Activities keep Demonstration Garden Growing

Annual Blackberry Bake-off returns on Aug. 20

The Township of Langley’s Demonstration Garden is celebrating its second summer at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum, and its reputation for providing fun events and helpful information has firmly taken root.

“The Demonstration Garden is in full swing and our attendance is growing,” said Ava Shannon of the Langley Environmental Partners Society, which runs the facility in partnership with the Township.

“We’ve seen a lot more children registering for our summer camps and look forward to welcoming the public to our beautiful new site during our upcoming events.”

Last spring, the Demonstration Garden officially opened in the 21200 block of Fraser Highway, near the Langley Airport, after spending 20 years in Murrayville.

Admission is free, and the garden is open year-round to demonstrate sustainable gardening techniques. From May to August, staff are on hand during the week to provide information on safe home and garden practices such as composting, the use of native plants, and chemical-free gardening.

And in the summer, things really start to blossom.

A number of events and workshops are offered for adults, and kids get to become Eco Explorers during day camps that examine the creatures that share our ecosystem and the plants found in our backyards.

“It’s such a great program; they do a great job of making it interesting for the kids,” said Brookswood mom Julie Bergen, whose sons attend the Demo Garden day camps every year.

“They love being outside in nature and learning about what’s in the environment.”

The camps are available for children aged six to 12, and at just $5 per child per day, they are affordable, Bergen added.

This year, the camps saw an increase in attendance of almost 45 per cent over last year, with 260 kids registered over the summer.

There is room for 360 participants and garden administrators hope the word will spread and they will see a full house next year.

“The children are learning about recycling, building stuff, studying bugs and frogs,” Bergen said.

“The teachers are great at integrating age-appropriate activities and the older kids help the younger ones, so it’s not boring for them.”

Grown-ups who would like to participate in Langley Demonstration Garden activities are invited to don their aprons and head to the kitchen.

An annual tradition returns to the Garden on Wednesday, Aug. 20, when the Blackberry Bake-Off and Open House runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Budding cooks are encouraged to come up with a culinary creation using the star ingredient, and the public can taste the blackberry treats and vote for their favourites.

“We’re looking for lots of submissions in the Bake-off this year,” said Shannon, who asked those interested in participating to contact her for the simple contest rules at 604-546-0344 orgarden@leps.bc.ca.

The event will also feature a challenging park-wide scavenger hunt for youth aged 12 to 18, musical entertainment by Dear One, the Horvat Family Band, and singer/musician Allexandria Maillot. There will be a locally-sourced barbecue lunch for $5.

For more information on Langley Demonstration Garden events and programs visit tol.ca/demogarden or email garden@leps.bc.ca.

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