The Lacombe and District Garden Club may be 67-years-old but it’s now in full bloom with many new members and a new generation taking an interest in all things that grow in the fertile Lacombe and region soil.
On Tuesday night, a group of approximately 30 members and guests gathered for the second mini garden tour of the season. The group visited three members’ magical yards in Lacombe during the evening.
As the group browsed the yards, examining plants and admiring roses, one thing was evident — the growing Club is passionate about plants and sharing their knowledge.
“The younger generation is coming up,” explained past president and garden club member Edie Beach. “It’s really good. There is interest in the gardening end of it. Growing your own food is really coming back and it’s really awesome to see that. They really want to learn and get different ideas.”
Beach said that although she’s been with the Club for countless years, she is still learning more with each and every yard she visits. “At a yard yesterday, I saw a plant, and I said whoa! Where did you get that one from?” she said. “I’ve seen stuff in my yard that can be invasive and then I see it in someone else’s yard where it is not. I’m always learning something new.”
Part of the purpose of the mini yard tours and the other activities the group hosts during the growing season is to share ideas. “We have a lot of events in the evening to get the younger ones out and it really is to get design ideas,” said Beach. “And also to see what is grown, how can you grow this there or not. It’s not necessarily just gardens. It’s yards.”
The Club hosts speakers and smaller events from March to November. During the summer months (June, July and August) the group hosts mini yard tours and their signature fundraising tour, the Hidden Treasures Yard Tour.
This year, in its 14th year, the yard tour is self-guided. Before the tour was ran on a bus, taking attendees as a group around for three hours to browse all of the featured yards.
This year, the tour features six yards plus a bonus yard for dahlia enthusiasts. The yards are all within the City of Lacombe and most are hidden from plain street view. To see the hidden treasures beyond the fence, you must attend.
“The route is too big to walk, but really you are going from 49th Ave. up to Johnson Ave. So the yards are in between that,” said Beach.
How the Club and committee members find out about the beautiful yards in the Lacombe area and which yards to feature in the tour is by driving around and through word of mouth.
“They (homeowners) will happen to mention or some of them will call you up and want to share their yard, indicating they want to be on the tour,” said Beach. “We also have landscapers that will share and we do cold calls. We will walk right up, knock on their door and express who we are.”
The yards in Lacombe are quiet diverse, including the yards featured in the tour that showcase water features, specific types of plants, unique layouts and rose gardens. Attendees should allow themselves two and half hours to complete their self-guided tour.
“This way, you are not really on a timeline,” explained Beach. “There might be some yards you are wanting to spend more time in and talk to the homeowner.”
The homeowner will be present at each stop along with Club members to answer any questions about the plants or yard.
“There is so much beauty here,” said Beach of the Lacombe area. “We called it Hidden Treasures because it’s incredible some of the yards and the time that people put into their yards – really it is showing their love of nature and beauty.”
The Lacombe and District Garden Club consists of approximately 30 members of all different ages.
For Marj Dubuc, one of the longest-standing members, the Club is a social outlet and a lot of fun.
“My neighbour said come along, so I joined,” she said of the start of her involvement with the Club over 40-years-ago. Dubuc first viewed the popular Rose and Lily show, which she thought was beautiful and enticed her to join.
Much is the same for Co-President Pamela Neumann. She first became involved with the Club after seeing the Rose and Lily show in 2007.
“It was the first thing I saw of the Garden Club,” she said. “Then I learned about the Hidden Treasures Yard Tour and decided to continue on.
“Our demographic is very diverse. We are really growing right now. By and large, we have one of the biggest growing demographics. There are tons of younger people coming in.”
Neumann noted lots of younger people are taking up gardening as a hobby and are interested in beautifying their new homes or growing their own food.
“There are just so many new gardeners out there,” she said.
During Lacombe Days, the Garden Club’s annual Rose and Lily Show will run this Saturday. Visitors to the County Room in the Lacombe Memorial Centre can browse the large array of roses and lilies from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Visitors can vote for their favourites and enter for door prize draws. The Rose and Lily show is free to attend.
“We usually get over 300 people coming through the show that day,” explained Beach.
The 14th annual Hidden Treasures Yard Tour will be held this, July 26th. Yards are open to ticket holders from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets must be purchased in advance ($20 per person) and are still available at Hannas Seeds (5039-49th St.)
For more information on the tour call 403-789-0400.