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Regina Floral Conservatory

Saturday, September 6, 2014 - 2:34pm
Kathleen Fellinger with Jess Paul

The winter months can feel long and seem never-ending here in Saskatchewan. When we are blanketed in snow, wearing layer after layer to protect us from the cold, there is a place that is untouched by winter.  It is hard to believe it can exist unless you see it with your own eyes.  It’s a place that is truly an oasis of life, growing and thriving with a beautiful kaleidoscope of greens and colours that you would only dream of existing in summertime.

 

That place is the Royal Floral Conservatory (RFC).  A little haven if you like, where summer’s warmth seems to last all year long and what grows and flourishes is something to be experienced.  With the official opening of the RFC  on Monday, September 8th, now is the perfect time to have this month’s KB guest, Jess Paul, tell us about everything the RFC has to offer for the upcoming season.  Visit this family-friendly retreat in our city as often as you can to get a break from the cold weather.

 

 

 

 

 

KB: How long has the Regina Floral Conservatory been around?
RFC: The Regina Floral Conservatory has been operated by the Regina Garden Associates in partnership with the City of Regina since 1999. Prior to that, it was a greenhouse owned by the city and open for public viewing. The building itself has been around since the 1950's.

 

KB: What is your main goal/mission?
RFC: 
The Regina Garden Associates is a non-profit, volunteer, charitable organization. Our goal is to operate the Regina Floral Conservatory to provide a unique, tranquil, indoor tropical garden for the enjoyment and education of all ages and cultures in our community.

 

KB: Who is responsible for all the beautiful displays, and how do you plant and care for them throughout the year?
RFC:
 We have six seasonal floral displays throughout our operating season. Fall Flowers, Harvest & Thanksgiving, Christmas Wonderland, Tropical Getaway, Happy Springtime and Summer Blossoms. These displays are designed, installed and maintained by seven volunteer maintenance crews (one for each day of the week). Each crew comes in for a few hours each morning to water, deadhead, check for insects/sick plants, etc. A lot of love and attention goes into every display.  The City also provides our association with access to a horticultural support person who assists us with pruning the trees in our permanent collection and other needs.

 

KB: What is your season? When are you open?
RFC:
 The Conservatory is open seven days a week from September to June from 1 to 4:30 p.m. We usually start our season the Tuesday after Labour Day and close after the first week in June. During the summer, the greenhouse becomes much too hot to be pleasant for any visitors.

 

KB:  Is there a cost for admission?
RFC:
We do not charge admission; however, we welcome donations to support the purchase of plant materials for the display as well as to fund our varied programming and events. We do host several events each year where we do charge a ticket/registration fee. These include five garden teas, two family days and our popular Lil’ Gardeners Club.

 

KB: What type of programs do you offer families/children? Do you offer school programs? Day care programs? Is there a cost for this?
RFC:  We have a variety of programming for children. All of our programming is delivered 100% by volunteers, many of whom are retired teachers.

SCHOOL PROGRAMS
We provide a learning program from pre-school to grade eight and we follow the Provincial School Science Guidelines closely. We also provide a program that is appropriate to the age and ability of our student visitors. We welcome pre-schools and daycares, Brownies, Girl Guides, and Scouts and other youth groups.

Each session runs for 1.5 hours and can be delivered in the morning or afternoon. The program consists of exploring and identifying the plants and trees, and a hands-on classroom experience taking and planting cuttings with a volunteer member of the Regina Garden Associates leading the class. Each child returns to school with their planted cutting and the teacher will also receive cuttings for the classroom to encourage our new young gardeners. Teachers are very welcome to extend their own educational activities at the Conservatory after the tour. 

Teachers, caregivers or group leaders interested in booking a tour can submit a request through the School Program on our website. The cost per child averages approximately $5 to cover the cost of plant materials.

 

LIL GARDNERS CLUBLil Garderers Club - KinderBuzz Spotlight September 2014

Lil' Gardeners Club is open to children from birth to age five and their parents and grandparents. The program provides a great opportunity for these preschoolers to experience the Conservatory and all it has to offer and for parents to get out of the house and meet other families.

We set up different stations for the kids (bubbles, sandbox, water table, story time, and more) and have plenty of toys from wheelbarrows to watering cans, and lawnmowers to little shovels. Children also get to plant and take home a plant. Families are welcome to bring their own snacks. 

Each semester has four Lil’ Gardeners Clubs. We have two sessions held once a month on a Tuesday (10 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. OR 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.). Our fall semester is already sold out. We will be accepting registrations for the winter semester in January. The cost is $30/family (max. five people). Our registrations are taken on a first come, first served basis. Space is limited.

 

 

 

 

FAMILY DAYS

Every year we host two Family Days geared at providing an educational experience and an afternoon of activities for the whole family in the Floral Display of the Conservatory.

For the 2014-15 season, our Family Days are as follows:

Tropical Family Day: Sunday, January 18, 2015, 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Earth Day Family Day: Sunday, April 19, 2015, 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Tickets: Four for $10.00 or one for $3.00

Tickets will be available for purchase online one month in advance of each event.

 

KB: What is the best way to introduce kids to gardening and caring for plants and flowers?
RFC: Plant some seeds and watch them grow! There are a lot of seeds that are easy to grow – i.e. sunflowers, beans, marigolds, poppies, etc. Plant some tomatoes or other veggies in containers on your front step or patio. Get your children to help you with watering and weeding and looking for new growth or flowers. Look for ladybugs in the spring after a long winters nap. Take out kids gardening books from your local library. Take a walk through your neighbourhood and talk about your favourite gardens that you can see. And most important, let them get dirty!

 

KB: How can parents involve or get their kids interested in gardening?
RFC: Bring them out to one of our children’s events, take a walk through one of Regina’s many public garden spaces (i.e. Edwardian Gardens at Government House, Queen Elizabeth II Gardens in front of the Legislature, etc.), or even just drop by the Conservatory in the dead of winter for a great escape from the cold and grey.

 

KB: Are there any tips for winterizing your garden so that it can be in better shape next spring?
RFC: 
I like to cut down all my perennials once they are finished for the year and do a good final weed (that way there will be no weeds in the spring). I mulch my beds and also add a few layers of compost or even just kitchen scraps to the top of my garden to be tilled into the soil in the spring.

 

KB: What is your favourite thing about the RFC that visitors often overlook or maybe don't know about?
RFC: It is an incredible oasis that stimulates the senses of people from all walks of life; from the young to the young at heart. There is something magical about the space when you first walk in, especially in the dead of winter. The air is fresh and clean, there is the soothing sound of a waterfall and the colours and textures are just incredible. I truly think it is one of Regina's gems and one that a lot of people don't know about. So, I'd encourage anyone looking for a change of scenery to pop by for a visit.  Bring a book or your camera and stay awhile.

 

 

KinderBuzz Spotlight Royal Floral Conservatory
Jess Paul is the President of the Regina Garden Associates and avid gardener.  When she is not planting and pruning, she is the Mother of two active little boys and runs her own business, Blossom Communications.

For more information on the Royal Floral Conservatory, visit them online at www.reginafloralconservatory.ca.

1450B Fourth Ave.
Regina, SK 
Telphone: (306) 781.4769
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ReginaFloralConservatory
Instagram:www.instagram.com/reginagardeners
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/reginagardeners

Photos courtesy of The Royal Floral Conservatory