Vital People: Cowichan Family Life Garden Tour set for June 4

Vital People: Cowichan Family Life Garden Tour set for June 4

Chris Garland loves to spend time in his beautiful Cowichan Bay garden.

“Most of my work days in front of a computer at a desk, so it’s nice to clear the mind and come out in the garden and really not really think about much, just be in be present in the garden, digging in the dirt,” Chris says.

The sprawling, rural property was a dream come true for Chris and his partner when they found the property several years ago.

They fell in love with the established and well-planned garden with a spring stream flowing through it.

“We did a lot of searching,” he says. “We had some acreage property back east and always longed to have another big property on the West Coast.”

And now Chris will be sharing this little piece of paradise to raise money for a good cause. It’s one of the stops on the 27th annual Cowichan Family Life Garden Tour on June 4.

“This year’s garden tour is spectacular and we have added a seventh garden because we had so many people applying, so that was wonderful,” says Tina Short, a garden tour coordinator with Cowichan Family Life.

The garden tour is a major fundraiser for Cowichan Family Life, which has been providing affordable counselling in the valley for more than 50 years, and demand is higher than ever.

“Oh my god, the demand is more than a 10 times increase because there’s all the COVID aftermath,” Tina says. “So people are, things are just now starting to surface.”

“As the garden changes and the light changes, I had to dig out all the heathers here. They weren’t getting enough sun anymore.”

For Chris and other garden tour hosts, it’s a chance to share their gorgeous gardens and give back.

“You spend all this time creating something, maintaining something, and it’s a shame to just have it for yourself,” he says. “So to just share that with other gardeners and neighbours, and friends and also to support a great cause.”

The property’s previous owner will be co-hosting with Chris, who says keeping everything weeded, watered and cultivated isn’t as much work as you might think.

“It’s seasonal in the spring in the fall are the busy times, but we actually do get to relax and enjoy it in the summer,” Chris says. “Mostly, it’s new projects that create work, not the actual existing gardens.”

Chris loves the variety in his garden, and can’t wait to share it.

“I think we all as a community have to be helpful,” Chris says. “And be aware of the needs of the community. It just makes you feel good.”

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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