After 15 years, the woman behind the Castlegar & Area Garden Tour is passing the torch.
The 15th annual tour took place on Sunday, and it was Nora Jukes’s final time making it all happen.
“I’ve been delighted to be part of it for so long,” she said. “We’ve been training a new crew to look after things and they’re doing magnificently.”
The tour is put on by the Castlegar Garden Club and each year six to eight gardens are chosen from across the city and surrounding area to be featured. It gives local gardeners a chance to see what others in the area have done and get some inspiration. This year, the tour took sightseers through three gardens in Raspberry to Spirit Square outside City Hall, and from a garden just across from where the Kootenay and Columbia rivers join to three gardens in south Castlegar.
Jukes said she and other organizers usually start touring gardens the July before the next year’s tour, trying to get a sense of what the gardens will look like in late June.
“We had about 40 or 50 hours of going around to various places. Out of the eight gardens that we chose, we had a possibility of about 45 that we looked at,” she explained.
Organizers try to make sure that there are no repeats within a five-year period, but after that gardens can make a second or third appearance. One such garden on the tour this year was Kat and Bruce Enns’.
“It had been on the garden tour about five or six years ago and Kate Enns retired from being an ecologist/biologist this last year, and so when we asked her, in a very week moment she said yes,” said Jukes.
The Enns’ garden circles all four sides of their home. In the backyard, there is a deck where the Wind River Quartet played during the tour, as well as a koi pond and green house. There’s also an additional deck overlooking a beautiful view of the Columbia River and a zigzag path that leads down near the riverbank where there’s a second, wilder garden.
“We’re so fortunate to have this as a showplace on our garden tour,” said Jukes.
And the Enns were just one of the families that invited Castlegar residents and visitors to come into their gardens.
“It’s so wonderful to see everyone stepping up to the plate and being so gracious with their hospitality of opening their gardens today,” said Jukes.
Now that this year’s event is over, she looks forward to pursuing other interests and spending some time in her own garden.