You’re Invited to a Party

You’re Invited to a Party

By Kathryn Pankowski

Not, I’m afraid, a party of the classic holiday sort, filled to the brim with home baking and aslosh with eggnog. Gardeners have somewhat quaint tastes in festivities, and our idea of a good time involves digging holes in (probably muddy) lawns on a December day in order to plant James Bay’s new food trees.

If this sounds like your idea of fun, please come join us on Wednesday, December 6 at 10 am. We’ll be starting at Charles Redfern Commons, on Quebec Street near the intersection with Pendray, and then moving over to Todd Parkette on Montreal Street to add two more apple trees to the ‘orchardette’ by the tennis courts. Come and help plant if you feel energetic, or just drop by for a chat, to heckle, or to welcome our newest green and leafy residents.

What are we planting? At Todd Parkette, we’re adding Spartan and Fuji apples, two mid- to late-season varieties to complement the three early- to mid-season sorts we planted last year. The idea, of course, is to create as long a season as possible of both beautiful bloom and shiny red fruit. The Spartan apple was developed in BC and first came on the market back in 1936 – it’s probably BC’s “greatest apple hit”, now grown in many parts of the world. The Fuji apple was, as clever readers might suspect, bred in Japan, also in the 1930s, and it is still Japan’s most popular apple.

Charles Redfern Commons is getting the yellow apples Chehalis and Golden Delicious, as well as some hazelnuts. Golden Delicious is a classic heritage apple which has been around since at least the 1890s. Chehalis was bred in part from Golden Delicious, but is larger and crisper than its parent – and it’s another apple of Pacific Northwest origin, hailing from Oakville, Washington.

We’d like to shout out a big ‘thank you’ to Le Coteau Nursery for most generously giving these trees to James Bay as part of the nursery’s Canada 150 celebrations. The trees are being planted by the James Bay Neighbourhood Association, with the approval and guidance of the City of Victoria Parks Department, as part of the City’s Food Tree Stewardship program. Produce from the trees will be open for harvest by all residents.

Neighbourhood Garden News

Like to garden, but don’t have a place to do it? As the JBNA garden volunteers expand our efforts from the Discovery Coffee box garden out onto the Michigan Street Boulevard, we could use more help. We get together every Thursday at 10:30 (except when the weather is dire) for an hour or so. Over the winter we’ll be doing basic maintenance and planning the new bed, and then start more active gardening in the spring. There’s no requirement to turn up every week, so this is a great way for those who travel a lot or have other commitments to do a spot of gardening from time to time. We also welcome everyone from total garden newbies to the more experienced. In return, you’ll get a share of the herbs and other food plants we grow in the box. Contact Kathryn at, or just drop by the corner of Michigan and Menzies any fine Thursday morning to see what we’re up to.

Members of the James Bay United Church have been hard at work upgrading the church’s front garden, including a better (and less muddy) seating area for the public. Check it out next time you wander along Michigan Street.

Kathryn Pankowski is the James Bay Neighbourhood Association Neighbourhood Gardening Advocate: she can be reached at The JBNA would like to acknowledge the financial support of the City of Victoria for this initiative.


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