Bon­av­ista set­ting the ex­am­ple on beau­ti­fi­ca­tion

The Southern Gazette - - EDITOR’S VIEWPOINT - If you have any ques­tions about gar­den­ing email me any­time at ‘john­nor­[email protected]’. John Nor­man gar­dens in Bon­av­ista.

The Bon­av­ista Hor­ti­cul­tural So­ci­ety (BHORTS) is go­ing strong!

Who would have thought four years af­ter the group’s cre­ation we would have planted over 100 trees in our com­mu­nity, de­signed and planted all town flower beds each spring, spread wild­flow­ers along Bon­av­ista’s high­ways and ditches and have im­ple­mented and con­tinue to main­tain a siz­able pub­lic gar­den in the town.

We are in­deed for­tu­nate as well to have ac­cess to a large green­house at the Col­lege of the North At­lantic cam­pus for our use.

Through a strong mem­ber­ship of ap­prox­i­mately 15 vol­un­teers, our lit­tle so­ci­ety has ‘ blos­somed’ into a suc­cess­ful com­mu­nity guide for gar­den­ing and en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness.

Our or­ga­ni­za­tion of­fers land­scape as­sis­tance in de­sign prin­ci­ples, species se­lec­tion and mi­cro-cli­mate as­sess­ment through­out Bon­av­ista and the sur­round­ing area when re­quested by res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial prop­erty own­ers. For th­ese ser­vices we sim­ply ask for a small do­na­tion to­ward our trea­sury.

In the year 2012, I find it hard to imag­ine not more of th­ese en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial groups ex­ist in our prov­ince. What com­mu­nity wouldn’t ben­e­fit from some form of hor­ti­cul­tural so­ci­ety, club, or group?

Yet, in our prov­ince fewer than five botan­i­cally-fo­cused groups are ac­tive.

The pop­u­la­tion of a vil­lage, town or city in­flu­ences the kind of ac­tiv­ity in which a hor­ti­cul­tural group is in­volved. In cities and large towns for ex­am­ple, th­ese groups will likely be a more so­cial or­ga­ni­za­tion, with pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and mem­ber ben­e­fits a pri­or­ity.

Due to large ur­ban bud­gets, parks, gar­dens and tree-lined streets can be main­tained by a fleet of city work­ers. In smaller ar­eas, in other words, the ma­jor­ity of New­found­land and Labrador mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, vol­un­teers have a ma­jor role to play in town beau­ti­fi­ca­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness.

To fos­ter a group such as ours in ru­ral New­found­land, part­ner­ships are key. Through­out Bon­av­ista we have found part­ners and fi­nan­cial sup­ports.

In our first year the Town of Bon­av­ista part­nered with our group to de­sign and plant all town flower dis­plays, with the town sup­ply­ing the plant ma­te­rial. By year four, our town hall has pro­vided us with two work­ers for land­scape main­te­nance for 11 sites within the town and a bud­get for all plant ma­te­rial.

The Bon­av­ista His­toric Town­scape Foun­da­tion also be­gan work­ing with us soon af­ter our in­cep­tion, part­ner­ing on the de­sign and in­stal­la­tion of a for­mal pub­lic gar­den that is now in the process of ma­tur­ing. This summer the foun­da­tion will in­stall an ar­bour for vines, adding greater struc­ture to the gar­den.

Our most re­cent part­ner is the Col­lege of the North At­lantic, along with the Bon­av­ista In­sti­tute for Cul­tural Tourism, which has pro­vided us free us­age of its com­mer­cial-sized green­house. Our mem­bers can now use sec­tions of this fa­cil­ity to grow any crops they like, as well as or­na­men­tals for the pub­lic gar­den and our annual plant sale.

And last, but cer­tainly not least, since our in­cep­tion we have re­ceived funds from Sco­tia­bank through the in­volve­ment of re­tired bank work­ers in our so­ci­ety.

With th­ese sup­ports, fundrais­ing has never be­come oner­ous. Thus far, our one and only ma­jor fundraiser each sea­son is our plant and bake sale. Pro­ceeds from the sale gen­er­ally pro­vide us enough funds to buy 15-30 trees each year and plant bulbs at the pub­lic gar­den in the fall.

Com­mu­nity sup­port for this event has been over­whelm­ing since the be­gin­ning and we tend to sell hun­dreds of our lo­cally-grown peren­ni­als, annuals and trees.

This week my mes­sage is great ben­e­fits can be reaped in a com­mu­nity where a few hor­ti­cul­tur­ists get together and vol­un­teer some time. Any town could fos­ter, and use a group such as ours.

The size of your com­mu­nity will sim­ply dic­tate what your goals will be.

So get out there gar­den­ers and see if your com­mu­nity can be helped by your tal­ents!

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