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Saturna & Mayne School Gardens Adventure

Springtime glory across the Gulf Islands--with a solo Saturday camp-over on Saturna, and a Tuesday morning visit to Galiano--is a perfect time to get inspired by school gardens.


After a busy and social Earth Day week planting trees and more, I needed some 'lone time in Nature to recharge, so, encouraged by my family, I hopped a couple ferries over to Saturna to soak it in.

It's been such weird times, so chatting in the sunshine with a lady lawyer travelling (to make house-calls) in her pristine orange VW bus on the way over, felt like old times and a good portend of things to come.

After stocking up on fresh food and a good novel at the Market, lunch on top of the world amongst old-growth and goat herds at the TV tower, and exploring East Point, serenaded by roaring sea-lions, it was time to visit the garden.

Saturna is blessed with stunning natural splendour, plus beautifully cared-for community gardens on the schoolgrounds. All around Saturna, garden fences, raised beds, and fertile garden soil similar to the school/community garden are seen on many properties (is Al Stonehouse behind these all?) Brilliantly, fruit trees around this garden can be sponsored in memory of a loved one, and this year a new sapling was planted on the school lawn. Next to the school building, a new event tent and picnic table adds versatile outdoor shelter, and students have weeded and re-planted the pollinator/herb flower bed facing the playground, and it looks great!

Afterwards, it was time to cool off in the ocean and warm up on a sandy beach, followed Lighthouse fare, and sunset & sleep in Echo Bay. Next day, after a morning coffee chat with the guys on the General Store porch, it was time to head home...saving SEEC for another magical stop by.


The connector ferry home from Saturna gives you an hour and a half stop-over on Mayne Island, so after purchasing tomato, flowers, and garden huckleberry starts at school garden champion, Selena Flood's celestial farmstand, I cruised by the garden to take a quick peek at the latest haps.

The photos above tell the story of much weeding, greenhouse starts, new plantings, and an active and well-run compost system (that we could learn from). It was strange to see the garden gate locked, and maybe there's a story there. They have such nice mature perennials and trees around the space, with apple trees, clematis and Mexican orange in bloom, giant rhubarb leaves, and home-made Mason bee homes hanging on the fence (though not the kind you can clean). Whenever I visit, I imagine the sandbox enclosed in the garden space to add a gathering spot, digging and playspace alongside garden work, and for get kids in-and-out of the garden more often. There's a lot we could learn from this space, with innovative wicking beds, stump seats, and a soil-building system and I wonder if they also compost paper towels and who's teaching what about the magical process of decomposition into new life.

For the Galiano School Garden visit story, go here:


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