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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!

There is something about spring that’s so lovable. What’s not to love about getting outdoors—in the longer-lasting, sunny days of spring—without having to suit up. Life in the spring lane means I notice things more—or maybe there is just more to notice—like the sounds of returning birds and happy pond frogs or quick sightings of baby bunnies, ducklings, and frolicking squirrels.

And the colour of spring! Is there anything more hopeful than the singular spring colours in the leaves and grass and fields? My spirits rise when flowers start to bloom. Without a really fixed plan to do so, I find myself echoing the bright aura of their colour pallet, shedding my taupe, black, brown and greys for vibrant reds, yellows, purples and sky-blues.

I know for sure that I get more done in the spring. It’s easier for me to revitalize my exercise regimen when I use nature as my outdoor gymnasium. Spring is the time to live in the sunshine, eat outside and drink in the air.

If ever there were a time for urban gardeners to plant a big vegetable garden, it’s this year—especially with produce prices forecast to rise dramatically and recent concerns about how climate change will be affecting agricultural supply systems.

Wherever you live, there is always a way to accommodate grow spaces where you can plant vegetables, like the front yard, back yard, laneways, pots on balconies, in nearby unused areas or allotment spaces. Concentrate on high-value crops that are pricey to buy, but easy to grow.

We hope these 7 Reasons Reasons to Grow Your Own Food will motivate more people to become Urban Gardeners!

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.

I need you to stop what you’re doing right now and pay attention. If you’re prone to fainting, please sit comfortably in a chair. If you happen to have one of those foil blankets meant for emergencies, maybe grab that, too. What I’m about to say may shock you.

You’re gardening wrong and you probably always have been.

Are you there? Are you still with me? You know how every season you dig up your gardening beds and fluff them around? You spend hours bent over a gardening fork or shovel flipping, slicing and turning the soil because it’s easier for plants’ roots to maneuver through tilled soil? And you do it because it aerates the soil and allows water to run through it more smoothly?

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.

When it’s cool outdoors, I love to walk through an old greenhouse and feel the warmth around me. Slatted wooden benches, a hard-packed dirt floor, rusty heating pipes and, of course, plants all add to the pleasure. Throw in an old chair and a cup of tea and I’m a child again— back in my uncle’s greenhouse watching his tomatoes grow. It’s the all-pervading earthiness, combined with nostalgia- inducing fragrances, that evoke these feelings. To me, a greenhouse is such a comfortable place to be.

Around this time of year, I begin to think, boy, it sure would be nice to have a greenhouse in my backyard. I do have a small one, but it’s just something I knock together every April to hold seedlings prior to planting, little more than a glorified cold frame. So, why don’t I have a real greenhouse in my back yard? I’m not sure. Just haven’t got around to it, no space available, not cost effective. These are the usual excuses, but they aren’t very strong ones.

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.

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