MARS garden tour hits the Island on May 12

Qualicum Beach gardeners to show off the beauty of spring blossoms

There are large gardens, small gardens, sunny gardens and shade gardens, but one thing that unites all 14 gardens on display at the Mount Arrowsmith Rhododendron Society’s (MARS)  Mother’s Day Garden Tour, is that they are all beautiful gardens.

That’s the opinion of MARS organizer Maralyn Dawson.

“Part of the idea is to show the beauty of gardening,” Dawson said. “Green space is very important an d people who are proud of their gardens usually like to share them with other people.”

The featured gardens, which, stretch from Qualicum Beach to French Creek, were chosen by a committee as being among the best of the best, virtually guaranteeing a visual feast to those who take part in the May 12 event.

“In the fall, one of two members of the committee will go around and look at the gardens,” she said.

“We select the area we want to concentrate on and then we look them up, look them over and make sure they are easy to access, there is enough parking and it’s appealing for many reasons.”

Dawson said two of the gardens chosen have lovely ocean views and one has a mountain view, but it’s the blossoms, arrangements and creativity down on the ground that really count.

“We have some very small gardens that are so well thought out that they look like little rooms,” Dawson said.

“There are also large gardens and a couple that are relatively new that were done by experienced gardeners that you would think had been there for a long, long time.”

Dawson said the self-guided tour usually attracts 300 people, but noted that 500 tickets have been printed, so there’s no fear of being left out. All funds raised go to promote horticultural activities in the area, including a bursary for a horticulture student at Vancouver Island University.

Tickets can be picked up for $15 at at local nurseries and Mulberry Bush Bookstores.