In 1967 the town of Courtenay had a centennial project where they laid a 4 foot flower bed along both sides of Cliffe Avenue leading to the 5th street bridge.  The town laid out flats of annuals and the town people volunteered to plant them in one night as part of the celebration.

The tradition has continued ever since.  For some reason Pat and I either were not aware of the annual planting night or were away.  But last night we were around so decided to volunteer.

The beds are prepared the day before by town workers and in the afternoon they lay out hundreds of flats of annuals.  Petunias, Marigolds, Begonias etc.  Then starting at 5 pm the town people volunteers show up to plant.  In normal years this is a big tradition for families to pick a spot with the kids and plant.  But last night was a cool windy evening so there were not as many volunteers.

Anyway Pat and I drove down and picked a stretch where no one was working.  About a 60 meters long with maybe 30 flats of 36 plants each.  We assumed that others would join us as that is over 1000 plants but as I said it was cool and families quit early.

About 1/2 hour into the planting a couple came along and chatted with us.  They were tourists from the UK and had walked down from the Holiday Inn to see what this activity was all about.  They seemed to want to help and  I had some spare gloves and a digger utensil so set them up and they went down to the end of our stretch and started in.  No particular reason for them to continue (as they were tourists)  but we both worked towards each other and they seemed to enjoy the experience.

After an hour and a half with the temperature dropping even more we had filled the stretch and agreed to quit.  As they were staying at a hotel and did not know anyone, we invited them to follow us back up to our house for a drink.  A nice couple so after the drink we drove into town to share an Indian meal at a new restaurant.

Nigel and Mary from Manchester England.  Do not even know their last name.  They were on a driving vacation to see BC and happened to stop in Courtenay.  One of those interesting events in a life.

We had a wonderful evening with them.  Their company was the reward for the pain in my back I had that night from kneeling and planting more flowers than I have ever done before.

The pictures show part of the stretch of Begonias that we did last night.  So this summer as we drive along Cliffe Pat and I will be able to enjoy the Mile of Flowers knowing we helped.

Flower Planting May 2013