You can tour the gardens in any order.
Jennifer & Gary Reece – 1526 Pritchard Drive, West Kelowna
(note: Google maps wants to send you to Frind Winery rather than Pritchard Road. Go past Frind Winery, turn left at Pritchard Road and left again at the dead end. Use beach parking and walk to this garden. It is worth the short walk.)
Jennifer & Gary built their house fifty years ago this June when the neighbourhood was mostly lakefront summer cottages. The original property was covered in Cottonwood trees and Mahonia (Oregon Grape). The last of the cottonwoods are gone but the Oregon Grape still thrives as a privacy screen in the front garden.
Over the years, the garden has changed shape several times and grown in size and variety. The house is small, leaving ample space for front and back gardens. The front garden is anchored by a 48-year-old blue spruce tree, planted in memory of Jennifer’s mother, which provides ample shade for hostas, heuchera, & some shade-loving annuals & draws people to the fish pond.
Along the south wall of the house, two new peach trees now replace the 49-year-old ‘Veteran Peach’ that had to be taken out last year – the old tree could produce up to 400 pounds of fruit a year providing juicy fruit for eating and canning. Happily, buds were grafted to another peach which has flourished and will provide buds for the new trees. The south wall also features a 50-year-old climbing rose that was our first plant. The backyard features mixed flower beds, a vegetable garden, and a swimming pool built in 1980. An old, large Japanese plum died two years ago and has been replaced by a flowering crab tree while a volunteer Japanese plum has taken over as the largest backyard tree. Some flowering plants have been seeding down for as long as we’ve been here….violets, Welsh poppies, forget-me-nots. They fill the garden with colour in early spring. The yard now is a combination of grass & garden, old trees & young, bushes & flowers, pool & pond, vegetables & pots. Here & there you’ll find an eclectic mix of garden décor from old stove parts to frogs, lifelong collections of ‘where can I put this?’ It evolves constantly! Because both plants and gardeners are ‘aging in place’, flowering shrubs requiring less labour have become a new favourite. Jennifer & Gary both work in the yard, share the upkeep, & continue to experiment with their space. They consider themselves backyard gardeners with experience & enthusiasm but not experts! They look forward to sharing their garden with visitors on this year’s tour.
In the Garden
Tori & Charles Wesszer – 979 Regal Road, West Kelowna
Tori (lifestyle blogger, dietitian and cookbook author of Fraîche Living) and her husband Charles purchased their 1970’s home 6 years ago with a vision to completely transform the overgrown property. After living in the home for a year to understand the flow and create a plan, the couple completely renovated the home and yard to build their dream property.
The home is a traditional style with a modern French flair, with landscaping to match the aesthetic. Layers of boxwoods, hydrangeas, lilacs, roses and peonies create a lush and cozy atmosphere, with a built-in pizza oven and patio for entertaining throughout the warm summer months. The couple added a recessed vegetable garden complete with white planter boxes to grow fresh produce for cooking along with an herb planter conveniently located adjacent to the pizza oven.
The swimming pool, home to their two boys all summer long, is centred in the yard and flanked by a sea of boxwoods and hydrangeas. The couple recently installed solar panels as a step toward building a more efficient home.
Tori and Charles look forward to welcoming the community into their garden! A portion of the proceeds from specific items from Tori’s Fraiche at Home store will go toward Chefs in the Classroom.
In the Garden
Sam Ulasy, Horticulturalist – Margaret Valley Landscaping
Darrell and Judy Harnett – 1375 Bartlett Place, Kelowna
Since Darrell and Judy Harnett moved into this quiet cul-de-sac in July 2002, the evolution of this beautiful property began.
With each tree planted from the City’s Neighbourwoods program, and every new addition of plant or artifact, (as well as the pool and gazebo) the heart and hope of these gardeners, have been to create a beautiful oasis for all who enter. Produce and berries from the raised garden beds have been a delicious gift of creation; many varieties of flowers and shrubs have not only added to the attraction but have also drawn in the bees to contribute to the diverse Okanagan ecosystem. Judy has as many as three dozen hanging baskets and plant pots that keep the bees very busy.
From 14 grandkids and family to old friends coming to stay for a visit to neighbours and friends popping in, Harnett’s beautiful yard and the garden have been an inviting space in this neighbourhood for nearly 20 years.
In the Garden
Janine Harnett, balm
Miranda Shuba, aloeandember.com
Denise and Frank Aiello – 4172 McClain Road, Kelowna
Tuscan Tranquility in South East Kelowna
The gardens on this beautiful estate property have evolved over the last 14 years. The Old-World Tuscan style house is surrounded by large mature trees such as pine, maples, London Plane trees, oaks, willows and blue spruce. These trees lend the property such grace and a serenity that is palpable. Over the years this couple have opened their hearts and home to many rescue animals. The 10-acre property has allowed them to bring large animals such as horses, lamas, donkeys, sheep, cows, pigs, mini horses, many dogs, large and small, as well as exotic birds to live out their days on this peaceful farm. They are given good food, veterinary care and lots of love. They even had a 300 pound, very well-behaved house pig named Daisy who really became a part of the family. If you are lucky, you may see Denise out on the back patio with her incredibly beautiful Hyacinth Macaw on her shoulder. Just look. Don’t touch. He is rather nervous and shy.
Along with the animals that are nurtured here, the gardens on this hidden South East Kelowna gem are equally tended. Everywhere you look, there are delightful plantings that catch the eye. Everything is lovingly cared for by Denise and a small team of passionate, energetic gardeners. Many pollinator plants have been chosen to encourage butterflies and bees. The lawns do receive fertilizer and the cherry tree has to be sprayed according to regulations but other than that, no pesticides or herbicides are used.
I don’t think there is a plant or flower that Denise doesn’t love and like most enthusiastic gardeners, it’s hard for her to exercise restraint. The nurseries love to see her walk through their doors where she indulges her passion! There are edibles tucked in against the house amongst the flowers. You’ll see mass plantings of peonies, nepeta, lilac, dahlias, gladiola and so much more. Every month brings new flushes of color and treats for the eye.
As you round the corner into the backyard, you are taken aback by a huge water feature with its cascading waterfall. A crane was used to place the rocks. The large patio with the big pots of annuals and the Hibiscus tree make it easy to envision the wonderful parties and entertaining that goes on here. A scouting team from Hallmark recently spent many hours on this property for consideration as a location for a future production. Weddings have been hosted here by Denise and Frank as well as many gatherings around the fire pit down in the meadow where the order of the day is family, friends, fun and food.
Which brings us to the next part. Don’t miss the veggie gardens down near the barns and the newly planted 400 haskap bushes, also known as honeyberry or blue honeysuckle. Haskaps which are often likened to elongated blueberries, have been treasured for centuries in Japan, Russia, and China. They are used in traditional medicine. The Ainu people of northern Japan knew it as the berry of long life and good eyesight. They are truly delicious!
In the Garden
Trudy & Russell McGill – 1383 Mission Ridge Drive, Kelowna
Welcome to our little piece of heaven, here in Crawford Estates.
The house was built and landscaped in 1980. We purchased the property in August 1987 and over the 37 years we have been here, the garden has taken on a very different look.
It started 14 years ago with a major renovation of the front yard. It was time to take out some very overgrown junipers – 12 & 1/2 dump truckloads to be exact, (wow). We hired Hobson’s Landscaping to replace the junipers with some beautiful rock walls. Hobson looked after all the hardscaping & prepping of the new garden. I had the fun of planting new barberries, burning bushes, grasses, (all deer resistant). Because of Bambi, I’m always on the hunt in the front yard for perennials & annuals they don’t like.
Two years later we had Hobson’s come back and tackle the backyard. In the front yard, we had more overgrown junipers removed (Yay!). Brick retaining walls & stairs were done to level out the top lawn. In these new beds, I planted boxwoods, gold flame spireas, burgundy barberries, Miss Kim lilac, Black Lace elderberry, and Vanilla Strawberry hydrangea. Last year I incorporated Summerific Spinderella Hibiscus to the top bed.
Over the last few years, we have renovated the pool area. The existing pergola, bar, & sitting room got a facelift. It’s now our favourite place to have our morning coffee, dinner & movie nights. On cooler evenings the gas fire pit comes on.
The vegetable garden on the east side of the house also got a mini makeover, now enjoying new raised beds. It’s not a huge area but does allow me to grow raspberries, strawberries, garlic, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, yellow and green beans.
In the Garden
Janine Goodall – 551 Brome Crescent, Kelowna
This Lower Mission Garden has been changing and growing for over 25 years. Many of the flowers and shrubs have arrived courtesy of friends and neighbours.
The garden encompasses a woodland theme housing a majestic 200+-year-old Douglas Fir that overlooks the backyard. An abundance of raptors visit this yard including Great Horned Owls, Merlin Falcons and even a Cooper’s Hawk.
As a former biology teacher Janine has incorporated local flora and fauna from our semi-arid ecosystem into her garden.
There will be living labs set up throughout the property for you to enjoy.
In the Garden
Bev Shortreed and Roger Hume – 449 Knowles Road, Kelowna
Bev and Roger’s California-style house is situated on a unique 1/3 acre lot in the Lower Mission. The south-facing backyard is in stunning contrast to the minimally planted street-side, and centres on a seasonal spring-fed creek flowing across the property east to west.
Stepping off a large covered patio, you are led down to the creek where the property has been landscaped with a broad perennial and shrub border. There you will find noteworthy plant material, a lawn befitting a game of croquet, and three raised vegetable planters constructed of permanent concrete pavers. Quite ingenious!
Across the creek, accessed by two bridges, the landscaping is largely left to native vegetation with private sitting areas and a greenhouse, next to a hidden vegetable, fruit and cutting garden.
A large native cedar tree, Douglas firs and a thicket of Oregon Grapes with winding gravel pathways meandering between, are to be enjoyed in the dappled sunlight filtering through the mature trees.
Despite its size, the property is low maintenance and environmentally responsible, using relatively small amounts of water, due to the use of shade, mulch and drip irrigation, no pesticides and minimal fertilizers.
In the Garden
Mark and Dale Fromberg – 4643 Darin Place, Kelowna
In 1997, after building an Arts & Crafts-styled house on a pie-shaped lot with only a lonely magnolia tree to work with, we spent the next several years creating some distinctive rounded landscaping to balance the otherwise angular house lines.
First, a curved berm was created at the front of the property to give the house meaningful separation from the road, with trees and shrubs added on top to further add to the visual break. And then, within a year, a curved driveway was added, followed by some 200 feet of curved rock walls, elliptical stairs, and a winding walkway built over several years, all using rocks freed by several of the neighbours’ foundation excavations–an inexpensive and congruent landscaping strategy.
Except for the magnolia, most of the 30+ trees on the property are now over 20 years old, although there have been some replacements. A row of clumping birches had to be replaced due to disease, and six fruit trees were replaced over the years, several of which simply fell over, overloaded with fruit on a windy day. Today, most of the trees on the property are maples: several cultured cascading Japanese maples, a row of paperbark maples, two stately “Bloodgood” maples, and a towering Autumn Flame maple that glows red and then carpets our front yard every fall.
Some other unusual trees contribute to the property’s canopy as well: A wishbone ginkgo, a Saskatoon, a weeping juniper, a few Cornus kousa dogwoods, a couple of Japanese pagoda trees, three weeping birches, a grafted “fruit salad” tree, an American ash, and a grafted cherry tree round out the collection.
Closer to the ground, a few clematises, a small family of kiwi vines, several lilies of the valley, a robust collection of ferns, lots of potted annuals, and a large number of hosta species define perimeters and provide groundcover accents. And in the food garden, raspberries, rhubarb, and salsa ingredients are nurtured in raised beds every summer.
Taken together, we believe we have created a pleasing four-season garden palette, evolving from shades of gray to whites to pastel and shiny greens to intense oranges and reds, before returning to the winter’s austere grays again.
In the Garden
Susan and Gregg Neilson – 979 Maranda Court
Forest Hill Studio
Susan and Gregg Neilson’s home, with Susan’s art studio, can be found on a quietcul-de-sac in the Lower Mission area. The studio doors will be open for the FlowerPower Tour, with a walk through to see oil paintings by Susan Neilson and acrylics by Lee Claremont on display in the backyard, next to the fence line of the RDCO Woodhaven Nature Conservancy.
The growing season by the forest is shorter than in many Kelowna locations, so garden boxes are placed in the sunniest spots, including the front yard. Greens grow mainly in the shadier back gardens while anything needing sun and heat is out in the front, with netting where needed to protect from deer. The gardens at this home are pollinator friendly and use very little water, with mixed organic edibles, herbs and flowers.
At this location you will see the tall trees of the forest across the fence. Neighbours in this area started a community group to share interests in nature and in conservation, especially connected to the Woodhaven Park. Information will also be available onsite, about the Friends of Woodhaven Nature Conservancy Society.
In the Garden
1526 Pritchard Drive
Annie’s Beach Cafe is open at 8:00 am and the perfect spot for coffee and a snack. You can enjoy their lakefront picnic area on a first come, first serve basis.
Wine Tastings are available after 11 am. Reservations encouraged.
Garden #3 – Garden #4
Travelling between Garden #3 at 1375 Bartlett Place and Garden #4 at 4172 McClain Road
Broken Anchor inside Codfather’s Seafood Market
2355 Gordon Drive (Guisachan Village) for fish & chips
Meadow Vista Honey Wines
3975 June Springs Road
Open at 10:30 am for tastings & a Bee Tour
4172 McClain Road
Wiseacre Farm Distillery at 4275 Goodison Road (No appointments needed)
Priest Creek Family Estate Winery at 2555 Saucier Road (Reservations recommended/ walk-ins welcomed)
Nagging Doubt Winery at 4513 Sallows Road (Reservations required)
*all three are open at 11 am for tastings and tours
449 Knowles Road