It is safe to venture the suggestion that the popular opinion in the Arrow Lakes region is that food just tastes better when you grow it yourself and by extension the act of gardening is an exercise in healthy living.
Nakusp has an inherent tradition of gardening and readily identifies with its rich history of cornerstone institutions that have helped shape the culture of our community. There are still those among us that remember the pre-flood glory of the Spicer’s family farm along the waterfront and readily share the local secret of their continued production of quality produce. Spicer’s farm has been a key contributor to the local economy since Sam Henry bought two large lots east of Nelson Avenue in 1904 and supplied local residents and steamboats with fruits and vegetables. The family remains an important presence in the community to this day, as do the historic farm buildings that were relocated in 1906 and housed the well-known Spicer’s Nursery.
When Spicer’s Nursery changed hands in April of 2013, the new proprietors decided to honor the significant historical context of the Spicer legacy by renaming the business Heritage Nursery.
Owners Bill and Carla Poulin are committed to nursing the tradition of gardening in Nakusp by “striving to keep our nursery stocked with high quality, organic products from local growers and remain competitive with our pricing.”
“We are very fortunate” Bill explains, “to be able to grow a lot of our own food, including berries, vegetables and soft fruits. Being self sufficient is incredibly beneficial and rewarding.”
Bill and Carla took advantage of the local business opportunity and made the move from Kelowna to Nakusp, bringing with them a rich resume of experience. Bill owned and operated a landscaping company as a certified landscape horticulturalist in his former community and Carla will be completing her Master Gardeners course this fall.
The nursery is a marvel in and of itself, greeting visitors with a stunning display of herb and vegetable starts mixed with flowering plants and gardening materials. The number of ornamental fountains displayed prominently amongst the verdure compliments the sublime aroma of fresh dirt and healthy greenery.
The high standards of the nursery have obviously been maintained and even expanded with the addition of a refurbished barn-turned-gift shop.
“You should have seen it before” Bill proudly explains, “it was full of coal and newspapers from the 40’s, but I cleaned it out and reworked the whole space from top to bottom.”
The gift shop features local artisans and has been included as a venue on the Arrow Lakes Fine Arts Art Walk.
“There is a lot of talent in this town,” Bill points out. “Woodworkers, authors, painters, potters…there is so much the community has to offer.”
The Poulins have successfully managed the transition of ownership and continue to provide materials and knowledge the Nakusp community can use to shape their landscape and engage in the satisfying pursuit of gardening.
Future growing plans for the Heritage Nursery include a proposal to offer Hanging Basket courses and a desire to participate in B.C.’s regional gardening program, Communities in Bloom.
“We are very grateful and appreciative of the support we have had from the community and surrounding areas” Bill warmly remarks. “Without local support, small business cannot survive.”