Paula McCormick enjoying a rare moment in her garden. The master gardener is the guest speaker at this month’s meeting of the Sooke Garden Club. (Contributed photo)

Paula McCormick enjoying a rare moment in her garden. The master gardener is the guest speaker at this month’s meeting of the Sooke Garden Club. (Contributed photo)

GARDEN CLUB: Envisioning the garden of your dreams

Paula McCormick delivers pointers for eyeing gardens for efficiency, beauty and pleasure

Cory McInnis | Contributed

As we embark on this new decade, January presents an opportunity, to many gardeners, for a fresh start with big or small projects in the garden.

The Sooke Gardenn Club’s guest speaker, Paula McCormick, will present us with ideas on planning early for a new garden or modifying an old one. McCormick will also guide us through some steps to help with design, or altering our gardens with techniques that will keep us on track.

McCormick’s background is extensive; her work and volunteering has been focused on community, youth and gardens. In 2005, she completed the master gardener program at the Horticulture Centre of the Pacific; she is an active member of Victoria Master Gardener Association and delivers the Growing in our Community school garden program.

McCormick is also part of the Sunriver Community Garden as garden mentor and coordinator for the Grow a Row program for the Sooke Region Food CHI for the past seven years.

McCormick will speak on creating the garden of our dreams, adding plants for size, seasonal interest, low maintenance, food production, water requirements, soil building, top dressing and the issues of our times, such as how climate change and aging effect how we garden.

I am looking forward to McCormick’s talk, as this will be my first time gardening on the West Coast; I am excited, and a little bit overwhelmed, on what to grow.

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There are so many different plants that I have admired from afar so, in anticipation of spring, I started gathering ideas from gardening magazines and Pinterest photos, looking at my neighbours’ yards, and visiting garden centres.

Over the years, each time we moved, the yard and garden have played a big part on whether to buy a house. With the vision of “the garden of my dreams,” there were times when I was lucky to start with a blank slate: a patch of grass ready to be dug up and turned into perennial and vegetable beds, or planting shrubs and trees for interesting background. The possibilities were endless; although, often it came down to how much work I was willing to put in, and what plants were available in the area.

Some of us keep notes, journals, photos, and sketches of our gardens, which help piece together what it means to have our dream garden. Others prefer moving plants, discarding or obliterating species that just don’t appeal anymore.

Please join us on Jan. 22, 7 p.m., at the St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road. Annual membership is $15; new members are welcome. Visit the club’s website at or email us at


Cory McInnis writes for the Sooke Garden Club. Her email is