Ciscoe Morris helped transform the Seattle University campus into a Washington state-recognized wildlife sanctuary and he’s hoping to bring some of that knowledge and experience to Squamish next month.
Morris, who will host a discussion on environmental garden design at the Eagle Eye Theatre on March 4, saw firsthand the damage that pesticides did to the school and set about making positive changes when he became the ground care and gardening director.
“When I started there they had a horrible environmental program where they used all sorts of sprays and pesticides to kill bugs,” he said. “So I helped to develop a program where we used no poisons or herbicides. It turned out really well and we became the first university in Washington to be designated as a wildlife sanctuary by the state wildlife department.”
Along the way, Morris began using his love of gardening and humour for viewers on KING 5 television in Seattle and to readers of the Seattle Times newspaper. He regularly appears on local newscasts and even hosts a weekly show, “Gardening with Ciscoe” on Saturdays. His trademark phrase — “Oh-la-la” — is well known in Seattle.
Morris said attitudes in the gardening world have drastically changed during his years in the industry and he will be showcasing some of those new trends in his talk.
“People are really trying to figure out ways to attract beneficial insects and certain birds like hummingbirds to their gardens,” he said. “The more beautiful your landscape is and the more variety you grow in your greenery will attract more birds and insects. Getting away from using herbicides also helps.”
He will also focus on ways to make your garden lower maintenance and showing audience members ways to make their gardening experience more fun.
Morris added that it’s nice to see more and more gardeners becoming more environmentally friendly.
“When I first did these clinics people would ask me, what they should spray, but now people are trying to solve their problems without using pesticides or spraying,” he said. “I’m also noticing smaller lawns and at my talk, I will be showing ways to keep weeds out of your lawn without using pesticides.”
It’ll be Morris’s first trip to Squamish but he noted that he has held talks in Canada many times before and his wife is a Canadian.
“I’m still trying to learn her language,” he joked.
He said the talk should be a lot of fun and hopes to have a handful of laughs with the audience.
“I love gardening so much and I love humour,” he said. “I hope the people that come to my show have a good time. It won’t just be a dry talk, it should be a lot of fun.”
The show, presented by the Squamish Gardeners, gets underway March 4 at 7 p.m., with doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the Eagle Eye Theatre on the day of the event or at the Squamish Adventure Centre, Billie’s Flower House, Garibaldi Nurseries, Anna’s Attic and On The Farm.
For more information on Morris, visit his website at www.ciscoe.com.