The annual Victoria Conservatory of Music (VCM) Mother’s Day Musical Garden Tour celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The visit gives access to 10 private gardens and one public garden, as well as a plant sale.
“It’s a great opportunity to be able to spend time outdoors, to appreciate other people’s hard work and other people’s gardens,” says VCM Marketing Director Tereza Anderson. “It’s just been a really nice weekend.”
Anderson says the event is mostly run by volunteers, except for a few staff members who are involved. This is VCM’s main annual fundraiser, and all proceeds raised go directly to VCM’s operating fund.
“As a nonprofit, having a balanced operating fund allows us to provide scholarships, lower tuition, and provide music awareness programs,” explains Anderson. “So that really helps keep all of those things going strong.”
The tour includes 11 different gardens located all around Victoria, with each destination featuring musical performances by VCM students and faculty. The performances are volunteer-based, and Anderson says many of the musicians are students from Camosun’s joint program with the VCM. As for the gardens, they will be adding new ones to the list this year, while retaining some old favourites.
“Some of the gardens that we will show are repeats, but of course over time the gardens evolve and they change and there are new plants and so everything is always a bit new,” says Anderson.
This year, for the first time, the tour will feature a food garden.
“This one focuses on innovative techniques that other gardens may not have used, such as using only rainwater harvesting, and the house uses solar panels for heating,” says Anderson. “It goes from there to the other end, where there is a rare collection garden that spans two lots in Oak Bay. So you’re going to see a wide variety of things and hopefully feel inspired to get out there and do some gardening yourself.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the tour, an additional event will take place on Saturday May 7th. At 7 p.m. in the Alix Goolden Room, the VCM is hosting a panel with speakers covering a range of garden-related topics.
“Our committee of volunteers helped us organize this event, which is really about the love of gardening in Victoria,” says Anderson. “We have three speakers and they all talk about local plants grown on the island or in British Columbia. The idea is that hopefully, if you’re working in your own garden or want to learn a little more about these specific plants, come hang out with other like-minded people.
Grateful for the event’s continued support and volunteer involvement, Anderson looks forward to continuing the legacy of the Mother’s Day Musical Garden Tour, which was born out of a love for gardening, music and the community. And they’re thrilled to be able to celebrate this milestone in person after hosting the event remotely for the past two years, Anderson said.
“This year is our 40th and I think that’s probably one of the most exciting things about it, and being able to be in person for it is really special,” Anderson said.