Biographies for the Friends of the Gardens Board Members can be viewed below– click the arrows to view.
Bonnie Fulton – Chair
Three years ago, I retired from my position as the Computer Systems Administer for the Safety, Security and Emergency Management Department at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. After 34 years of living in Burnaby we decided to move to the sunny Okanagan and chose a home in the rural area of Summerland. My mother was an avid gardener and from the time I could walk I was in the garden with her. As an adult gardening became very therapeutic and I enjoyed developing and maintaining a beautiful shade garden.The home we bought in Summerland has virtually no shade so now I am learning a whole new way to garden and my desire to learn has introduced me to many new gardens and gardeners including the Ornamental Gardens.
As a result of attending lectures at the Gardens I became interested in the Friends of the Garden and their efforts to support and preserve the history of the site. I have worked as a volunteer for many years and have been a member of and chaired several administrative committees for the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster as well as being a trustee at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver during their time of restoration as a heritage site. I am drawn to offer my time and organizational skills to the Friends of the Gardens and hope I can contribute in a positive way.
Bev Krieger, MEd – Vice Chair
For 35 years my husband and I have lived in Summerland and raised our family. We have farmed continually; first cherries and then grapes, and we have relied on the research and expertise of the PARC. I enjoy learning about sustainable farming and gardening practices, having taken numerous courses at the gardens, and transformed many of my flower beds into Xeriscaping type plantings. I am excited by the Gardens’ shift to sustainable plantings and practices, and I appreciate the effort taken to maintain the heritage aspects as well. I have a large vegetable and fruit garden, so FOG’s school vegetable gardening program is of great interest to me.
Two years ago I took the Master Gardeners course in Kelowna, and since then have volunteered towards receiving my Master Gardener certificate. Most of this volunteer work has been with the Summerland Ornamental Gardens. I have worked at the last three Spring Sales, answering questions and helping people with their plant choices, and I worked at the Fall Garden Tour. I helped with the Grade 6 program, planting bulbs in the fall, vegetable gardens in the spring, and annuals in May. Over the past two summers I have spent many Saturdays manning a table at the Hummingbird Centre, answering questions about plants, FOG, and the gardens, as well as taking people on tours. My most recent board experience has been with the Summerland Museum and Heritage Society.
I taught school in Summerland for 32 years. I have a Masters degree in Educational Administration and now enjoy contract work with UBC Okanagan. I also do contract work for the Ministry of Education, facilitating groups of teachers as they inquire about best teaching practices. My passions include facilitating adults as they seek clarity with difficult topics. I love gardening and the Ornamental Gardens and want to see them thrive. I bring strong communication and adult facilitation skills to this board, and I look forward to working with my fellow board members. Currently serving as Secretary.
Louisa Carter, BSc – Treasurer
I have always been interested in growing things. I have a Bachelor of Science in Forestry from UBC. My husband and I moved to Summerland in 1992 with our three children. We have been growing apples and cherries commercially since 1995. My husband and I own and run several companies involved in agriculture; an orchard management company, a farm input company and a new varieties research company. I have volunteered on many boards including the Summerland Secondary School PAC, Summerland District Girl Guides, Penticton Pikes Summerland Swim Club, Apex Property Owners Association and the Apex Ski Club. My most common position on these boards has been as treasurer. Currently serving as a Treasurer.
Helen Lawrence – Secretary
My name is Helen Lawrence and I am fairly new to the Okanagan. I retired two and a half years ago from a very rewarding career as an educator and school administrator in Alberta. My husband and I moved to Summerland BC from Calgary Alberta. We love living here! One of the reasons we chose to move to this area was because of the climate and the incredible growing season-- we love to play outside and dig in the dirt! We bought a quirky old house with lots of garden space and are now learning about all of the interesting plants that are native to this area. We are in the process of removing the lawn from our backyard and replacing it with drought tolerant plants. Gardening is so rewarding here—in Calgary the weather can go from -20 to +10 almost overnight, and some years we have had crazy weather (including snow) every month of the year. Our plants were very hardy and our growing season very short!
I love to be busy, active and involved. In addition to gardening I love to quilt, hike, bike and snowshoe. I feel fortunate to be involved in local groups that help me pursue these passions. What a lovely way to meet new people as we work and play together. I truly enjoy collaborating with others as we set goals and make plans to achieve them.
I have enjoyed volunteering at the gardens and attending a number of the very informative presentations to learn more about gardening in the Okanagan. I look forward to becoming part of the board at the Summerland Gardens and sharing the skills I have acquired in my experiences as an educator, leader, gardener and volunteer.
Aaron Anderson – Director
I am 63 years old and have been retired since 2008. My wife and I live in Penticton. I worked in the lumber business for forty years as VP Sales and Marketing the last fifteen years for several very large manufacturers (1 billion in annual sales). After retiring I became an owner with a small consortium of a large sawmill. I have much experience both on boards and reporting to boards.
I am in the Master Gardener program currently as a Master Gardener in Training. I have a keen interest in gardening and for some years I owned a commercial vineyard on the Naramata Bench. I am currently a salmon fishing guide, so I take periodic trips up the coast to Bella Bella and Haida Gwaii.
Currently serving as Chair.
Connie Davis – Director
Brenda Jeffrey-Szabo – Director
Marian Rudisill, BEd – Director
My family and I moved to Summerland from Saskatchewan in 1987. We discovered the Summerland Ornamental Gardens almost immediately. I appreciate its beauty and its strong historical significance for the community. I see it as a gem of the Okanagan Valley.
I believe one of the key roles of the Gardens is education. As a teacher, I used the Gardens as a field trip destination for many years. This past year my partner and I helped with the Gardens’ intergenerational gardening project. As a gardener I have watched and learned much from fellow gardeners and from the F.O.G. sponsored seminars and workshops. We have been inspired to build raised beds, install rain barrels and a micro-irrigation system, and to plant more drought resistant plants on the hillside! Providing a place for children, and adults, to learn is an important role for the Gardens. I believe it is important to give back to one’s community.
Over the years I have served on the Okanagan College Board and the Summerland Museum and Heritage Society Board. While teaching, I was also co-chair of the Okanagan-Skaha Primary Teachers’ Association for several years. I retired in 2014 and now divide my volunteer time amongst things that I am passionate about. This is an important time in FOG history. I understand that new initiatives come with risks and financial commitment, but I also believe they are worth the risk. I look forward to being part of the team that ensures those initiatives and that vibrant energy continue at the Gardens.