GWA Region 7
April 15 -19, 2004
Qualicum Beach BC


Day 1
Day 2
Day 3

Vancouver Island Meeting A Success
 -- click here for a recap by
Margaret Cadwaladr
Meeting Organizer

Getting together for these meetings is always a fun time and this one was no exception.  Because our region covers Canada and International, meetings like this one gives us all the chance to catch up with each other.  Having regional meetings across Canada like we do gives us the opportunity to meet those on the east coast, in central Canada and now on the west coast.  It brings our world just a bit closer…

Art Drysdale met Larry Hodgson and myself at the Nanaimo airport Thursday afternoon and then took us on a bit of a tour before ending up at the garden of Dr. Mark Nixon and his wife.  They have quite a shaded piece of property but it is made very bright and cheerful with the addition of many rhododendrons.  It was a wonderful place to visit full of spring bulbs and rhododendrons in full display.  What I especially enjoyed was the moss lawn.  Now I know I will get many people telling me that they are always wanting to get rid of this, but when you live in a place like this, why would you fight nature?  It looked so beautiful and with the clumps of bulbs poking through it was rather magical.  It was very kind of him to show us his garden and we thank him for his hospitality…



Next we were off to Art’s new home – they are still in the process of renovating the garden – does that ever end?   I have included a few pictures here…the door with the wreath is the office of Art, (this door was the original door to the cottage) the other door is to their home…the carving on this door is beautiful and done by a local artisan.  There is a wonderful little greenhouse there that will be brimming with plants very soon and a brand new coat of paint, plus the view to die for…this pretty little grouping of tulips that Charlie the deer hasn’t nibbled on yet...  Larry is in their living room – camera in hand as usual.   Their place is very cosy and bright as you can see …this old sink was found on the property – about 12 or 16” deep, what a find…


Then we were off to the Macclure House Inn, in Parksville for dinner.  I had shrimp and scallops in a lobster sauce with caesar salad and garlic toast.  It was wonderful! The ambiance there was very warm and the service was very attentive.  Make sure you visit them when you are in the area.  Macclure House Inn is also a B & B with cottages right on Rathtrevor Beach.  A wonderful choice Art!  I have taken a picture of the front and back of the place plus one looking down over the cottages out to the beach.


Now it was time to check into our hotel in Qualicum Beach for our meeting.  The Qualicum Heritage Inn has a wonderful history behind it and was a great choice because our rooms either faced towards the ocean or had a fireplace in their room.  Mine faced the ocean as you can see by the picture of my room.

‘Qualicum Heritage Inn is an historic building. Originally built in 1935 as a boys' private boarding school, it was purchased in 1970 and turned into an Inn. Even now many of the 'old boys' return, proudly wearing the school colors, to walk among the old schooldays' memorabilia and reminisce of a time that can never return.

The chandelier that welcomed the boys coming home from cricket games still graces the lobby, and the school crest is inlaid into the entrance floor, calling on arriving guests to "Seek the Light". Not to be missed, the Old Boys Gallery just off the lobby shows pictures of each class during the years the school was in operation.‘


Friday morning -  following registration – it is noted that Tourism British Columbia  gave each one of us a beautiful bag that will be a constant reminder of our visit. …our meeting starts with Margaret bringing greetings and then telling us about Milner Gardens and Woodland and the history surrounding it..  Margaret wrote the book called ‘In Veronica’s Garden’.  I would urge you to go and get this book and discover the gardens magic and history for yourself.  As you can see from the photo, the Milner’s had many guests including Prince Charles and Princess Diana, Arthur Erickson, the Westons.  Veronica was 89 when she passed away and was quite the source of information to Margaret when putting this book together.  Those of you in the Edmonton area may recall that Ray Milner was a prominent lawyer here…that is who Veronica was married to.

Margaret and Jim Cadwaladr were the hosts of this regional meeting and they have put together a great showcase of gardens and sights for us to visit….as you will discover.

Jim spoke for a few minutes on the new Vancouver Island Garden Association Member Gardens.  These are garden owners and nurseries who have made their gardens more accessible by banding together to promote each other.  There are 19 members in total right now and growing every year.  You can find out more about them by visiting their site at   This I think is a great idea and I wish more provinces would do this…and have these available on line so that when you are planning to take a trip you can find out what you want to do before you even leave home!

After this, we boarded our coach to head off to Milner Gardens (which was so close we could have walked)  I took a picture of our coach waiting outside the Inn along with some pictures of the Inn itself…set on wonderful grounds with many large trees and shrubs.

Milner Gardens starts out with us listening to Jim and Jeff Ball giving us a bit of history on the gardens before we walk through a wonderful little forest area to get to the main gardens.  Do you see where we are standing on this round walkway?  Well the picture just after the Eagle Tree is the actual nest and the walkway is an approximate size of what this nest is up in the tree…so many things to discover in an old growth forest…as you can see the house sits in a perfect spot to capture the essence of the gardens and the view beyond.  We had a wonderful lunch put on by Milner and you could see why so many people enjoyed coming here to visit the Milners.   There is a picture of most of us on the steps..some were out taking pictures!  Do you see that tree that has been burned..?  I guess a huge fire swept through here more than two hundred years ago and there are a few trees that have this on their bark.  That tree that we are standing by is the second largest if you can imagine.  The largest one is the one with the sign in front of it…you cannot even see where it goes into the soil! 

A beautiful garden to visit – do make sure you put it on your list if you are out this way!  They have many things planned during the open garden season including a new area where they can now teach children to garden on their own terms…



After a wonderful lunch and a bit more time to take pictures and of course check out the gift shop, we boarded our coach for a short tour of Qualicum Beach and the award winning Communities in Bloom gardens.  Now you will have to forgive some of these shots.  I was on the coach at the time and rather than just delete them decided to keep them in and let you know that they were taken in motion…so you might see spots of rain or a hazy picture, but at least you can get an idea of what we saw…Marlys Diamond was our extraordinary guide on this tour…she is very involved in C in Bloom herself and gave us a top notch tour of different areas of Qualicum Beach.  For starters QB has about 7500 permanent residents and they are mostly retired as this is really a retirement community.  (that was very evident to me by watching the people on the golfcourse!) 

Qualicum Beach encourages its business owners to live where they work, so there are quite a few who live above the shops.

We toured the Estates area where their backyards face onto a golfcourse and it looked as though each garage had a golfcart.  The Evergreens area with its manicured homes and very delightful front gardens all in bloom.  Also an area that the Judges love visiting is the strata homes with their tiny perfectly groomed gardens.  Judges Row held some of the earliest cottages in QB and by our standards some of these could be mansions.  One of the homes that you can see through the coach window is that of Bloedel I believe.  A nice little tiny cottage!  They property is divided up with a road through it.  Each property has beach front where they have tailored this to suit their needs with things like benches or perhaps even spots to play games.  We also toured a B & B called Blue Willow where the owners, John and Arlene England showed us around their beautiful gardens.  This is a delightful B & B and I encourage any of you coming out this way to check them out.  They have a website at   I absolutely loved the little birdhouse and the benches are actually old church pews that have been painted bright colours.  I have taken a picture of Janet Davis getting ready to snap a picture of this beautiful rhododendron that you see here.

The table where you see some of us sitting prior to dinner was our first evening sponsored dinner put together by Oceanside Tourism.  The fellow that you see facing the camera is Geoffrey Corbett, Tourism Marketing Manager.  He is very involved in promoting this wonderful area and all of the events that happen during the seasons.  I was so surprised and happy to see that they are also very big into promoting gardening and Communities in Bloom.  A wonderful tourist destination and for more information on this area visit their site at




  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row