Christopher Bale is a herbalist and horticulturalist, and works at UBC’s Botanical Garden and Center for Plant Research. Martin Dee photographed him at the Botanical Gardens.
In the gardening calendar, what’s most important in June?
Plant everything! Have all your annuals and perennials in the ground by mid June. This will give your plants an upper hand to get established.
What plants or flowers are suitable for beginner gardeners and what requires more experience?
Foxglove is a fairly easy plant to grow. Hollyhocks are excellent and very beautiful. Delphiniums are a little bit fussier. They too are beautiful and like full sun. There can be temperature issues when you plant them in the ground.
What are the pleasures and challenges of gardening in Vancouver?
A real pleasure is that you can garden year round, which is really great. With the fairly mild climate, things grow here that won’t grow in colder zones.
Because it’s such a moist climate, there can be problems with fungus, the spread of fungal spores, that wouldn’t happen in other climates. This can be the result of too much rain. But don’t let the rain stop you from gardening. You can dress appropriately and go out in the rain. So much of our world is digital, with gardening, you see tangible results of your work.