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The Artisan’s Garden will be offering their popular wreath- making classes again for the holiday season on November 30, December 7 and 14. Gwen and her staff foraged extensively to find the freshest, most beautiful greens from their own garden, from friends’ gardens and from the Sooke forests all around them. As well, they have gathered a variety of unique embellishments and ribbons for the occasion, so you’ll have plenty of decorations to choose from as you assemble your creation. There’s hot apple cider and holiday baking on hand to sample as you work!

This highly-anticipated annual Sooke Fine Arts Show gives the finest artists from Vancouver Island and BC’s coastal islands an opportunity to showcase and sell their work.

This year, the Sooke Fine Arts Show is celebrating its 33rd anniversary as Vancouver Island’s longest-running, juried fine art show. Each year between 1200 and 1400 artworks are submitted.

The 11-day art show and sale draw more than 9,000+ art lovers from Canada, the US and abroad. More than 375 works of original island art are on display in a stunning, 16,000-square-foot gallery. The unique artworks encompass 2D, 3D, ceramics and glass, fibre arts, jewelry, and digital and traditional photography.

Ever been to a summer solstice celebration? Well, you’re in for a treat—Sooke style! Gwen Fisher, owner of the Artisan’s Garden & Pure Elements, has assembled a cast of exciting entertainments to make it an evening you are sure to enjoy, with music, food and a fashion show on June 21st.

One thing I’ve learned about Gwen is that she is a diligent collaborator and advocate for local artists and businesses in Sooke. Her upcoming ‘Summer Solstice Ladies Night’ is a good example of how she ‘works’ with others in her community whenever she holds a special event.

The Artisan’s Garden is in bloom for another eventful year. Along with her plants and flowers, Gwen Fisher, the inspiration behind the Artisan’s Gardens in Sooke, seeks out talented, local artisans to intermingle their art, and vintage or repurposed accessories in her garden for all to enjoy. The big event this year is Gwen’s first ‘Summer Solstice Party’ on June 21 with music, a vintage fashion show, and appies. Plus, it’s a fund raiser for the Sooke Transition House. On June 2, her gardens will be a destination spot for the ‘Sooke Secret Garden Tour’. She and her husband Ed will also be hosting Sooke’s ‘Strawberry Tea & Parlour Show’.

Gwen’s fondest memory last year was the joy she experienced watching her granddaughter engage with garden visitors. She also enjoyed the friendly groups who stop by during the day—like the mother’s walking group who come by with their children to sit, relax and sip coffee with neighbours.

With the holiday season right around the corner, why not take advantage of the lull at this time of year to brighten up the encroaching winter season with a holiday wreath. One of the first things I like to do to add charm to my home is a fresh, handmade wreath for my front door. All the fresh foliage, berries, bells and ribbons always create something unique and truly magical every year. Let us show you how it’s done step by step.

Summer sure flies by and the seasons of change seem to remind us of that in our gardens daily. By August, those of us who grow veggies are busy harvesting, canning, freezing, and planning our winter garden. This is the month that winter plants are available in the nurseries. Growing winter veggies means you will have a nice early start for spring harvesting. And, if you let some of them go to seed, you’ll have bee food in abundance! We love letting our purple kale go to seed. Those 8-foot stocks of beautiful yellow flowers attract our pollinators early in the Spring season.

July has arrived along with the challenges of mid-summer garden beds, planters and hanging baskets. Here are a few tips on how we keep things fresh and healthy at Artisan’s Garden. I’m not a horticulturalist, just a passionate gardener with some basic advice for novice gardeners. For example, I did a demonstration to a couple on how to transplant their rootbound annuals by ripping off those twisted roots at the bottom. Obvious to those who have been gardening for a while, but this couple was thrilled with the new information.

Whether it’s a large and ominous stone octopus, a painting of a channel swimmer in stormy water that makes your lungs ache in sympathy, or a funky steam punk bird made of found objects and kiln fired glass, something will make you wonder at the limits of human creativity at the Sooke Fine Arts Show [SFAS] this summer. 2018 will see the SFAS celebrate its 32nd anniversary. This is a community-proud event with a long history of bringing art and culture to the West Shore region. Art lovers from far and wide are welcomed to Sooke for Vancouver Island’s Premier Summer Arts Event held at the SEAPARC Leisure Complex from July 27 to August 6. More than 8,500 attendees are expected to be inspired by the stimulating and inspiring art.

SFAS began as an initiative of the Sooke Region Museum and Sooke Region Historical Society in 1986 with 49 accepted artists. In 2006, the arts event came under the governance of the Sooke Fine Arts Society and continued to grow with 260 artists represented now, and over $12,000 in awards distributed each year.

By June, we are able to enjoy the outdoor living space we have worked so hard to create and breathe in the blooms.

Fresh lettuce from our garden is on our menu and the rest of the veggie garden is beginning to show promise. And at The Artisan’s Garden, we get to help new gardeners plan and prepare, learning from our experience and knowledge.

It’s planting season! All of us here at The Artisan’s Garden are already busy creating the most beautiful hanging baskets and planters for the summer season and for Mother’s Day.

With our greenhouse open now, you can come and create a personal planter or hanging basket of your own design, if you wish. We have a wide variety of healthy plants to choose from and, the best part is, you can leave the mess with us. Mothers, daughters and girl friends make an afternoon of it, while enjoying Mackenzie’s special coffee drinks and sweet treats in our garden. Just give us a couple of hours notice that you’re coming and we’ll be sure to have your planting station organized. After that, it’s up to you. Let your own creativity soar!

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