Summerland Gardens Centennial

100 Seasons in the Sun- Sumerland Ornamental Gardens centennial celebrations 2016

100 SEASONS IN THE SUN– Celebrating the Story of the Summerland Ornamental Gardens

In July 2016, we will celebrate the Summerland Gardens Centennial (scroll down for event schedule.) This 6 hectare public garden is deeply woven into the history of Summerland as an enduring community touchstone. Inaugurated in 1916 by Agriculture Canada, the Summerland Research Station Gardens were a beacon for new settlers. Whole families would come to the annual Farm Picnics; adults learned how to landscape and beautify their domestic homesites, while children played games on the extensive lawns. The day would finish with a picnic and games for all. As many as four thousand people would attend these events. Food preparation, canning and other “home economics” topics were also addressed. As the plantings matured, the Gardens became a favorite venue for weddings, receptions and other celebratory events.

Archived photo of a picnic at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens

Archived photo of the lawn at the Summerland Ornamental Gardens
The Gardens were originally part of the Summerland Experimental Farm, which opened in 1914. In early 1916, staff gardeners Joseph Smith and Alfred Aveson began laying out the Gardens. Local legend has it their only design template was a Wedgwood plate illustrated with an English garden scene, which they scaled up and transferred on to newly plowed ground. No matter the actual design origin, the legacy of Smith and Aveson is now a splendid canopy of soaring, mature trees interspersed with sloping lawns and sinuous garden beds. At every turn, the Garden visitor is presented with a new sightline, a different perspective. Some 135 different species of mature ornamental trees and shrubs now grace the Gardens.

In the 1980s the Experimental Farm became the Summerland Research Station, and the ornamental horticulture program was discontinued. While still part of the overall Research Station facility, the Gardens came under the care of the non-profit Friends of the Summerland Ornamental Gardens Society, which now, in collaboration with the Summerland Research and Development Centre, manages the Gardens and will continue its stewardship into the future.


July 16 & 17, 2016   10am – 5pm

The Friends are collaborating with local community groups, businesses, artisans, artists, performers, food producers and chefs to celebrate the Summerland Gardens Centennial on July 16-17, 2016. The multiple free events will be open to the entire Summerland community. A free shuttle bus will provide transit to and from the Gardens. There will be events for all ages and tastes. We are using the annual Farm Picnics of the 1920s as our historical template. The Summerland Municipality will be assisting with the event by providing equipment, logistics and manpower. Agriculture Canada will also provide in-kind support during the Centennial.

View/download complete Centennial Celebration Schedule

Heritage Arts and Crafts: Artisans include–

Desert Sage Spinners and Weavers
Summerland Traditional Rug Artists
Summerland Material Girls Quilt Guild
Summerland Potters Guild
Botanical Art- Diane DeRoo
Summerland Art Club
MWire Art– Maureen Warner
DeVine Arts
Earth Flags– Susan Lopatecki
Summer Valley Soaps– Jennifer Rabie
97 South Redesigns – Tanya Bach
Recycle-Me Garden Art – Catherine Rae
Stonewall Collections – Lidia Kotulska
Penticton Bonsai Club
Summerland Wellness– Denise DeLeeuw
Summerland Museum & Heritage Society
Marginal Arts Festival

Beekeeping Educational Display: heritage bee suits, beekeeping tools and information about the role beekeepers have played in the local fruit growing industry – Janelle Parchomchuk and Kevin Dunn

Interactive Potting Shed Activity where children will be able to pot seedlings to take home and care for

Apple Box Art Display: a local heritage art form

Botanical Drawings Exhibit: sponsored by the Penticton Art Gallery, will showcase a series of botanical illustrations created by pioneer Julia Bullock-Webster in the 1890s

Environmental Groups Displays:
Okanagan Xeriscape Association
Okanagan Similkameen Stewardship Society
Okanagan and Similkameen Invasive Species Society  
Okanagan Waterwise – OBWB
Wildlife Safe BC
Allan Brooks Nature Centre

Garden Tours: led by Douglas Justice of the UBC Botanical Gardens, Friends of the Gardens, Okanagan Master Gardeners  (see details below)

Heritage Vegetable Garden: planted spring 2016 through our Intergenerational Landed Learning programing students and Master Gardeners– in respose to growing public interest

Local Food Vendors

Covered stage and production crew facilitating full sound production for our dignitaries’ speeches and musical performances

Open House and Tours of the Former Superintendent’s House

Read more about Centennial Festivities in the Penticton Herald

Heritage Canada’s Community Anniversaries
Building Communities Through Arts and Heritage Grant


Two Days of Educational Garden Tours

11:30 AM – 4:30 PM

One-hour tours meet hourly at the Hummingbird Visitors Centre

  • An Historical Perspective – Scott Austin, accomplished gardener and author
  • Tour of the Heritage Trees – Douglas Justice, UBC Botanical Gardens
  • Demonstration Xeriscape Garden
  • New Gardens – Welcome Garden, Crescent Garden, Okanagan Wildflower Garden, Rain Garden, New West Border, Make Water Work Borders, Heritage Vegetable Gardens
  • Drought-Tolerant Trees
  • Highlights of the Gardens

Garden Tour Guides:
Gwen Steele, Kathryn McCourt, Donna Lane, Bev Krieger, Eva Antonijevic, Scott Austin, Douglas Justice, Okanagan Master Gardeners

Read more about the Tour of Heritage Trees in the Pentiction Herald


Please Visit our Wonderful Sponsors

Summerland Gardens Centennial sponsored by Canadian HeritageThis project was undertaken with the financial support of Canadian Heritage

We wish to thank all of our supporters for their generous contributions towards the Summerland Ornamental Gardens Centennial Celebrations:

Farm Solutions Summerland Gardens Centennial sponsorFarm Solutions 
Aartisan Salts Aberdeen Publishing BP Wood- sponsor for summerland Gardens Centennial 2016BP Wood Castanet - Summerland Gardens Centennial sponsorCastanet
ET2media Summerland Gardens Centennial sponsorET2 Media Ecora sponsor-GuerardsGuerard’s Fine Furniture Penticton Lakeside Resort - Summerland Gardens Centennial sponsorLakeside Resort Oliver
logos-ELEPHANTElephant Island Winery logos-JOIEJoie Farm logos-KETTLEKettle Valley Winery logos-magpyeMagpye Productions
Nesters Market Summerland Gardens Centennial sponsorNesters Market sponsor-parkersParkers Chrysler sponsor-pentagePentâge Winery sponsor-heraldPenticton Herald
Penticton Lakeside Resort logos-poplarPoplar Grove Cheese Ramada Inn Penticton - Summerland Gardens Centennial sponsorRamada Inn and Suites logo-summerlandCUSummerland Credit Union
District of Summerland- funder of Summerland Ornamental GardensDistrict of Summerland sponsor-summerSummerland Greenhouses Summerland Motel - Summerland Gardens Centennial sponsorSummerland Motel sponsor-reviewSummerland Review
(Black Press)
White Kennedy - sponsor for summerland Gardens Centennial 2016White Kennedy Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada sponsor of the Summerland Gardens Centennial Agriculture & Agri-food Canada