For many islanders John and Josephine Riley’s five-acre orchard needs no introduction. For the non-initiated, this month’s open garden is an opportunity not to be missed. The Rileys have sold their beloved orchard and will soon be leaving us after 28 creative years developing one of Canada’s finest collections of apple trees. It could be your last opportunity to talk to them.
The property nestles up against the south slope of Mt. Gardener. At this time of the year the slope bakes in the sun. However, a creek and pond provide irrigation water, which is distributed throughout the terraces that run down the hillside.
“For those interested in something different, there is a living museum of rare apple varieties collected over several decades,” says John. “Most of them are trained using the oblique cordon method, i.e., growing on a 45 degree angle and about 26 inches apart.
“The orchard includes pears, quince, figs, almonds, and even a medlar (native to Iran).”
The upper part of the property is dedicated to a rock garden and a large number of specialty rhododendron plantings.
Scattered throughout the property you will find many ornamental streets and shrubs now 25 years on from their origins in two-gallon pots.
Join us to celebrate what will possibly be the last bounty of the season in one of Bowen Island’s most beautiful properties.
The club’s open garden will be at 620 Laura Road on Sunday, September 16, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Non-members are welcome to join us for a small admission fee. The cost of a full membership is only a little more, and can be bought on-site. Refreshments are provided at no extra charge.