ST. GEORGE, ONTARIO
50TH ANNIVERSARY PROJECT BY OUR VOLUNTEER GARDENERS
(Made by volunteer gardeners)
What do you do with a (mostly vegetable) garden, neglected due to transfer of rectory inhabitants? In the beginning, one or two parishioners, mindful of its being less than attractive, quietly decided just to clean it up, then one or two more intrigued people opted to give them a hand, maybe help bring it back to a bit of life by planting a few shrubs or flowers–"it was such good soil!" Then a few more folks pitched in with a view to giving the area more shape, perhaps a bit more space, more appeal–and as our church’s 50th anniversary year became ever closer (2004), it seemed logical to make this an even better reason for developing an ‘organized’ space.
With a workable design outlined by one of this small group using suggestions and ideas given by the others, dare I say "the plot thickened", and by following one train of thought and calling it a "Meditative Garden" (this following on the heels of the Sept. 11 disaster) , it seemed to meet the needs and ideas of those involved. There was no great fanfare, no sidewalk superintendent, no groups of onlookers as the garden took shape, but by 2003 it was well ready for admiration, and was officially recognized that year by the rector of that time, Rev. Sue McCullough, following two years of ‘down to earth’ labour.
With such a project, the question always arises, especially with a smaller congregation such as ours, "How can we afford to do this?" It began with donations from the various gardens of those involved, but as any gardener will tell you, a garden needs many things besides just plants and labour: -rejuvenating soil, fertilizer, gravel, more plants, stones perhaps for artistic touches, shrubs, maybe something to sit on in order to admire the hard work or just to provide a place for some quiet time. Did this group of keen gardening folk decide to organize a fund-raising campaign? Did they expect the Parish Council to come up with funding? Did they attempt to do it all on their own? As one of the group said, "We were absolutely blown away with the response from within the community at large once they were aware of what we were doing. Donations of time, trucks (plus their drivers) for hauling heavy materials, donations of plants, and eventually donations of money, given in memory of loved ones–most of our needs were thus provided."
The size of the area limited filling the number of requests for planting memorial trees, but other ideas for suitable and permanent memorials began to take shape. One of these will be a hand-bound book containing the names of those whose memories are being recognized, perhaps to be placed in a display cabinet so that pages can be periodically turned-–a type of ‘parish history’. Other donations filled the need for benches to be placed in convenient spots, and other ideas such as a decorative arbour are being considered–it is, after all, an ongoing project.
The garden is always there, local people and other visitors are encouraged to pay a visit, enjoy some quiet time, and appreciate the on-going work of this informal committee consisting of Doug Livingstone (who eventually gathered the group together as a working unit), Larry Travers (designer and wall-builder), Ariel Szentimrey and Barbara Allen (whose gardening eyes and garden know-how saw the possibilities and who knew people in the community willing to donate and deliver some of the heavier materials), Ellen Moon, Jackie Riddle, Judy Chambers, Nasiem Davidson (all of whom provided much initial labour with a definite gardening instinct), and Ann Baxter (whose artistic ability will make the Memorial Book become a reality). They work as a unit, have occasional planning meetings, and have also incorporated the Sunday School youngsters as helpers in various ways, such as planting bulbs during the winter to be planted out in the spring, decorating stepping-stones, etc.. Several of the committee members have donated many items from their own gardens, and all have toted boulders and stones! To this dedicated group we offer our sincere thanks, not only for the garden itself (a true labour of love), but for sharing and caring in this special way for all of us at Holy Trinity and in St. George.