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A community garden has opened its gates in McBride.

As a result of Nancy Taylor’s involvement with the ongoing Community Learning Project, a gardening symposium was held in the Spring of 2012. From that humble beginning came the decision to work toward the development of a community garden. After much research and then a significant number of challenges, a three-year temporary use permit was granted by The Village of McBride on a lot immediately behind the Elks Hall. A generous five-year lease for the land was granted by Michael and Barbara Jackson which thus justified the expense of putting in the necessary deer fencing and other improvements to allow the garden to be created.

The garden was designed by Evan Williams who as the initial project manager also oversaw the construction of the fencing, garden beds and other improvements. Williams designed the garden using raised beds which were surrounded by a combination of sidewalk blocks and cedar mulch which will allow for easy access and usability by the bed lessees. Care was taken to ensure that wheel chair visitors could also access the site, and even have their own plot. At the opening ceremony it was announced that Williams was leaving to return to University for two years and that Johny Gideon would be taking over the responsibility for managing the project for the balance of the season.

Surrounded by 10-foot-high deer fencing with cedar trim, the raised beds were completed in similar material and then clear stained to be esthetically attractive. While there are currently 18 raised beds, there is space for additional beds when the need is generated. Also expected to be added before the end of this season is a small storage shed in which tools can be stored. It was noted that many of this year’s plants were grown by Nancy Taylor and Pete Amyoony and held in their greenhouses until the new beds were completed in early July. This perhaps explains the wonderful size of the plants growing in the garden this season.

Our new garden in McBride is one of several similar projects around the province (including Houston, Smithers, Princeton and others). Focused especially to allow young people to work with the ‘more mature’ members of the community and thus learn from them it is hoped that a sense of commitment as well as community will be enhanced and transferred.

At the Grand Opening last week, Barbara Jackson quoted from Alfred Austin, who said “Show me your garden and I will show you what you are.”

Jackson indicated that Edna Clarke who was the original owner of the land had been a gardener and had grown several well known specimens there, some of which were moved to other gardens in town before the lot was levelled for this project.

“No plants were destroyed in the creation of this garden,” Jackson said.

Taylor enthused about the development to date and spoke of the hope that the project could develop further over time. She also acknowledged with gratitude the federal grant that allowed for the quality project to be created, from New Horizons for Seniors. Also recognized were all those that had participated in the organizing committee or who had made donations to the project.

Following the ribbon cutting, the 50 guests enjoyed a tasty salad, the ingredients for which were grown both in this garden and others around the area.

By: Chris Parker