Sooke Garden Club: All about apples, pears and quinces

Sooke Garden Club invites speaker to monthly meeting on April 22

All about apples

All about apples

Bob Duncan is paying a return visit to the Sooke Garden Club, and that can mean only one thing: another eye-opening presentation about growing fruit trees. This time the focus in on apples, pears, and quinces (and maybe medlars), a family of trees that offer up a bounty of delicious fruit every fall.

When it comes to planting fruit trees in this area, apples are generally the first choice. Pears are a typical second choice, while quinces, which used to be extremely popular throughout Canada, find themselves largely forgotten. As for medlars … well, I can count on two fingers the number of people I know who grow them, and one of them is Bob Duncan!

The trend toward growing food at home is definitely on the upswing, and various reasons are cited: high retail prices in stores, a desire to eat locally grown produce, the ability to control pesticide/herbicide use in food, access to more and preferred varieties, and a wish to be more connected to the land. Seasoned gardeners, however, would likely argue that the absolute best reason to grow your own food is taste: Home-grown fruits and vegetables simply taste so much better than their industrially grown counterparts.

But while home food gardening is increasing, the size of home gardens is decreasing. Seed producers and plant breeders are working hard to respond to (sub)urbanites’ desire to grow food. Fortunately, when it comes to fruit, the availability of good dwarf rootstock means that even small yards, decks, and patios/balconies can accommodate trees and bushes that yield full-size fruit.

Knowing what tree to choose for particular situations – and precisely how to grow it – is Bob Duncan’s forte. Along with wife Verna, Bob owns and runs Fruit Trees and More, a nursery and demonstration orchard in North Saanich. A trained botanist and entomologist with 40+ years’ experience growing fruit trees on Vancouver Island, he currently has over 400 varieties under cultivation on his small property. Some 200 of these are dwarf apples, his specialty, but he is equally recognized for his success in cultivating citrus and hardy sub-tropicals.

Bob will share his knowledge about and experiences with growing apples, pears and quinces. He will pay particular attention to variety selections and to these trees’ cultural requirements. He may even introduce you to medlars.

Join us Wednesday, April 22, 7 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road. New members welcome. Annual fee: $15; guests: $5. It’s also a parlour show month, and contest potatoes will be available. Questions? Visit our website at sookegardenclub.wordpress.com, email sookegardenclub@yahoo.ca, or phone Rose at 250-642-5509.

Mark your calendar now! Sooke Garden Club’s 44th Annual Spring Plant Sale takes place on Saturday, April 25, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., in front of the Evergreen Centre. Shrubs, perennials, annuals, herbs, veggie starters, container plantings … and master gardeners on hand to answer your gardening questions.

Submitted by Loretta Fritz

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Langford Fire Department

The Habitat for Humanity Meaning of Home contest is open to students in Grades 5 to 6. (Screenshot/Habitat for Humanity video)
Habitat for Humanity launches national writing contest

Entries accepted from students in Grades 4 to 6 until Feb. 19

Colwood Fire Rescue is reminding the public to only burn dry, seasoned wood in fireplaces after heavy smoke filled the intersection of Sooke Road and Acacia Drive when a homeowner tried burning a plastic item on Sunday, Jan. 24. (Emily Jessop photo)
Colwood homeowner burns plastic in fireplace, causes emergency response

Colwood Fire Rescue says burn dry, seasoned wood in fireplaces only

A rolled-over car was spotted in a ditch along Sooke Road near the border of Langford on the morning of Sunday, Jan. 24. (Black Press Media photo)
Car ends up in ditch along Sooke Road Sunday morning

Single vehicle spotted rolled-over just after 10 a.m. on Jan. 24

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Most Read