Winner Category 6
The Barnardo garden has a lengthy history. Starting in 1991, a local gardener, Zolton Banks, had a vision to beautify a traffic island bounded by Barnardo Avenue and Wolsely Street in Peterborough, Ontario. 17 years later it has passed into the hands of a new group of gardeners who have made it a space that drivers can appreciate as they travel by.
In 2009 the Barnardo Garden had fallen into disrepair and without the manpower to maintain it, had become heavily overgrown, so local gardener, Dayle Finlay decided to take on the daunting project. Shirley Scott, Jen Bird and Cauleen Viscoff came on board soon after. With over 75 years of gardening experience among them, they brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the project. The garden was so far gone by the time they took on the project, the entire site had to be bulldozed. They only managed to save some of the original plants that they replanted once the site was cleared. They begged and borrowed shovels and the muscle behind them and got to work making it beautiful again.
It began as a ‘pretty’ garden with different varieties of pink and purple flowers but they quickly realized that they needed to provide the garden with some height and structure as most of the viewing audience of the garden were driving by in their cars. They chose plants and trees that would have an immediate impact like the giant fleece flower which takes centre stage in the middle of the garden along with the Dolgo crabapple trees (from which they made some prize-winning jelly). The Japanese maple needs replacing as it sadly succumbed to salt and road debris last winter. Bushes and shrubs created texture as well as providing a variety of shapes and colours and cozy spaces for bunnies and the odd family of ducks.
The garden runs about fifty by one hundred feet now and definitely requires more volunteers to keep with the gout weed and general maintenance!
The Barnado garden was created to beautify a dirt-filled traffic island in 1991, and today a dedicated team of volunteers continue to keep it vibrant.