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Summerland Ornamental Gardens, Rose Order and Pandemic Issues

Well, earlier, on another thread, I asked if y'all would like to hear about the Canadian Heritage Rose Garden in Summerland on this forum. The consensus was yes, so here goes.

In mid March, as the Covid 19 virus began to appear in British Columbia; we, The Friends of The Gardens; were notified that the garden was going to be locked down and there would be no further access for we, the volunteers. This is a bit of a problem, since all of the labour is done by volunteers and three paid gardeners employed by the Friends. Five Grounds Committee members and the three gardeners were given a week to do the essential spring work and to move greenhouse plants that needed care, etc. I personally spent two days pruning more than 300 roses and removing winter mulch from the more tender varieties, but did not finish the job by any means. The rest of the roses will survive. At my age, two days of pruning was a bit of an endurance exercise, especially for my lower back. But never the less it was time and discomfort well spent.

The current situation is that I, as the project manager, have a new rose garden, the Canadian Heritage Rose Garden, half planted. Over 100 new roses were planted last fall. There is also a new, untested irrigation system that was installed last fall. So, the one Government of Canada employee that has access to the 15 acre garden is on his own. Luckily, he is a passionate gardener and good man for the job, including inbstalling irrigation systems.

Now, we are on to the next issue. I have approximately 140 bare root roses arriving from two wholesale nurseries next week. These were ordered last fall. Fortunately, one of the local retail nurseries here in the South Okanagan has come to our rescue and offered to provide potting soil and space for us to pot up the new roses and take care of them at their nursery yard. My crew of rosey volunteers, is also up to the challenge, with stringent social distancing measures to be observed, and we will be potting the new roses up next week. Then, all we need do is care for them until we are allowed back to the Gardens where we can plant them where they belong.

My good rose friend John_ca, also has a significant collection of roses that we collected last year, Paul Barden varieties and rare English Roses that he was planning to send to me this spring for planting in the Gardens as well. Fortunately, the roses John has will remain well cared for in California until the pandemic is under control. "Next year, there is always next year"; that is becoming my mantra for this project.

The other part of the project that is now on hold, is the building of the arbour that will be the center piece of the new rose garden and upon which will be featured Canadian bred cold hardy climbing roses: Isabella Skinner, aka Victorian Memories, Felix LeClerc, and Quadra. I have a plan for the arbour and a retired contractor I know has offerered to build the arbour in his shop. But now that is on hold as is most normalcy in all of our lives.

Finally, we are a volunteer organtization that runs on grants and donations. As with many other charitable organizations, we now have no income. Our spring plant sale is one of our big fund raisers, so we are going to try our luck at on line plant sales for local folk. I will also be putting together a list of roses that we were planning to sell once the new rose are potted up.

So, I and my volunteer colleagues are being taught patience by the preeminent force central to the path of our lives, Some call this unknowable force God, some The Fates, some call it Tao, others the Great Mystery and on it goes according to your own tradition. I don't know who is right, I just know they all are right.

Jesus said: Above the One there is nothing. He is nameless. He sees only himself everywhere. We cannot comprehend him, for he has no images.

The Hindu sacred text the Bhagavad Gita says: Through endless cycles of time, I have resolved all things in Me. Yet I do none of this. I am the watcher who watches the drama unfold.

The Tao Te Ching says: The Tao is a mystery. You cannot see it's coming or going.

May God, The Force, and The Great Mystery be with you all. Stay safe and healthy, and stop to smell the roses forum friends!

William Baffin, Explorer Series at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens.

Cheers, Rick

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