Community

Aldergrove Fair prepares for second annual fundraising garden tour

Aldergrove Fair is seeking gardens appropriate to add to this year’s fundraising garden tour. The tour is June 17 and 18, but deadline to enter a local garden into the tour is March 31. - Special to the Langley Advance
Aldergrove Fair is seeking gardens appropriate to add to this year’s fundraising garden tour. The tour is June 17 and 18, but deadline to enter a local garden into the tour is March 31.
— image credit: Special to the Langley Advance

Kurt Langmann & Roxanne Hooper
Black Press

Yes, it is still technically winter for a few more hours, but this frequently nasty weather will eventually pass and spring will show itself for more than a few hours here and there.

Despite the weather, dedicated gardeners are already planning and planting their gardens.

And appropriately so, at the same time, Aldergrove Fair Days organizers are on the hunt for a range of local gardens – from small to large, whimsical to formal, urban to rural – that can be featured in the second annual Aldergrove Fair garden tour fundraiser.

What better way to celebrate the fair’s long history and the community’s rich rural heritage, than with a garden tour, said coordinator Robin Bandenieks.

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This time out, however, there will be a few changes from the inaugural event held last June, she explained.

This year’s garden tour will be extended over two days, and the air-conditioned bus will be given up in favour of offering a more flexible, self-directed format to the garden tours, she said.

The changes means that this year’s ticketholders receive a map to each garden, along with information on the time each garden is open to visitors on both Saturday and Sunday, June 17 and 18.

Eliminating the bus will mean more money goes to the fundraising efforts and also allow organizers to select gardens farther afield than just the Aldergrove area – as required during the inaugural run last year.

“The coach was expensive, using up half the funds earned. It was booked to ensure there was a restroom always available, but it was never used,” Bandenieks said.

She noted that last year’s event raised $1,800 for the fair, and this year she anticipates the garden tour will raise well in excess of $2,000.

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“Funds raised will go towards the agricultural side of Aldergrove’s annual Fair Days e.g, exhibits hall and prizes and for decorating the fairgrounds,” she noted.

The new format could also translate to more participation. Last year’s tour attracted 60 guests, plus 15 volunteers – numbers restricted in part by bus capacity.

“Last year each guest was asked to complete a questionnaire about the tour and their responses are guiding the choices of format and types of gardens picked for the 2017 tour,” Bandenieks said.

“Many people commented about the camaraderie of gardeners on the coach. However, some people wished to drive themselves and spend more time at gardens they were particularly interested in.”

The questionnaire also revealed a desire by participants to see a mix of large and small gardens, Bandenieks said noting several of last year’s gardens were large estate gardens and acreages.

Likewise, many people said they were tired after visiting all six gardens, hence the organizing committee is considering fewer gardens this time out.

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Each garden was selected for its unique qualities last year, and the same will be the case this time out, Bandenieks said.

And in an effort to mix things up, and to give returning tour participants a new selection, the fair is looking for different gardens for 2017.

“We don’t want too many of the same type in any one year,” Bandenieks said, encouraging garden owners to see the applications form to better understand the requirements for the event.

To “Show ‘n Share” a beautiful garden with like-minded gardeners and other enthusiasts the garden must be located within either the Township of Langley, Langley City, or West Abbotsford.

“We would like to include gardens on commercial sites, as these may be of interest to other businesses looking to enhance their street presence by offering green space to their customers to enjoy,” Bandenieks added.

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Deadline to complete an application form is March 31. Why so early, Bandenieks queried? Because each garden must be approved, guide book and maps drawn up, then tickets sold.

Further questions? Please contact organizers Robin Bandenieks and Suzanne Robinson at gardentour@aldergrovefair.ca.

The garden tour is a fundraiser for Aldergrove Fair Days coming up on July 14, 15 and 16, with this year’s fair theme of “Flower Power”.

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