VIDEO, PHOTOS, STORY: Touring the gardens of Rupert’s best green thumbs

Guests at the tea party enjoyed a robust sampling of carefully prepared treats, along with tea and coffee. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
A view of the city was one of the offerings for guests. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Sweets, savouries and snacks were all available at the tea. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Fawcett and all of the volunteers worked hard on both preparation and plating. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
For any true ‘English Tea’, the fine china is a must have. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
The Garden Club is responsible for the upkeep of the Sunken Gardens. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Deanna McNish (left) explains some of the ways she maintains her garden to visitors. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
A winged guest stops by for the tour. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Sharon and John Trew’s house features a pair of crows that keep watch over the front yard. One minds the bench… (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
… while the other observes from the ground. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
John Trew explains how he enlists worms to assist in his composting system. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Steve Barre talks about all the garden that he and his wife Kristen maintain has to offer, including a doll house and fig tree. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Kim Lawson’s backyard garden contained a variety of treasures, including this greenhouse. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Dolly Harasym (right) shares the secret of how her fruits and vegetables are flourishing. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Harasym’s apple tree is of particular talk around town. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
Nikki Harrington’s backyard offers many places to sit and relax and reflect. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
A number of funky structures adorn Harrington’s backyard space. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)
(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

Rupertities donned their Sunday best this past weekend as hundreds of garden enthusiasts took part in the annual Prince Rupert Garden Club’s Garden Tour and Tea.

The event has become a can’t miss tradition among the town’s green thumbs, who spent the afternoon touring half a dozen show gardens before attending a tea party at Andrée Fawcett’s house — which itself boasts a yard worthy of the tour.

Fawcett is the president of the Garden Club and project manager of the town’s iconic Sunken Gardens, which the club has been in charge of maintaining since 2003. In addition to showing off gardening tips and techniques, the tour acts as the major fundraiser of the year for the club to raise money for the landmark.

READ MORE: Heart of our City: Andree Fawcett puts her green thumb to use

“We started doing the garden tour many years ago because so many people were coming up to the garden club members and saying comments like you can’t grow anything in Prince Rupert,” Fawcett said. “So we decided, it’s time to show and tell.”

“It’s really inspired a lot of gardeners to take up gardening, or to tweak their gardens and get new ideas. That’s one of the main reasons we started it, and then it developed into a fundraiser for the Sunken Gardens,” Fawcett explained.

The gardens featured on the tour spanned from Omineca Ave. to 11th Ave. East, each featuring its own aesthetic. From Sharon and John Trew’s worm-based compost system, to Dolly Harasym’s fruit and vegetable array, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

“We’re not looking for the perfect garden, this is not Victoria,” Fawcett said, referencing what are generally seen as the premier gardens in the province.

Andrée Fawcett’s backyard patio provided a scenic setting for the event. (Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

READ MORE: Tips for North Coast gardeners

“We’re looking for gardens that are unique. Everybody’s got a different style of gardening, so we’re always looking for ideas that we can take away from someone’s garden.”

Equally as extravagant was the tea party that took place when everyone had finished the tour. Fawcett’s 1920s-era home serves as the perfect setting for the gathering.

(Alex Kurial / The Northern View)

“We decided many years ago when we were doing this that we were going to have the proper English tea,” explained Fawcett. Her and a group of volunteers spent the morning preparing enough treats to satisfy the crowd that would soon fill her house — a crowd that has come to eagerly anticipate the offerings at the yearly gathering.

For Fawcett and the Garden Club it’s now back to work on the Sunken Gardens, while no doubt also thinking ahead to what should be featured on next year’s tour.

READ MORE: Growing together: Overlook Street gets a community garden


Alex Kurial | Journalist
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