Covers: 4,000 Plants that Reduce Maintenance, Control Erosion and Beautify the Landscape” which is to be published in October 2022. 

Small Trees for your Landscape, How to Care for them, When to Call an Arborist 

November 15, 2022: Michael Nugent Certified Arborist & Local Manager, Bartlett Tree Experts

Summer drought conditions and water conservation in Delta are issues we need to reconcile increasingly, so planting resilient trees and shrubs in our landscapes becomes more important than ever before. Mike will identify some small yard trees that can best weather these conditions and discuss the care, feeding and pruning of specific trees. He will also advise us on when it’s time to call in an arborist and how to speak with these tree specialists. 

Growing up in Richmond and Vancouver, Mike always appreciated the beautiful native and ornamental trees that our region is able to support. It was while studying Plant Science at UBC that Mike became passionate about trees. Since university, he has been propagating, growing and collecting ornamental trees while working in commercial nurseries, farms and the landscaping industry. Mike has been with Bartlett Tree Experts since 2012 as an apprentice Climber and Plant Health Care Technician and is excited to be promoting the highest standards of tree care in his home town. Mike draws on his diverse experience and knowledge when assessing and making recommendations for tree and shrub care in the South Vancouver, Richmond, Delta, Langley, Surrey and White Rock areas.