This regular feature will highlight the activities of the Friends of UBC Botanical Garden (FOGs), a close-knit volunteer group at the Garden, as they continue their contributions and community during the pandemic and beyond.
Happy New Year!
Date posted: December 31, 2020
The Friends of UBC Botanical Garden (FOGs) are not only vital volunteers at the Garden, but a thriving social community. As the year comes to a close, we look back on memorable FOG-led events with hopes that such times will return again soon.
At the 2019 President’s Tea, FOGs enjoyed a rare occasion in the Garden’s Reception centre. At the 2019 Christmas “Thank you” buffet, FOGs show off their culinary skills to show their appreciation for Garden staff.
Until these times return again, stay healthy and safe. Happy new year to all!
Photos by Diane Donaldson.
Festive Cheer in the Garden
Date posted: December 23, 2020
The Friends of UBC Botanical Garden (FOGs) bring a festive cheer to their diligent work even as the year comes to a close. FOGs from the Back 40 consult with horticulturist Andy Matheson on propagating plants and winter maintenance.
Happy holiday season to all from the Friends of the UBC Botanical Garden!
Photo by Gudrun Hancock.
Shop in the Garden Book Buyer, Jenni Forbes
Date posted: December 17, 2020
Jenni is the resident book buyer of the Friends of UBC Botanical Garden (FOGs). Over the years her expertise from her career as a UBC librarian has helped to establish the exceptional choice of gardening and outdoor living books available in the Shop in the Garden.
For FOGs who have passed away, Jenni also chooses memorial books for the UBC Botanical Garden library.
Thank you for all that you do, Jenni!
Photo taken by Gudrun Hancock.
FOGs create Beautiful Botanical Gifts for Garden Staff
Date posted: December 10, 2020
“Thank you to everyone who contributes their time, support and knowledge to make the Garden a jewel on campus.” – Gudrun, President of the Friends of UBC Botanical Garden.
To show their appreciation for staff, the Friends of UBC Botanical Garden (FOGs) created beautiful botanical gifts and arrangements for staff to enjoy. Thank you to all FOGs for the lovely gifts and your incredible dedication to the Garden! 🎄
Photos by Karen Yurkovich.
Festive Decorations for Shop in the Garden
Date posted: December 3, 2020
The FOGs are bringing a festive mood to the Shop in the Garden! The Shop’s Christmas tree is bedecked with lovely decorations just in time to welcome our Members, UBC Student, Staff and Faculty for the 2020 Members’ Sale.
Register for a shopping appointment for the Members’ Sale, on now until December 6.
Photos by Sharon Hanna.
FOGs Handcraft Wreaths for 2020 Holidays
Date posted: November 26, 2020
See the FOGs in the process of creating the beautiful wreaths now featured in the Shop in the Garden.
This time each year, FOGs handcraft their unique wreaths, with all the magic of the season wrapped into a festive arrangement. The Garden staff provides a wide choice of exceptional greenery from the Botanical Garden and FOGs clip, wrap and tie bows to produce their creations for sale in the Shop.
Wreaths of a variety size and style are available for sale in the Shop in the Garden. New wreaths will arrive as they are created. To select a wreath to purchase please visit the Shop in the Garden by booking an appointment.
Book an appointment to buy wreaths here.
Photos by Karen Yurkovich, Richard Hancock, and Diane Donaldson.
The Strong “Back 40” FOGs
Date posted: November 19, 2020
The Back 40 is a large area of the UBC Botanical Garden where Friends of the Garden (FOGs) propagate plants for the Shop in the Garden. Our team has had the privilege of not only growing plants in the Garden but from some exceptional home gardens of our fellow FOGs.
During the pandemic, the Back 40 FOGs were still hard at work taking care of their plants, as seen in some of these photos. During regular times, we met for weekly meetings and worked in the Back 40 for a few hours, breaking to eat lunch together. Those of us with strong backs dug and divided, while others weeded or potted up plants for the Shop. Often we went home with a bouquet of cut flowers or a new plant.
Back 40 meetings were a great time to learn something new about gardening. Every week, we gathered inside (or outside at the picnic table, if it’s nice) to discuss our gardening practices. Julie Lane-Gay is our source of information, and we learn something new every week. We learn about the process and timing of dividing and potting perennial plants, how and when to prune in order to keep plants healthy, preventing cross pollination and unwanted seeding, amending soil and watering correctly, deterring pests and suppressing weeds and any other issues that may crop up. It is a great place to ask questions and learn more about gardening, whether you have a few pots on your patio or a huge back yard.Written by Brenda Hochachka and Julie Lane-Gay.
Thank you to our Back 40 FOGs for your resilience, hard work and incredible enthusiasm for gardening and plants!
Photos by Brenda Hochachka.
What does the process of becoming a FOG look like?
Date posted: November 12, 2020
New Friends of the Botanical Garden (FOGs) participate in a 12-week Orientation course from September to December. They tour UBC Botanical Garden, Nitobe Garden and the Greenheart Tree Walk, do research to learn more about Garden plants and meet on-site Garden staff. And of course, they become acquainted with the FOG community, their various teams and their activities.
Earlier this season, new FOGs went on a tour around the Nitobe Memorial Garden as part of their Orientation course. Since the FOG community is mostly virtual due to the pandemic, on-site tours are more meaningful than ever.
Photo taken by Gudrun Hancock.
Thank you! Success of UBC Apple Market and special bulb sale
Date posted: November 5, 2020
#FOGStories: the Friends of the UBC Botanical Garden (FOGs) rose to the challenge of organizing the COVID-friendly UBC Apple Market and the special bulb sale earlier this Fall. This week, we are celebrating their hard work and the enthusiasm shown for locally grown produce this year.
UBC APPLE MARKET
Apples were in high demand this year, selling out multiple times. FOGs were involved in all stages, from the planning to the distribution of goods on the pick-up days, working together to make sure the process ran as smoothly as possible.
SPECIAL BULB SALE
This year, a special bulb sale took place in lieu of the Treasured Bulb Sale, but bulb-lovers were no less excited to purchase the unique goods. Bulbs were almost sold out after the first day! In addition to the FOG-harvested flowering bulbs, Food Garden horticulturist Linda Layne and the FOG harvesting team provided 500 delicious “Music” and “Red Russian” bulbs.
Thank you to the FOGs involved in organizing UBC Apple Market and the bulb sale: your work supported the Garden and our communities to connect and celebrate the incredible produce grown in British Columbia during the pandemic.
Photos taken by Gudrun Hancock and Louise Sirrs.
Seed Collectors harvest special seeds at the Garden
Date posted: October 29, 2020
Back in September, the Seed Collectors team of the Friends of the UBC Botanical Garden (FOGs) harvest seeds from the plants at the Garden.
Many of the seeds are special since they are harvested from perennial plants, such as from the E. H. Lohbrunner Alpine Garden. These unique plants may not be readily available in commercial nurseries. Seeds harvested by the Seed Collectors are sold in the Shop & Garden Centre.
The Seed Collectors spend April to October in the Garden, closely monitoring chosen plants, harvesting in the fall, and preparing the seeds for sale. Thank you, Seed Collectors, for your diligence and hard work!
From Suzanne Macvey, FOG Seed Collector:
The Seed Collectors harvest seeds from plants growing in UBC Botanical Garden. The size of the group varies and is currently (in 2020) comprised of 10 FOGs.
We begin in April, walking through the garden to identify and tag plants that are of interest to us, and that we feel will appeal to the general public. We also provide seed to the Propagation Committee to grow for sale in the Garden Centre. Many of the seeds we sell are not readily available in commercial nurseries, particularly as we concentrate on harvesting from perennial plants, and also because we are collecting from a Botanical Garden. We check the tagged plants each week during the growing season, monitoring the seed through its maturity and ensuring it is ripe before harvesting. This work can find us in the Garden through October. Spending the growing season in the Garden provides an opportunity to gradually learn the range of plants and to see them at all stages of their growth. The curators and garden staff are an invaluable resource to our group as we go through this process.
After the seed is harvested, it is hung in paper bags to dry in the basement of the Garden Pavilion. During this time, the group researches information for the seed package labels to include full details of the plants and their cultivation requirements. Once the seeds are completely dry, they are cleaned, packaged and displayed for sale in the Shop in the Garden. Proceeds from seed sales are donated to the Garden.
Photos taken by Suzanne Macvey.
FOGs get creative with pelargonium and sweet pea sales
Date posted: October 22, 2020
The FOGs got creative with this year’s drive-by pelargonium and sweet pea sales! In just one of the ways they are innovating during COVID-19, FOGs presented the plants to drive-by customers via fishnets, a neat way to ensure safe distance and follow safety protocols. Both were a huge success and raised around $3,000 – all plants grown by FOGs. Plants included special pelargoniums cultivated by Ian Gillam, a long-time FOG.
Photos by Ed Biggs, Kathy Mullen, Sara Jones.
FOGs harvest produce for UBC student Harvest Hampers
Date posted: October 15, 2020
#FOGStories: Every week since September, Friends of the UBC Botanical Garden have been hard at work harvesting and preparing produce in the Food Garden. Their efforts go towards the Harvest Hampers initiative, which delivers fresh Garden produce and cooking essentials to students in need on campus. FOGs are seen here shelling harvested beans and harvesting lemongrass in the Garden besides a beautiful quince tree. With the help of FOGs, 515 pounds of produce in 54 hampers have been distributed in the past six weeks.
The Harvest Hamper initiative involves many communities coming together to address immediate concerns about food security in the UBC area. Learn more about this initiative here.
Photos taken by Kathy Mullen.
FOGs reimagine UBC Apple Fest as UBC Apple Market
Date posted: October 8, 2020
UBC Apple Festival looks a little different this year! Working tirelessly together with Garden staff, the FOGs reinvented the beloved Apple Festival into UBC Apple Market to offer this annual celebration of BC’s apples online.
Apple Market has been a big success, and we’re still selling apple trees and more on the online store. We are all amazed by the enthusiastic response for Apple Market and are grateful to be able to support local BC growers and foster love for apples during these challenging times.
Our wonderful FOGs will be helping guests who purchased online during our pick up days at the Garden October 16-18. Make sure to say hello!
Photo taken by Diane Donaldson. Disclaimer: Photo was taken before COVID-19 pandemic.