"Our plan will involve transforming a litter-strewn and weed-infested eyesore into a low maintenance, soft-coloured, relaxing country flower garden that will be enjoyed by those living, working or simply passing through the area."
Most people driving by the St. Margarets Bay Shopping Village at the junction of Highway No. 3 and Sonny's Road, note the beauty of the garden planted there. A project of the St. Margaret's Bay Gardening Club (SMBGC), it is interesting to guess how long the Crossroads Garden has been in existence. Although many shrubs and perennials are mature, others are still being planted to keep the garden refreshed and interesting.
Milestone dates associated with the Garden are listed below. Further history, collected from many of the founding and existing members, follows.
1997 -start of planning - initial site preparation and plantings
1998 -site development planting
2010 -retaining wall built
2011 -new shrub bed created - educational project initiated
A garden of this size cannot be created or maintained without many hands and minds. It is not possible to include names of all who have contributed to the Crossroads Garden since its inception, but all of the many club and community members must know how much their contributions are appreciated by those who enjoy the beauty of the garden.
Planning for the garden started in 1997. Together Barb Matthews and Shirley McNeish, co-presidents of SMBGC at the time, were the driving force behind the establishment of the garden. Their vision and enthusiasm translated club discussions about fostering pride in community and bridging with other people and organizations to beautify areas in which we live.
Members provided suggestions for community plantings at a regular monthly meeting and a committee was formed.
Contact was made with Wayne Redmond who owned most of the property and with the Department of Transportation which owns all land from 33 feet of the centre line of the highway. Wayne and management of Home Hardware have been very supportive of the initiative from its inception to the present date. The province provided useful information on safety issues pertaining to highway landscaping.
Jean Dickson agreed to coordinate the implementation of the garden. In October of 1997 a community Planting Work Party was organized to clean the debris and cut back and tidy the weeds in an area of approximately 176 feet bordering Highway 3. Initially, the bones of the garden consisted of the birch tree at the shopping centre entrance and some peony bushes. A small rock bed was fashioned around the main highway sign where 50 daffodils and some garden divisions, donated by a member and a friend of SMBGC, were planted.
In 1998 Wayne Redmond financed the work of an excavator to prepare the area. His financial contribution also included the cost of delivery of garden soil. Bark mulch was donated by Bowater Mersey. A work party of SMBGC members and non-member volunteers worked diligently to further prepare the site and spread the soil and mulch.
Members researched appropriate planting materials and generated a list of desired plants which was circulated to members and neighbouring businesses. Plants were selected and planted based on the following criteria: ease of maintenance, restful to the eye, pleasing from all directions, few simple lines, differing bloom time, clustering to create soft lines, and quick spread.
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History of the Crossroads Garden
1 Letter from Jean Dickson, SMBGC to Lion’s Club, 1998.