Sooke Garden Club: All about apples, pears and quinces

Sooke Garden Club invites speaker to monthly meeting on April 22

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

Just Posted

Second co-housing community planned for Sooke

Community described as a ‘new way of living’

Langford mayor says City threatened during meeting over speculation tax

Stew Young says he wants Langford exempt from tax

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Victoria invited to get a closer look at Sunday’s lunar eclipse

Special event allows public to view the moon through UVic telescopes

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Wind, tides could combine for 7-metre Long Beach waves Saturday

Extreme wave hazard warning at the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Vancouver Island dog walker accosted by man with bear spray

Woman figures man is afraid of dogs after latest in string of Comox Valley incidents

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

Parents in this B.C. city can no longer opt kids out of class for personal beliefs

Change comes as part of ‘big overhaul’ of school district’s learning resources policy approved by board

BC Hydro scammers bilked customers out of nearly $45,000 in 2018

Nearly 2,000 people reported scams to the utility, as they continue to be more common

Good news: Peak flu season over in B.C.

B.C. Centre for Disease Control says that while peak season is over, rates remain high this time of year

Vancouver Island conservancy group calls for government to shut down Georgia Strait herring roe fishery

DFO says extensive research is done annually before setting a maximum harvest rate

B.C. woman posts to Facebook after she and nephew reported missing for days

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

Most Read