Our Vision Statement
“A botanical garden that is a community treasure, a source of beauty and learning, raising awareness of the importance of plants in supporting all life.”
Our Mission Statement
“To create a Pacific Northwest Botanical Garden that inspires and engages the community in plant appreciation and acts as a catalyst for learning and research about horticulture, conservation and land stewardship.”
2014-2015: Growing, Changing, Blossoming
In 2013/14, the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden began four major projects.
In June of 2013 we officially opened the Rainforest Grove, the first of four phases of the Native Plant Garden. This past winter we completed the Bruce & Lis Welch & Family Rainforest Platform at the edge of Wakefield Creek, bringing striking views of the ravine into sight. This very moist area is a favourite spot to take in the appealing greens of the mossy, ferny Rainforest, a cool place to sit and rest during summer heat, and an outstanding place for family or wedding photos.
Work began in July 2013 on the next two phases of the – the Rain Shadow area and new Pond/Wetland. Rain Shadow refers to the drier coastal regions, such as Garry Oak meadows, and rocky outcroppings along the Sunshine Coast. To simulate this microclimate, two large berms were created to give the oaks and arbutus trees better drainage. Watch for many spring wildflowers and plants that thrive in rock crevices as this area is planted.
The newly-dug Pond and Wetland saw birds, amphibians and insects beginning to move in almost immediately. Many plants native to our region will be added in 2014 on land, in shallow water, and especially along the wet margins. This will be a hub of biodiversity. People of all ages will be better able to observe the diverse aquatic life when funds are available to build boardwalks and a bridge
A Rhododendron Garden is now well underway, thanks to a donation of over 50 mature rhododendrons, some very rare, and all very special, the gift of plant donors Alleyne and Barbara Cook of North Vancouver. Many more rhododendrons are expected in fall 2014 and beyond. This woodland area has interest in all seasons, with shrubs in bloom much of the year.
We’ve also added more habitats recently for wild pollinators, bats, mason bees and of course, birds.
History: 2002 – 2013
The Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden Society was formed in 2002, quickly receiving legal status as a registered charity, and non-profit society. We searched for land from Egmont to Port Mellon, and in 2008, first viewed what became our permanent home. In the interim, we built up a membership to 750, held numerous educational events, plant sales, and garden tours. In 2003, we created the Native Plant Demonstration Garden in Sechelt, and in 2005, contributed plants and volunteer labour to establish the garden at the Seaside Centre. We first viewed the 40-acre farm on Mason Road in Sechelt in January 2008, with purchase completed July 1, 2009 using privately donated money and obtaining a mortgage.
Basic infrastructure was built in 2009 – 2010 with help of government grants (Federal, Provincial, Municipal and Regional), many private donations from our members and others, as well as in-kind donations from many local businesses.
Volunteers have created and tended the Veggy Patch, the garden at the Sparling Pavilion, controlling invasive plants, and opening up the paths. Thousands of visitors come to the Garden each year now, for special events, workshops for gardeners of all ages and levels, for public and private events, and to tour or simply enjoy the beautiful natural setting. We also have opened a family Picnic ‘n’ Play area, and an events lawn.
The Future: 2015 and Beyond
In the coming years, we expect to add more extensive permanent interpretive signage, a more welcoming entrance experience, more benches and places for people. We’ll link the Sparling Pavilion lawn with the new Pond, and add a water channel to keep the pond filled during droughty summers.
Several other plant collections and garden areas are under discussion, and are dependant on funding becoming available. The double row of Himalayan birch will inspire an allée path. A sturdy old hoop house may become a remote indoor/outdoor classroom and interpretive area. We would like to develop a Quiet Garden, a place for celebrations of life, intimate weddings, remembrance, meditation or other ways to experience the healing power of nature. The possibilities are exciting.
There are several keys to the approach our garden-planning takes. We wish to demonstrate sustainable, organic horticultural practices on our shoe-string budget as an inspiration to all gardeners and landscapers. We take inspiration from the land itself, its history as a forest (logged about one hundred years ago), a food farm, and latterly as a tree farm. We protect and enhance the biodiversity already present, including rare and familiar plants suitable to our changing climate.
Our aim is to increase awareness of our richly varied and precious Nature heritage, especially plants. We hope to share our inspiration with every resident of the Sunshine Coast as well as the many visitors and tourists who come. Signage, programming and other interpretation will be crucial to appreciating our plants and their stories.
If you would like to find out more about supporting the Garden with a one-time or monthly donation, please click here.