Home and garden tours are great. You get to walk, unescorted, through lush gardens and luxury homes. How can you go wrong? Sure, they may have a reputation of attracting elderly women looking to size up their gardening competition, but Aaron and I also happen to like plants, flowers and homes, so sign us up!

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This past weekend we attended the Denman Island Home and Garden Tour. Not only was this an excuse to check out Hornby’s neighbouring island, but we also got to catch up with Aaron’s aunt and cousin who joined us for the tour. They day was perfectly sunny, and the buzz on Denman was palpable. This tour is 22 years young and is considered among the best in Canada. With 12 locations in total, spread throughout the island, we were kept busy all day skirting from one property to another. Among the stops were architect designed ocean-front homes, 100 year old rose garden, winery, permaculture farm, caravan, community garden and straw bale home. Even the Denman Island Chocolate factory made the tour!

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There were so many picture-worthy moments on this tour, but I was caught up in the excitement of the day and only got to capture a fraction of the memorable moments. Hopefully the pictures below are inspirational enough to get you out to a home and garden tour in whatever part of this planet you reside. Trust me, you will not regret it!

Let’s start with the amazing record room in the loft space at Ruby Slipper Ranch. This is a working permaculture farm, complete with a caravan, straw bale house, cows, pigs, ducks, turkeys, and food forest. There was also a vintage car at the front of the farm, serving as a fun take on the traditional farm stand.

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Art was a common theme throughout the tour. There are many creative folk in this area of the world, meaning art doesn’t just apply to walls of a house, although there was a tonne of nice wall art too! Check it out, especially the unique Barbie/tree/barbed wire installation 🙂

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There were plenty of animals on the tour, but this took the cake. Emus are not the most common farm animal, but by the sounds of it they’re enjoyable to raise and produce wonderful meat and oil. Yes, oil. Emu oil comes from a thick pad on the back of the emu, and has been used for thousands of years to treat wounds, burns and skin ailments. Nowadays emu oil is found in many cosmetic products like lotions and shampoos. On the tour there were two adult emus with about 8 babies, although the father tends to the babies while the mother is kept separate. Gotta love that!

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We also came across a thriving green roof by Paradise Cityscapes on top of the Denman Island Chocolate factory. Given that the roof was created only 1 year ago, the native plants used for the project were looking well established.

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You can’t talk about beautiful homes of the Gulf Islands without showing at least one shot of their view, can you? This particular home was shaped like a clam shell, with a central entrance fanning out into multiple balconies overlooking the water. This place was awe-inspiring.

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Thanks so much to our tour companions for making this experience extra enjoyable!

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The next home and garden tour on our schedule is coming up on July 5th, and it happens to include OUR CARAVAN! The Hornby Island Home and Garden Tour is a fundraiser for the Hornby Music Festival, and this year’s theme is “small homes, big gardens”. We plan on taking in the tour ourselves so we can see how others are using their tiny spaces to do big things. While we aren’t too excited about the big tidy-up before the tour, we are definitely looking forward to sharing our tiny house experience with others.

– Lana