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Executive & Directors

Sechelt Garden Club 2023 – 2024 Executive and Directors

President: Gerri Randall

Gerri moved to the Sunshine Coast in the fall of 2018, and has loved every minute in this welcoming community. A former RN and clinical conference planner, she spent the last 20 years of her career as Executive Director of the Vancouver & District Dental Society. With most of her family residing in the lower mainland, her ferry visits there are frequent. Gerri has enjoyed her many travel experiences as well…the journeys in addition to the destinations!

Having joined the garden club shortly after relocating, Gerri has found the friendships and camaraderie just as great as the wealth of gardening knowledge available. She has worked on the Community Projects Committee, been in charge of fundraising throughout the pandemic, initiated a group Facebook page for the club, and managed our sharing table at general meetings.

Past President (2019 – 2022): Ann Booth

Ann and her husband Nigel moved to Sechelt in 2016. After some commuting back and forth while working, they finally retired to the Sunshine Coast. Ann worked for a Naturopathic doctor for 25 years on the North Shore and now has the time and opportunity to enjoy a large garden. As an artist, Ann is inspired by the colours, fragrances and light of gardens so is eager to learn more. The Sechelt Garden Club is a group of people that are passionate about the same things she is. Having been a member of a Community Group for nearly 40 years, Ann is familiar with being part of a dedicated team with a common goal, one of which being giving back to the community. 

Vice President and Communications: Lee Tidmarsh

Lee and her husband John Carsley moved to Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast from Montreal in 2007 while continuing to work as physicians. Gardening has always been an enjoyable hobby for both of them. Having enjoyed membership with the Diggers and Weeders Garden Club in Montreal, they decided it was time to get involved with the Sechelt Garden Club in order to continue learning about growing plants. They have had to make adjustments in plant choices given the coastal growing climate. John takes care of the vegetables while Lee attends to the flowers and shrubs and delights in cutting the wild West Coast growth down to size. Lee looks forward to meeting the members and sharing gardening experiences and ideas.

Secretary: Cathy Hallam

I’m a retired Human Resources Professional whose career spanned 30 years in the Public Sector Healthcare setting. I am particularly passionate about building and maintaining relationships.  I value being involved in my community through membership and volunteer opportunities on the Sunshine Coast.  I lived in Northern B.C. for most of my life.  Following a significant life change, I moved to Vancouver, and after 7 years, settled on the Sunshine Coast.  Covid’s necessitated change to working at home allowed my family to live in a smaller community outside of the lower mainland.  We absolutely love it here. 

I have been a member of the Sechelt Garden Club for a couple years now and have really enjoyed meeting fellow Garden Club members.  These like minded folks have been very welcoming to me.  So welcome, that I decided to join the Board!  It’s exciting representing the Club while planning educational opportunities and being involved in community projects.

Treasurer: Dora McNeal

My husband and I retired to the Sunshine Coast from Prince George in 2015.  A chance walk with Penny Lyle a few years ago led me to buying rabbit poop and then a membership to the Sechelt Garden Club.  COVID supercharged my interest in my garden…I got involved in several garden club community projects and so enjoyed the members that I worked with that it was not a hard decision to accept an invitation to run for the executive.  How can I go wrong by volunteering with people I like, giving back to the community, and learning more about gardening at the same time?

Membership: Brenda Hawkings

Brenda and Gary purchased their home in Tuwanek in 2015. During the pandemic, neighbour Lee invited me to join the SGC. Having enjoyed gardening all my life and spending more & more time on the coast, it was the perfect time! Took the next step and retired early in 2021 so we could enjoy full time our piece of paradise along the Sechelt Inlet.

As a career construction project manager, I always liked things in order and on time. Gardening by the sea has challenged me as the climate, weather, and water continuously disrupts. Be it plants not conforming to anticipated growth or the constant intrusion of weeds and vines. I’m looking forward to learning new gardening tips for saltwater & wind environments and meeting new garden-like friends. In return, I am more than happy to help where ever I can to keep this club “on time and in good order”!

Community Projects (shared): Pat Kolterman

Before Pat retired from teaching elementary school, she had visions of spending lots of time with her children and her grandson in their hometown of Terrace. Unfortunately, a week after retiring, her daughter moved to Kelowna and her son and grandson to Vancouver. After several years of traveling to visit them, she convinced her husband, Ken, to move to Sechelt to be closer to family. And what a wonderful move that has been! Always an avid gardener, she joined the Sechelt Garden Club in 2015 and has enjoyed meeting and learning from other gardeners. Her gardening passions are growing vegetables year round and planting with native plants and drought-tolerant perennials.

Community Projects (shared): Margaret Acton

Member since 2018. Margaret moved to Sechelt in 2017 after working in a variety of nursing positions in Vancouver. She had a house on a shady corner lot with 7 extremely large trees that dropped a huge amount of leaves. As this was an established garden, she spent her time pruning and raking. She was thrilled to buy a house in Sechelt that had a sunny garden. Plants that she had dreamed of having are now in her garden. The garden was designed by a master gardener and it included an interesting variety of plants. Members of the garden club have assisted Margaret in gaining in depth knowledge about their characteristics. Margaret welcomes the opportunity to broaden her knowledge and to work with experienced gardeners. She has participated in the Community Projects committee to make our community a more welcoming place.

Guest Speakers: Phill Murray

Phill is a retired teacher who is curious about everything. Susan and he garden on five acres in Roberts Creek and have a large collection of plants made from seeds and cuttings. Their vegetable garden produces healthy food twelve months a year and the house has flower displays all summer long done by Susan.

Webmaster: Dianne Tarris

Dianne’s grandmother kept a beautiful flower and vegetable garden and shared the joy which inspired Dianne to start her own little garden before she was 10 years old. She grew up in North Vancouver, raised her children in Port Moody and commuted to Vancouver for over 40 years while working a variety of roles in the Insurance Business, always messing about with plants as a hobby. Dianne and husband Joe moved to Sechelt in 2012 and joined the Garden Club to learn more about gardening in general and in the unique conditions on the Sunshine Coast. Dianne enjoys the speakers and Garden Tours and is especially interested in growing all things edible and beautiful. She is hoping to pass on some of her gardening enthusiasm to her 13 grandchildren.

Director at Large: Suzan Essiembre

Suzan, a Butterflyway Ranger and Sunshine Coast resident for over 25 years, joined the Sechelt Garden Club in 2022 when she introduced the Cascade Green Park Butterfly Garden project in West Sechelt.  Since taking on this project she has been busy creating a public butterfly garden, fundraising, publishing articles and more recently writing up the monthly Go Native plant feature for the SGC newsletter.

Her professional experience includes Audit Manager for investment properties across Canada, advancing to become an Environmental Site Inspector, and more recently a hospitality Business and Financial Advisor.  Now retired, she brings a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm to the garden club.

Locally, her volunteer contributions include publication of the “Invasive Plant Species of the Sunshine Coast – How to Remove and Properly Dispose Of”, which can be viewed on the SGC web site, and while a Director with the Pender Harbour Wildlife Society, she organized a clean up of the Iris Griffith Wetlands Park in Pender Harbour.

Suzan’s dream is to have highways of butterfly habitats up and down the coast. These habitats provide important educational tools for nature school programs, enhance the quality of life in local neighbourhoods, and increase the diverse pollinator populations.  She loves participating in garden club meetings to learn more about sustainable food gardens, native plants, and meeting like-minded individuals.