I believe that gardeners in our midst are very special people as the fruits of their labours do so much to enrich our community. Whether it is planting flowers in private and public places that delight the senses of the passerby, or planting trees and shrubs that sustain life on this planet, or growing vegetables for the Food Bank, or teaching and mentoring new gardeners, especially children, or doing the organizing that sustains our collective activities – they all deserve a small bow of appreciation. I say a ‘small bow’ since in my experience, without exception, I have found gardeners to be modest folk – – not really happy about being in the spotlight!
I wish to acknowledge some very special contributions over the last twelve months. If I have missed anyone let me know and I will make sure that they are mentioned in next weeks column.
- Almonte was the place to be this February 20th as Seedy Saturday came to town. Johvi Leeck, a young entrepreneur and owner of gardening venture ‘Beyond the Garden Gate’ had the vision and the drive to put the whole thing together (along with a bit of help from mom and dad). Johvi has an infectious enthusiasm that drew a flock of enthusiastic volunteers from her amazing network of gardening gurus. Thanks to all the gardening groups in town that came together to make this event a huge success that everyone hopes will become an annual attraction.
- Mayor Shaun who leads by example as he contributed vegetables to the Food Bank from his home garden and who has been a champion in supporting the Great Veggie Grow-off.
- The great folks at the Almonte Library that have created a Seed Library and that have put together several gardening workshops.
- Master Gardener Gerda that in addition to leading Almonte Horticultural Society work parties and providing gardening advice at the Farmers’ Market made herself available at the Augusta garden for twice weekly hands-on opportunities to learn about vegetable gardening
- All those dozens of people that gathered to put the final touches on the community garden in Augusta Park including a large shed, a path through the garden that connects with the bridge and the street, water service to the garden, beds planted and pathways mulched, soil and compost added to some of the beds, and a large berm created to surround the garden planted with edible shrubs.
- The small band of enthusiastic gardeners that nurtured the vegetable garden behind the library, including a new collaborative gardening area.
- A group of gardeners, the Hoop Housers, which in 2015, donated over a thousand pounds of produce to the Lanark County Food Bank. The group has been learning about the tremendous potential in extending our gardening season and is starting to share that experience and knowledge with others.
- We have so much to thank the members of the Almonte Horticultural Society for as they meet weekly to look after the Cenotaph garden, planters in the downtown, and the perennial Library gardens – and as well miscellaneous jobs such as cleaning up some of the excess vegetation along Mill Street in preparation for Puppets Up.
- Al deserves special mention as well. He provides an area on his property for residents to dump their leaves and garden waste. Once the plant material has composted he screens it and makes it available for residents to use in their gardens. All that he asks in return is a donation for the Hub Hospice. Al has most recently volunteered some of his land, compost and use of his tractor to grow food for the Food Bank!
- Congratulations to all those that have put a robust program in place at Naismith School in Almonte. Kudos to the kids, the Principal and teachers and the volunteers from the Almonte Horticultural Society for the construction of growing boxes and for the maintenance, planting and care of healthy little vegetables. Much of the produce from the Naismith garden went to the Food Bank.
- Tree planters in Pakenham deserve a bow – great things are happening in Pakenham as the school works with the Pakenham Horticultural Society.
- Ron and Ed have also been busy around town with tree related stuff and Fern gets people planting bulbs and on and on!
What is my point? For me in a world where greed, violence, destruction of the environment and unbridled materialism appears to be the norm, gardeners are one of the glimmers of hope for the future. Our Seedy Saturday was a perfect venue for gardeners to network and dream of the coming gardening season and to talk about new community garden ventures. But it was more – over 500 visitors came and viewed the treasures and purchased tiny grains of hope and left inspired for the rapidly approaching gardening season!