Nature lovers, native plant gardeners and curious ecologists of all ages are invited to attend the annual In Bloom Wildflower Festival at the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve (1241 Maple Bay Road) on April 27 . Hosted by local volunteers from the Oak Park Preservation Society, the event offers local residents at chance to tour the nationally renowned site, which is now owned by the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The preserve is ecologically sensitive, so visitors are asked to leave pets at home for the event and to park on Maple Bay Road before walking to the festival entrance at the end of Aitken Road.
The Garry Oak Preserve is one of the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s best restoration success stories. Through the conservation efforts and commitment of local volunteers, the site has become home to a vibrant community of native species, including many species at risk that rely on the globally rare Garry oak habitat found here. Less than 10 per cent of this ecosystem is left in the world, and yet these woodlands and meadows support the highest biodiversity of plants in coastal British Columbia. The site sits adjacent to Elkington House, an important local heritage site that members of the Oak Bay Preservation Society are working to save and revitalize.
For more information on the In Bloom Wildflower Festival, call 250-479-3191 or visit the Nature Conservancy of Canada website at