Discount mulberry greta Outlet Bowen Island property an organic food paradise

Discount mulberry green tea Outlet Bowen Island property an organic food paradise

In the early 1990s, Aubin and David Van Berckel were living in Kitsilano when David suddenly got the idea that he wanted to build an edible garden, and perhaps a vineyard, too.

Not long after this, the Van Berckels bought a 1 ha (2.5 acre) hillside property on Bowen Island and David began madly planting grape vines.

didn work out the way I planned, he says. discovered very quickly that it easy to make bad wine. I planted lots of vines, but they were all the wrong variety. the site was well oriented with a sunny, unobscured, south facing exposure that made it perfect for growing fruit and vegetables.

Aubin and David Van Berckel in their garden on Bowen Island.

Today, 22 years later, the Van Berckels have established a highly productive organic food garden with an apple orchard, nut trees, birch grove, orangery, asparagus patch, ponds, hops and apple tunnels, and bountiful rows of vegetables.

initially thought of calling this garden Folly Farm, says Aubin, then we thought it sounded much too twee, so we dropped the idea. is a major component of the garden.

Many of the more tender, heat loving fruits are grown in an orangery at the top of the hillside property. These include grapefruit and blood orange,
Discount mulberry greta Outlet Bowen Island property an organic food paradise
two kinds of limes (Persian/Bearss lime and kaffir lime) as well as pomegranates and tangerines.

Outside the orangery, a belvedere offers panoramic views over the garden and the woods beyond.

is my favourite sitting spot, says David, owner of the chain of Opus Framing Art Supplies stores in Vancouver.

not sure where the idea to do all this came from, but I always thought it would be wonderful to have an edible garden.

Terraces in the Van Berckels’ garden on Bowen Island.

The garden also contains some beautiful, bucolic social spaces, tucked beneath the leafy canopy of cherry and mulberry trees.

The AA Terrace (named for Artemis and Apollo) is a sun drenched patio with a curving teak bench and a bed of blue black sliced Chinese slate on which is set a fire cauldron. Surrounded by Mexican orange blossom, bronze fennel, mounds of creeping thyme and mulberry trees, the patio looks over a hedgerow of Camellia sinensis tea bushes. Once a year, the bushes are harvested with the Van Berckels picking two leaves and a bud to get a healthy batch of viable tea.

Aubin and David Van Berckel with their willow sculpture.

A set of sturdy iron posts with small spheres welded on top have been dotted alongside rustic stone steps that lead down to lower terraces David has christened, The Fertile Crescent.

we came here, this was the only place with decent soil, says Aubin. anyone gave us perennials, this is where we planted them.

As we descend deeper into the garden, David hands me a ripe Italian fig to taste. It is juicy and delicious. Next, he offers me a handful of ripe mulberries. Heavenly.

pollard (remove the top) our other mulberry trees. They look great in the winter. But since I prune them so hard, I don get fruit, since the fruit is only produced on previous year growth, he says.

From The Fertile Crescent terraces, rows of grape vines are visible as well as the grove of Himalayan birch trees at the foot of the hill. Dotted here and there are stately stands of tall yellow mullein.

The Van Berckels in their apple orchard.

The apple orchard produces mountains of fruit. Trees are lightly sprayed with lime sulphur in winter. No other chemicals are used in the garden.

should only plant dwarf apple trees, says Aubin. are so much easier to manage. I can get all the tent caterpillars by hand before they become a problem. Smaller trees are also a lot easier to prune and harvest. the foot of the garden,
Discount mulberry greta Outlet Bowen Island property an organic food paradise
there is a small pond beside a tea house that contains antique Chinese windows that David brought back from China.

Aubin built an Irish style coracle (a small wooden round boat) that she uses to paddle out to a small island in the centre of the pond.