A garden of dreams

The beauty of the proximity of the SHCG gardens—overlooking the magnificent Rideau—adds to the pleasure. Photo Hélène Lacelle

Peter Evanchuck

Happiness or contentment even fulfillment are often the grail of our maturing lives.

We search various things to do to achieve that state. Sometimes we succeed. For example my partner, Helene Lacelle, and I achieved that through creative work—making art vital to our lives.

Creating beauty in the community with the community is one facet of that quest. After nine years of creating, producing and hosting the ONE&ONLY at the Sandy Hill Community Centre, cancer overcame me and I had to step back and survey what was possible for me to achieve in my condition.

First we tackled adopting our home street, Hurdman Road. Since it wasn’t up for adopting the process took longer than expected. So after a year we were accepted to participate in the Sandy Hill Community Garden (SHCG).

The community garden offered us such fun. Hard to beat a short five-minute walk from home with rake and shovel in hand to dig and plant, to nurture the garden, to create living plants, to be surrounded by nature with the Rideau River flowing in the background.

But it was the raspberries that got me. Lined like a natural fence, luscious red raspberry clusters protect the south side of the garden. It was impossible for me to meander by without randomly picking the largest and most succulent berries—my favourite Canadian homegrown fruit.

It was Trevor and Jocelyn Haché who originated this amazing garden and planted this “living wall” of berries in 2008.

And this is the garden’s ten-year celebration; realizing that the garden needed more care to maintain its remarkable beauty, SHCG members elected six coordinators and each were given a task to achieve this goal.

For example , the green structure coordinator, will implement an analysis to better the yield and water flow of the garden. Fran Singleton will coordinate communications to help the community understand the purpose and benefits of SHCG.

All will strive to make our little community garden thrive amid the beauty of our surroundings; to work with spirited passion on our little 11 by 17 pieces of nature’s bounty—the grail of our modest world.

As Jocelyn says, “Come to the garden; stay for the people.”

The welcoming garden is a metaphor for Sandy Hill’s community spirit.

By May the garden has been designed and planted by June the garden shows positive signs of a bountiful harvest — such fun to see things grow. Photo Hélène Lacelle