Flower power

The Compass - - TRINITY SOUTH -

A lit­tle over two years ago, when I knew I would be mov­ing back to my home­town of Bon­av­ista, I thought it was time to start mov­ing on a plan that I had thought about for years — Bon­av­ista had not-for­profit groups and vol­un­teer or­ga­ni­za­tions, but the town had lit­tle help when it came to land­scape and hor­ti­cul­tural plan­ning.

Over the years the town, along with other groups, have worked with con­sul­tants, land­scape de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects on var­i­ous projects. With all due re­spect to spe­cial­ists, these en­coun­ters have more than un­der­scored the very real need for a not-for-profit group or so­ci­ety that could work with lo­cal gov­ern­ing bod­ies to im­part sound land­scap­ing ad­vice from those with sig­nif­i­cant ex­pe­ri­ence and knowl­edge gleaned from gar­den­ing in the area. The Bon­av­ista Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety (BHORTS) was born.

Of course, a so­ci­ety needs mem­bers, and in the course of chats with known gar­den­ers about how we could make a pos­i­tive im­pact on the town, be­fore long I had more than 15 names on my list, enough to call a meet­ing to dis­cuss the “ big pic­ture.”

BHORTS was to be an in­for­mal or­ga­ni­za­tion, in some ways a so­cial group that could ad­vise cit­i­zens, groups and gov­ern­ing bod­ies in the re­gion on any land­scap­ing re­lated projects. I felt, be­ing in­volved with the Bon­av­ista His­toric Town­scape foun­da­tion and in­ter­ested in their many ini­tia­tives, that our land­scape ef­forts would com­ple­ment her­itage preser­va­tion nicely. At our very first meet­ing I spoke on “Bon­av­ista, the town of trees,” ref­er­enc­ing an early twen­ti­eth cen­tury post­card from the town I had found.

It was de­cided that our first plan was to hold a fundraiser to buy trees for his­toric down­town Bon­av­ista, where few orig­i­nal or­na­men­tal trees were still stand­ing. What would make an ob­vi­ous fundraiser for a group such as ours, we thought? A bake sale? A pro­duce sale? A PLANT SALE! We would have a plant and bake sale in one of Bon­av­ista’s re­stored, but at the time va­cant, build­ings.

We set about pot­ting up as many peren­ni­als as pos­si­ble from our own gar­dens adding in a few bed­ding plants for colour as well, while oth­ers baked cook­ies and cakes. We ad­ver­tised with a few posters and an ad on the lo­cal com­mu­nity chan­nel for the mid-June event.

The day came and be­fore the doors opened there was a gather­ing out­side and within an hour ev­ery plant and baked item was sold. We made over $500 for our group and pur­chased six ma­ture trees for key lo­ca­tions in the town’s his­toric core.

Since that time we have part­nered with the Town of Bon­av­ista to de­sign and plant all flower beds within the com­mu­nity, as well as part­ner­ing with the His­toric Bon­av­ista Town­scape Foun­da­tion to help de­sign and plant a large pub­lic gar­den/park space.

This sum­mer our group has also part­nered again to buy some 55 trees and shrubs for the down­town core and har­bourfront of Bon­av­ista, se­lect­ing the best species for each en­vi­ron­ment and lo­ca­tion. We are also pre­par­ing for our third an­nual plant and bake sale, to be held this year at Bon­av­ista’s his­toric Orange Hall, ad­ja­cent to the new Bon­av­ista Pub­lic Gar­den.

This year’s sale will be held on Satur­day June 18 at 10 a.m. Once again we have a great se­lec­tion of peren­ni­als, pa­tio planters, tomato and pump­kin plants, as well as baked goods. All our plants are lo­cally grown by our mem­bers and all funds go to­ward new ini­tia­tives of our group.

Over the last three sum­mers I have proven, with the help of de­voted mem­bers, that groups such as ours have a strong im­pact on com­mu­ni­ties. Our so­ci­ety links with other groups, pro­vides beau­ti­fi­ca­tion of our town’s en­vi­ron­ment and of­fers worth­while ac­tiv­i­ties and projects for our mem­bers to be in­volved with, mak­ing a big dif­fer­ence in Bon­av­ista.

In my mind al­most any town or com­mu­nity could cre­ate a group such as ours, as long as the in­ter­est and pas­sion is there. A lit­tle idea has be­come a greater suc­cess then I had ever dreamed. There were naysay­ers along the way — ‘ there are few if any groups such as this out­side of big cities,” I was told — yet to­day, the power of the flower is grow­ing in Bon­av­ista and to help fos­ter its growth, sup­port the Bon­av­ista Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety this sum­mer and make this town bloom.

New mem­bers are wel­come!

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