Friends of the Gardens Board Members

Biographies for the Friends of the Gardens Board Members can be viewed below– click the arrows to view.

Aaron Anderson

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.

Bev Krieger, MEd

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

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.

Gwen Steele

I have gardened all my life in the Central Okanagan, and have worked in the horticulture industry since 1992. I have a BSc. in Microbiology from UBC. In 1995 my husband and I opened Dry Valley Gardens, the first xeriscape nursery in the Okanagan. My work included plant propagation, sales, and the creation and maintenance of large demonstration gardens where I analyzed the drought tolerance of over 500 plant varieties. The nursery was sold in 2004. From 2000 to the present I have taught adult education classes in Xeriscape, Naturescape (native plant gardening), perennials and ornamental grasses. In 2009 I co-founded the Okanagan Xeriscape Association (OXA), a not-for-profit. At its start-up I assisted with the design and installation of the unH2O Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, supplied most of the content and photos for OXA website, and all of the content and most of photos for the 400 plant

In 2010 I became Executive Director of OXA. My work includes grant writing and reporting, general administration, supervising volunteer maintenance of the unH2O Garden, overseeing plant propagation for the annual plant sale, collaboration with related not-for-profits, giving presentations, and writing a weekly “Gardening with Nature” column on sustainable gardening for the Kelowna Capital News. I have strong connections with the horticulture industry and horticulture/conservation groups in the valley and with the Okanagan Basin Water Board.  

I have been visiting the Summerland Ornamental Gardens since the 1950’s. In the 1990’s, I visited regularly to examine new Xeriscape test gardens created by Brian Stretch. At his encouragement we took cuttings and collected seeds to propagate at our nursery to help make new drought tolerant species available to gardeners and landscapers. I have participated as a vendor and presenter at FOG’s annual plant sales.

Marian Rudisill, BEd

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.

Bonnie Fulton

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.

Jan Carlson, BSc

My family produces sweet cherries in Summerland. Part of my role is to hire the harvest crew and oversee the safety programme. In the 1980s I earned a degree in criminology from Simon Fraser University. I have worked as a guard in a small northern RCMP detachment, as well as bailiff to the sheriff of the NWT. From 1990 to 2006 I worked as the Community Librarian for the Summerland Branch of the Okanagan Regional Library. During my time at the library I was able to introduce new programmes including volunteer book delivery service, parent-child interactive storytime and initiated the local Friends of the Library society. I chaired the Parent Advisory Council when the Summerland Middle School was built. I like composting and am experimenting with permaculture techniques in my garden. I am currently the chairman of the Summerland Garden Club.