Government House takes food from the yard to the table

Government House volunteers have created a garden at the back of the mansion – producing food for the lieutenant governor and his guests

  • Aug. 10, 2011 9:00 a.m.

Volunteer gardener Penny Tennenhouse delivers fresh vegetables to Christophe Letard

Standing in Government House’s gleaming steel kitchen, volunteer Penny Tennenhouse holds up a handful of purple Japanese beets, grinning.

“The beets are the showgirls today,” she says.

Tennenhouse laughs with chef Christophe Letard and volunteer Bill McKechnie as they admire the day’s pickings from the property’s new vegetable garden.

“We make enough to supply a lot of produce. If we were market gardening, we would make a few thousand a year,” says McKechnie, who came up with the idea to grow food three years ago.

While planting began last year, this is the first season the garden has been in full production.

This is as local as it gets for Letard, who takes the best of the harvest for the dishes he makes for Lt.-Gov. Steven Point, his wife, Gwendolyn, and their guests.

He says since the Points have such hectic schedules, they want fresh, healthy food when they come home.

“I keep it simple. I’m going to give them nutritious meals to help them cope with whatever they’re about to do,” Letard says.

The garden can support small receptions of up to 25 people.

Letard still has to get many ingredients from other local growers, but McKechnie says they’re developing a planting schedule to supply him with more produce at peak times like September, when Government House is bustling with visitors.

The remainder of the veggies go to the seven volunteers, who keep up the garden through donations.

Friends of Government House has been looking after the grounds since 1992, after Prince Charles visited the gardens and said they needed upkeep.

When McKechnie first started the garden, he was planting alone in a small concrete box. Last year, the Friends of Government House gave him a $500 startup grant and he has since been joined by seven volunteers.

In the main part of the garden grow winter vegetables and lettuce. Old brick structures house berries, artichokes, tomatoes and herbs.

McKechnie says Rideau Hall in Ottawa is the only other similar institution that has a garden.

 

“We’re the envy of government houses across the country.”

 

 

Just Posted

After dark: Sandown construction goes overnight

Noise concerns from Sidney could stop nighttime work schedule

Duncan family says care home switched mom’s cat with robot cat

Staff alleged to have said they were taking cat for bath, then replaced her with robotic stuffed toy

BC SPCA proposes fines for animal mistreatment, reduction in commercial trade

Animal welfare group’s ideas brought to Victoria councillors

New Victoria graving dock will offer high-paying jobs

New facility will reuse and treat any water required for repair process

Trial date delayed in case of slain Oak Bay sisters

Case of Andrew Berry, charged in deaths of daughters, will reconvene in three weeks

B.C. Games open with Olympic touch

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games kicked off in Kamloops

Suspect and Mountie bitten by police dog during arrest near Nanaimo

Two suspects were arrested in connection with a stolen pickup truck in Cassidy on Thursday evening

B.C. ski cross racer wins Olympic gold

Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa wins the gold medal in thrilling fashion in PyeongChang

All aboard! Job fair ports this weekend in Victoria

Find out about the hundreds of jobs in Victoria’s cruise ship industry

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Sooke mom hopeful for funding to treat child’s debilitating arthritis

Jillian Lanthier ‘prays’ for $19,000 per-dose drug for her son

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Saanich steps up recreation registration

Saanich has unveiled its new parks and recreation registration and facility booking system

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Most Read