Good growing QB – lemons and more!

Qualicum Beach gardeners are blessed with two full-service nurseries, plus an extraordinary grower and supplier of locally-grown nursery stock and produce… including lemons and limes, right here in QB! Within 5 minutes drive of the townsite, we have Arrowsmith Greenhouses located on Hwy 4 (Alberni Highway) just west of the junction with Hwy 4A, and Ken-Dor Garden Center on Qualicum Road. Right in town, on Beach Road horticulturalist Donna Balzer grows and sells an amazing array of plants including, in a sheltered location, glossy and productive lemon and lime trees!

Let’s celebrate and support these wonderful businesses that bring so much pleasure to so many QBers.

Arrowsmith Greenhouses

Arrowsmith Greenhouses

This venerable gardening emporium, established 29 years ago, is well known to passers-by for the giant rhubarb-like plants with Jurassic Park style foliage. The leaves of Gunnera manicata, a native to South America, can grow up to 2.5 meters across. Despite their imposing presence, these plants are gentle giants, and not toxic as is sometimes thought. This delightful feature is a must-see for kids and adults alike.

The gunnera plants have existed in that same location for many years, but new owners are breathing new life into Arrowsmith Greenhouses. Derek and Sherry moved from Ladner, BC in November 2020, and hit the ground running. One of the changes at Arrowsmith Greenhouses was made to the “pond” — 12 million litres of 100 percent rainwater. Environmentally-conscious, rather than use chlorine, Derek and Sherry brought in natural biological bricks from Japan to keep the Algae down.

Derek and Sherry say, “We care about regenerative horticulture. We want to improve our soils and landscapes to benefit our children and grandchildren. Holistic approaches to gardening are also the most effective (and cost-effective) in the long-term.” Arrowsmith Greenhouses has also brought in locally-made cedar raised garden bed enclosures and garden furniture.

Arrowsmith Greenhouses is located at 2880 Alberni Highway, 250.752.1592 or check their Facebook page.

Donna Balzer, Horticulturalist extraordinaire

Donna Balzer and the fruit of her six-year-old Meyer lemon tree.

This Calgary transplant is a major player in the gardening world across Canada, and internationally — CBC, HGTV, Canadian Gardening… the list goes on. Her latest book, Three Year Gardener’s Gratitude Journal, helps gardeners keep track of what’s happening and what needs to be done in the garden. A very practical tool, but one filled with whimsey and humour.

One of Donna’s most recent accomplishments has been to grow lemons and limes. Outside. In Qualicum Beach. She harvested over 75 Meyer lemons last fall, has 50 ripening on the tree as we speak, and is now nurturing her own seedlings for future sale.

“My parents and grandparents grew a garden to survive,” says Donna. “I garden to feel more alive!” A well-rounded horticulturalist, Donna has worked with entomologists and rose growers, soil specialists and farmers.”

She’s passionate about sharing her love of food, and growing more organic, “mineralized” food. Donna’s a wealth of information. If you are wondering about making compost or want to know the best way to make use of your home greenhouse before it’s warmed up enough to grow tomatoes, she’s got the answers. Visit Donna’s website (noted below) to see how she might be able to help you garden to your full potential.

With her husband (and willing partner in projects), Donna grows an astonishing variety and amount of garden produce in her home garden and greenhouses. “I get so much satisfaction from raising a juicy tomato or a massive kale or a giant pest- and pesticide-free broccoli. It just keeps me eating and keeps me growing.”

Donna Balzer can be contacted through her website

Ken-Dor Garden Center

Ken-Dor Garden Center also features gifts and home decore products.

This mainstay of the gardening public in Qualicum Beach has been in business for over two decades and, in particular, is well-known for two things, an amazing array of garden pots and their hanging baskets.

Ken-Dor also grows their own stock, including fruit-bearing and decorative trees and shrubs.

Of course, Ken-Dor Garden Center also provides a wide array of gardening and landscaping supplies, plus a lovely selection of charming gifts and home decor products.

Ken-Dor Garden Center is located at 845 Qualicum Road, Qualicum Beach, 250.594.1117 or Email