Please note that in-person meetings are cancelled due to COVID-10 Pandemic.  
All meetings are being held via Zoom, and registered members will receive email-invitations to the meetings.

AGM meeting, 24 November @ 7:00 pm
(via Zoom)

Matt Nowell

Irrigation Tips and Tricks

This month’s speaker Matt Nowell has always been active within the landscape industry and comes from an English background of gardeners and estate grounds keepers. Prior to moving to Canada he worked with his brother who is an arborist and since then Matt has always found his way back into some form of job involving landscaping, working outdoors, building outdoor structures or hardscaping.

Since 2000 Matt was employed by a Vancouver based irrigation company and quickly worked from the ground up as an irrigation installer/labourer, foreman, service technician, city water line connection/installer, machine operator, designer, and project manager for multiple crews for both residential and commercial projects.

Between 2000 and 2012 Matt designed, installed and serviced upwards of 1,500 systems in the lower mainland area.

Since moving his family to Salt Spring in 2012, he has appreciated working with a community that is more connected to the environment and that likes to grow their own food.

A key priority for Matt has been helping the local community with their irrigation needs and ensuring existing systems are retrofitted or repaired to be as efficient as possible by reducing water wastage and increasing plant health.

Putting water where it is needed by use of drip irrigation vs a blanket coverage spray head approach (which was often common practice with city wide irrigation systems) aligns more closely with Matt’s personal values and priorities.

Observing the amount of water that gets wasted, either by poorly designed systems or incorrect scheduling, Matt quickly discovered the importance of educating system owners on how best to operate and maintain what they owned, rather than setting it and forgetting it.

Later rainwater harvesting became an obvious solution and a natural fit to help accomplish the reduction of wasted water and to help people be more in tune with what they use once they begin collecting water, rather than thinking of it as an infinite resource. Taking this approach along with good soil amendments, mulching, planting native and drought tolerant species, correct zoning and grouping of plants all help go towards more efficient water use and savings.

100% of Matt’s installations utilize drip irrigation which is either direct at the plant (point source) or multiple drip lines to cover larger, more densely planted areas.

Matt is a current member of the Irrigation Industry Association of BC (IIABC) and is a certified designer, low voltage electrician and back flow prevention installer and tester (BCIT). In 2009 Matt became certified with ARCSA (rain harvesting USA) and in 2014 with CANARM (rain harvesting Canada).

General Information

Due to COVID-19, all in-person meetings and events have been put on hold.  However, we have moved our monthly meetings to online via Zoom.  At these meetings, our club president will provide some opening remarks, after which we will have a speaker make a presentation on a pertinent topic.

Meetings are held at Meaden Hall (on Blain Road, across from Greenwoods) the fourth Wednesday of each month (except for December, January, July and August), starting at 6:45 pm, and ending by 9 pm.  In November, we hold our AGM.

  • Every meeting features a speaker. Many are local, but in the past, speakers have come from as far as Australia. Recent speakers have included Brian Minter, Carolyn Herriot, Linda Gilkeson and Bill Terry (the rare Blue Poppy man).
  • Parlour Show is always held to test our skills in growing local treasures. An annual prize is awarded for highest aggregate points over the year.
  • The Library table is available with an excellent selection of books. Other books are available from the archive and can be retrieved on request.
  • Mentor Gardeners are always present to provide solutions for your gardening challenges.
  • Refreshments are available for a dollar (coffee or tea, and a tasty treat).

2021 Talks

27 October : Anastasiia Dushyna: ‘All Season Herbal (Apothecary) Garden’

22 September : Jason Croutch: ‘Rose Care Through the Seasons’

23 June: David Whiting: ‘Sacred Space Gardens’

26 May: Bernie Dinter: ‘Small Fruits’

28 April: Matthew Shepherd: ‘Bring Back the Pollinators!’

24 March: Douglas Justice: ‘The Value of a Tree’

24 February: Brian Russell and Faye Ford: ‘Four Seasons in a Greenhouse’

23 October: Bernie Dinter on ‘Flowering Bulbs: Natures Gift that Keeps on Giving’

2020 Talks

27 November: Jeff de Jong ‘In the Eye of the Storm’

23 October: Bernie Dinter on ‘Flowering Bulbs: Natures Gift that Keeps on Giving’

26 June: Gary Lewis of Phoenix Perennials on ‘Hellebores : Jewels of the Winter and Spring Garden’

26 June: Linda Gilkeson on ‘Gardening and Climate Change’

22 May: Jeff de Jong ‘Garden Jewels for Landscaping’

24 April: Robin Jenkins and Robias Carson talked about ‘Tiny Gardeners: Salt Spring and Gulf Island Schools’

27 March: Moe Wendt presented ‘Permaculture: Principles and Practice’

27 February: Donna Balzer ‘Vegetable Gardening: Tips and Tricks for Growing Great Grub’

2019 Talks

24 October: Kristen Miskelly spoke on ‘Native Plant Gardening for Biodiversity’

June 27: Mitchell Sherrin spoke to us about “Fire-smart Landscaping”.

May 23:  Connie Kuramoto will joined us to talk about “The Lazy Gardener”.

April 25:  Julia Common brought a talk about Bees, called “Hives for Humanity”.

March 28:  To be confirmed

February 28:   Brian Minter joined us in February for a talk entitled “Dramatic Changes in the World of Gardening”.