Unearthing Surrey’s roots in the garden

An exhibition at Stewart Farm that closes this weekend reveals a connection between tulips, a former mayor, and the B.C. legislature.

An exhibition at Surrey’s historic Stewart Farm reveals the connection between tulips, a former mayor of Surrey, and the B.C. legislature.

Dig It!, which ends Saturday (Nov. 1), unearths early gardening practices in the city, featuring artifacts and photos from Surrey’s collections.

They tell the stories behind the growing business of backyard gardening, along with contemporary paintings, and the heritage garden.

The exhibit is about gardening – it’s a cornucopia of tidbits of what we’ve learned in the past, and how it’s influencing things today.

Gardening for pleasure – rather than for sustenance – has been part of Surrey’s culture since its earliest days, and the passion has only grown.

Former B.C. premier William Vander Zalm, for example, got his start out of high school selling tulip bulbs, and later ran a garden centre.

Vander Zalm would later enter politics, first as an alderman, then becoming mayor of Surrey, and finally premier of the province, but his garden would never be too far away.

He even penned a gardening book and ran Fantasy Garden World in Richmond.

The main focus of the small exhibit is the art and science and technique of gardening and how gardening has changed through time – even as many things about gardening stay the same, says Spence.

Travelling salesmen used to sell seeds to the burgeoning home market of the backyard gardeners who would later crowd garden centres like Art Knapp’s and Potters each spring.

There have been ebbs and flows to its popularity over the centuries.

Gardening took off in the Renaissance era. Then there was another peak after the First World War, when soldiers returning from home gardened for therapeutic purposes.

Now, with throngs of Baby Boomers hitting their retirement years and opening up more leisure time, gardening is enjoying another surge in popularity.

It’s open Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. It’s closed Sundays, Mondays and statutory holidays. Entrance by donation.

For more, visit www.surrey.ca/heritage, or call 605-592-6956.

Follow the Cloverdale Reporter on Twitter and Facebook. View our print edition online.

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP investigating after ‘sudden death’ of man found with critical injuries

Police say a man is dead after being found laying on the ground in the 13300-block of 114th Avenue

Teen charged with possession of a loaded firearm after incident at Whalley park

Surrey RCMP say 17-year-old boy allegedly found in possession of loaded handgun

Kids Boost Immunity honours Surrey school for vaccine donations

Elementary students donate more than 3,000 vaccinations to UNICEF

Pug life: Waggish dog names listed in White Rock

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered with the city

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Loud jets from Abbotsford are annoying residents of tiny U.S. town

Flights out of Abbotsford airport turn over border town and annoy residents, Sumas mayor says

Olympic auditions return to Lower Mainland

Event an opportunity for unknown athletes to shine and, maybe, change sports

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C. pedophile wins appeal after violating court order

Kelly Glen Isbister’s sentence was cut by the BC Court of Appeal

Most Read