Todd Carnahan

Victoria Native Plant Garden Tour blooms

Available tours include Haliburton Farm in Saanich, Fort Rodd Hill in Colwood and Uplands Park in Oak Bay

Todd Carnahan delicately pulls a weed from underneath a hanging mass of ribes sanguineum, colloquially known as a red-flowering currant.

Above him, a mahonia aquifolium (tall Oregon grape) shades his back from the light spring sun.

“When you’re using native plants, the birds and butterflies know which species they prefer,” says Carnahan, land care co-ordinator with Habitat Acquisition Trust. “You don’t even need a bird feeder, the plants will attract the right pollinators.”

Now in its third year, the Victoria Native Plant Garden Tour brings together a network of garden owners and professional native plant experts at 10 public and private gardens. On May 4, horticultural enthusiasts will lead tours around Haliburton Farm in Saanich, Fort Rodd Hill in Colwood and Uplands Park in Oak Bay, to name a few.

“This is quite a unique region in Canada, it’s got the Garry oak ecosystem here, which is found nowhere else in Canada, it’s a northern Mediterranean climate,” Carnahan said.

Carnahan will host a tour at his own Queens Street garden this year to show off the diverse ways of utilizing backyard space. Camas, an onion-like edible bulb, grows under a hedge of edible berry bushes. Carnahan’s efforts working 300 wheelbarrows of mulch and a dumpster’s worth of cardboard into the soil has paid off.

“Gardening with native plants is actually a really smart way to go, because these plants evolved in this ecosystem,” he said. “So you’re not using pesticides, they don’t require any special treatments. You can get a beautiful floral display throughout the year if you use the right plants.”

Tour attendees are encouraged to ask for specific information on plant choices, restoration techniques and gardening tips. Habitat Acquisition Trust also offers consultation for homeowners interested in native species conservation and gardening.

Call Carnahan at 250-995-2428 for more information, or visit for a downloadable garden tour map.


Just Posted

Harbour of Hope reaches $100k fundraising goal to help refugee families

Organization aims to cover the families’ living expenses for a year and beyond

French for the Future event to host 300 students in Victoria

Victoria event welcomes students from Greater Victoria and Vancouver

Victoria school district to spend $10,589 per student next year

School board approves $250 million budget

Driver crashes car into building on Quadra Street

Emergency crews respond to single vehicle crash Thursday morning near Mason Street

VIDEO: Large dust devil swirls through town in B.C.’s interior

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Blaine, Wash. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into B.C., granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

RCMP arrest B.C. man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at massive Surrey parade

Second dump site of Dungeness crab discovered in northern B.C.

DFO confident new site related to larger April 2 dump

Northern B.C. high school student reaches 100,000 followers on YouTube

Voice actor, animator, Jericho Fortune has more than 30-million views on his channel GTAGAMER222

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

Most Read