Club Meetings

The Salt Spring Island Garden Club holds its club meetings at Meaden Hall on the 4th Wednesday of the month from February to June, and, from September to November. The AGM is held in November. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.. Please join us at Meaden Hall, Royal Canadian Legion, 120 Blain Road.

Visitors are welcome at our meetings. There is a $5 ‘drop-in’ fee for non-members, but we hope you enjoy the meeting and will consider becoming a member.

  • Please remember to wear your name tag. Getting to know like-minded and accomplished people is one of the biggest benefits of the Club, and being able to know who we are talking to helps to facilitate conversations. To encourage this, you must be wearing your name tag to win one of the door prizes. You can visit the Membership table at the meetings if you need a name tag.
  • Every meeting features a speaker. Many are local, but in the past, speakers have come from as far as Australia. Recent speakers have included Linda Gilkeson, Pam Erikson, Jane Squier, Daniel J. Hinkley and Bernie Dinter.
  • Parlour Show and Tell is held to test our skills in growing local treasures. An annual prize is awarded for highest aggregate points over the year. Bring anything from your garden, whatever is looking good on the day. There will be cards available to label your display and take credit with your name too. Everyone who brings an item can put their name in the Display Table draw – and if you bring two items, put your name in twice! Let’s have a great display!
  • The Library table is available with an excellent selection of books. Other books are available from the archive and can be retrieved on request. Please remember to return those library books that you have borrowed.
  • Mentor Gardeners are always present to provide solutions for your gardening challenges. Come speak with our Mentor Gardeners to get all your toughest gardening questions answered!
  • The SPCA is hosting our concession, offering home-baked goodies, an assortment of teas, regular and decaf coffee, with all proceeds going to help fund low-cost spay and neutering for dogs. The drinks and goodies will be by donation for a suggested minimum of $2 per item. Drinks will be offered in recyclable cups, so no need to gulp down your tea before the meeting starts! (or you could bring your own mug). We are grateful to the SPCA for offering this service and we hope everyone will support their efforts.

Royal Canadian Legion, 120 Blain Road

Meeting Agenda

6:45 pmParlour Show and Tell (unjudged)
Membership and Name Tags
Library, Mentor Gardeners' Table
Plant Sale and Seed Exchange
7:15 pmBusiness Meeting
7:45 pmProgram Speaker: Linda Gilkeson
Topic: Protecting and Attracting Beneficial Insects
Linda Gilkeson

Protecting and Attracting Beneficial Insects!

Linda Gilkeson will be our guest speaker in May. She will be informing us on how to protect and attract beneficial insects to our gardens. Always a delight to listen to, Linda is a fountain of information. Many of us owe the successes in our gardens to her advice and we always welcome the opportunity to learn from her.

Beneficial insects in our gardens include predators that control pests, pollinators essential for fruit set, and a multitude of lesser known insects that aerate soil, decompose organic matter, purify water and provide food for wildlife. Let’s find out about what impact our activities have on beneficial insects and how to provide a safer environment for them, including tips on the right (and wrong) flowers to plant to sustain pollinators and attract natural enemies of garden pests.

Linda Gilkeson is a well-known supporter and incredibly knowledgeable member of the Salt Spring Island Garden Club. As her website biography outlines, she earned a Ph.D. in Entomology from McGill University in 1986, then moved to British Columbia to work for Applied Bio-Nomics Ltd., a company that produces biological controls. From 1991 to 2002 she worked for the provincial government, promoting programs to reduce and eliminate pesticide use. She was head of the provincial State of Environment Reporting Unit for the next six years, then became the Executive Director of the Salt Spring Island Conservancy until the end of 2011. Linda now devotes her time to writing, teaching and consulting. As a private consultant, Linda is a regular instructor in the Master Gardener programs in BC and is busy year-round giving workshops on pest management and organic gardening.

Linda’s comprehensive gardening book, Backyard Bounty: The Complete Guide to year-Round Organic Gardening in the Pacific Northwest, is a BC best seller (and is part of the Garden Club library). She has just published a newly revised and expanded third edition of her comprehensive pest management guide, West Coast Gardening: Natural Insect, Weed & Disease Control. In the past, she has co-authored pest management training manuals for the provincial government and organic gardening books for Rodale Press and now focuses on publishing books for local gardeners.

Linda has served as President of the Entomological Society of Canada, the Professional Pest Management Association of BC, the Entomological Society of BC and the Salt Spring Island Garden Club. She was awarded a Queen’s Jubilee medal in 2003 and an outstanding achievement award from the Professional Pest Management Association of BC in 2005.

See you there!

We have a robust and exciting line up of program speakers planned for 2024!

February 28, 2024

Nigel Kaye

Fruit & Nut Trees Your Grandchildren Will Love

Nigel Kay is a local farmer and permaculture designer. He works in heritage orchard restoration and regenerative farm design. Nigel helps families to grow food, plant trees, restore orchards, and design spaces to become healthier and happier. His expertise in permaculture, agroforestry, & regenerative farming is used to transform the most degraded land into productive, diverse ecosystems. His recent Orchard Installation projects include The 50 Tree Walnut Grove, Garry Oak Meadow, as well as “Food Forests“ of Pears, Mulberries, Figs & Peaches.

Join him at our February meeting for his Garden Club presentation “Fruit & Nut Trees your Grandchildren Will Love”.

Learn more at:

Meeting Presentation

Nigel’s presentation – Protected: Club Meeting Presentations – SSI Garden Club

Meeting Photos

The excitement of spring’s arrival animated our February meeting.  Flowering daffodils amidst pussy willow shoots, hellebores and a wonderful display of some of last fall’s harvest were the backdrop to a most inspiring and well curated presentation by Nigel Kay, one of our enthusiastic younger members. 

 Click on any photo to enlarge, then use the side arrow icons to scroll back and forth. To exit, click “X” at the top right corner.

March 27, 2024

Gary Lewis

The Complete Talk on Ground Covers

Join author and owner of Phoenix Perennials in Richmond, Gary Lewis, to hear all about groundcovers.  Gary is the author of several books, including most recently “The Complete Book of Ground Covers: 4000 Plants That Reduce Maintenance, Control Erosion, 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.


Gary Lewis has had a lifelong passion for plants. While completing a Masters of Science degree in Botany, Gary became the owner of Phoenix Perennials on his 28th birthday. Since that time he has greatly expanded the business into a dynamic, award-winning, destination nursery for Western Canada with over 5000 different plants each year, many of which are grown at Phoenix Perennials from plant material sourced from around the world. In 2013, Phoenix

Perennials launched Canadian mail order to bring their unique plant selection to a broader audience and now ships more than 2500 different plants a year to avid gardeners from coast to coast to coast.  They focus on cutting-edge new cultivars, garden stalwarts, and the rare and unusual with a notably deep focus on perennials including hellebores, hardy ground orchids, and shade plants, plus succulents, rare bulbs, hardy subtropicals, and rare and unusual edibles. They also carry great selections of vines, shrubs, unusual trees, ground covers, grasses, ferns, dwarf conifers, houseplants, and much more.

In this talk you’ll discover some of Gary’s favourite rare, unusual and underused ground covers and how to use them in the garden to take your personal outdoor space to the next level. Gary will also be bringing plants to sell during what promises to be a popular evening at the Garden Club.

Gary’s presentation – Protected: Club Meeting Presentations – SSI Garden Club (available until April 30, 2024)

Plant list provided by Gary (They are listed in the order in which they appear in his presentation, so there is some repetition) –
Protected: Club Meeting Presentations – SSI Garden Club

Club Meeting Minutes – Protected: Meeting Minutes – SSI Garden Club

Link to photos – Protected: Photo Gallery – SSI Garden Club. Photography by Jim Matsuyama and Wendy Vine.

April 24, 2024

Jon Cooksey and Pam Tarr, Stqeeye’ Learning Society

Mi tse’ t’akw’ (Coming Home) Campaign

On April 24, Pam Tarr and Jon Cooksey, along with Stqeeye’ Learning Society (pronounced STAH-KAY-AH) members and Quw’utsun (Cowichan) Elders and Youth, will be attending the Garden Club meeting to inform and update the membership on the Coming Home campaign.

Coming Home is a once-in-a-generation campaign, a chance to bring the Quw’utsun Elders and youth back to live in their traditional territory in Xwaaqw’um (Burgoyne Bay) for the first time in 150 years.

The Stqeeye’ Learning Society is an indigenous-led board that came into being as a vessel to make this amazing journey happen. They are purchasing property from people who have been stewarding and waking this land up from disarray for the past 25 plus years.

Campaign managers Pam Tarr and Jon Cooksey have been on Salt Spring for nearly three years—a romantic new chapter in their lives after falling in love again, 40 years subsequent to their university romance! Stqeeye’ asked them to join the team based on their success with the Salt Spring Community Park fund-raising campaign in 2022, and because of their previous experience bringing together settler and indigenous communities. Pam and Jon have spent their careers working in the non-profit sector.

The community of Salt Spring Island is coming together in remarkable ways to support the Stqeeye’ Board’s acquisition of this extraordinary ten acre property. It is uniquely situated as a home base to expand their wetlands restoration work, and also to expand their Youth on the Land Program which connects youth with the land in a meaningful way.

Coming Home provides an opportunity to re-introduce native plants and traditional indigenous food systems, which will knit together many projects including carbon sequestration, critical habitat protection and food security and sovereignty.

Coming Home provides an opportunity to re-introduce native plants and traditional indigenous food systems, which will knit together many projects including carbon sequestration, critical habitat protection and food security and sovereignty.

Their projected one to three year campaign goals are to fund this land acquisition and also to give their organization two years of startup funds so that they can begin to transform the land into a self-sustaining enterprise which will continue far into the future. In this time frame they will begin the development of gardens and plant nursery in a large greenhouse, as well as develop facilities for land-based education programming—youth camps, professional development for educators, and corporate retreats.

Their goal is to produce 10,000 plants a year, the amount they feel they need to address the restoration. You can see that there are many opportunities where we as a garden club might individually, or as a group, provide back up to this attainable goal. There are lots of small and large ways in which we can support this effort. A great start is simply learning through attending the April meeting.

This promises to be an insightful and uplifting presentation and I feel honoured that the members of the Quw’utsun First Nation themselves are excited to share with you this journey of hope.

May 22, 2024

Linda Gilkeson – Protecting and Attracting Beneficial Insects!

June 26, 2024

Dan Jason, Salt Spring Seeds – Medicinal Plants to Know and Grow

September 25, 2024

Jon Cooksy

October 23, 2024

Josh Wagler, Edible Landscapes Design – (no topic submitted yet)

February 26, 2025

Paul Spriggs – Crevice Gardens

Past Speakers

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