Garden and Nature Fest returns

Gardeners and nature lovers from around the region will want to mark down Castlegar’s May 14 Garden and Nature Fest, while vendors and non-profit organizations are currently being sought by event organizers.

Heather Glyn of Nelson shows off some of the flowers at last year’s Castlegar Garden and Nature Fest. Organizers say they do things a little differently than other garden festivals

Heather Glyn of Nelson shows off some of the flowers at last year’s Castlegar Garden and Nature Fest. Organizers say they do things a little differently than other garden festivals

Gardeners and nature lovers from around the region will want to mark down Castlegar’s May 14 Garden and Nature Fest, while vendors and non-profit organizations are currently being sought by event organizers.

Heather McSwan, the festival chairperson and an active member in the Castlegar Garden Club — presenting the event in partnership with Communities in Bloom — said this is the second annual festival to focus on both gardens and nature.

“There are a couple other fests in May in the Kootenays, but ours is a little bit different,” McSwan said, referring to the Nelson Garden Festival on May 7, Kaslo’s garden celebration on May 23, and New Denver’s on May 28.

The focus is on gardening, McSwan said, but also anything to do with sustainable living, from composting and growing the garden to going on nature walks and engaging in conservation projects.

“Sometimes as gardeners we can take a narrow view on the plants,” she said. “We forget about the bugs and bees, water issues, hybrids and invasives … we’re encouraging a wider worldview of your garden.”

McSwan expects a wide variety of non-profits to participate, from wilderness societies and conservation groups to the invasive weed committee and friends of parks and trails.

Belly dancers and musicians are slated to entertain the crowd and food will be on sale in addition to the plants and art. Many plants will be on sale, from trees and perennial shrubs to vegetable starts. Other treasures will range from mosaics and metalwork to herbs and tinctures.

“Last year was a big success and we hope for the same this year,” McSwan said.

Vendors will pay a $30 fee for a table, but space is provided free to non-profit organizations.

A long time gardener, McSwan is now establishing a nursery, the Bee Glade Farm, so-named for the huge local population of wild bees that McSwan and her family encourage.

McSwan said “gardens and nature are good for the soul. It’s so important. It’s good for the environment and feeding yourself, but it also makes better people, happier people.”

“The more people that know and care about the different aspects of the environment, the better,” she said.

The Castlegar Garden Club is an active group that encourages gardening in the area, from the adopt a road program to guest speakers and plant sales (including one on May 7.)

Castlegar’s chapter of Communities in Bloom strives to green Castlegar as part of a nation-wide beautification contest that encourages municipalities to create and improve their landscape design.

The festival will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the shores of the Columbia River, at the Twin Rivers Park and Millennium Walkway (110 – 5th St.) in Castlegar.

For more information, contact 250-399-4439 or write to castlegargardenfest@shaw.ca.