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Building Deeper Roots Through Seed Sharing

Weekend event promotes connections with garden and community

Salal (gaultheria shalon), an indigenous species

November might be just around the corner, but here on the West Coast, it's never the wrong season for gardening! Lions Bay's fabled Butterflyway team are offering a free seed-sharing and planting workshop next weekend. The Watershed caught up with local gardener Val Morton to ask why gardeners would gather and share their seeds, when a fresh packet is as close as the local garden shop.

Morton sees the process as a social activity. "Sharing seeds at an event like this one promotes interactions among community members," she says, adding that collecting the seeds gives people more of a connection to their own gardens.

"It's also cheaper than buying your own seeds, and we'll have a large variety of seeds available at our event."

The seed-sharing and planting workshop begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, November 4 at the Village Hall. The Butterflyway team have collected a wide variety of seeds from local pollinator-friendly plants that will be available to take home.

Morton sees native plants as essential to the local ecosystem. "These plants evolved in this region along with associated insects and other animals. They have symbiotic relationships that are important to the health and the resiliency of the ecosystem. The more links in the web of life, the stronger it is and the less susceptible to environmental changes."

The event, sponsored in part by the West Vancouver Foundation Neighbour Small Grants programme, welcomes gardeners of all levels. "We especially work with newbies," says Morton. "We are somewhat newbies ourselves, which makes it more fun. Gardening enthusiasts tend to be a very friendly group and ready to share their knowledge and enthusiasm with others."

Morton emphasizes that no special equipment is required for gathering and planting indigenous seeds. "Native seeds are adapted to local conditions, so they can generally be sown in the fall, which will give them the temperature and moisture conditions to which they are adapted."

She admits that pampering the seeds indoors sometimes promotes a greater germination rate, although this method takes more attention. Details of how to do just that, as well as a number of other planting techniques, will be forthcoming at Saturday's event.

Attendees who plan to attend need only bring their own enthusiasm and interest in native plants. Morton says that in addition to seeds, pots, soil and envelopes will be available for those who want to take some seeds home. Snacks will also be provided.

Seed sharing and planting workshop, 10 a.m., Saturday, November 4 at the Village Hall.

The Watershed values your thoughts on gardening! Leave your comments below, or email us at

(Note: Edited to correct the name of the sponsoring foundation.)

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