Cornwallis Community Gardens is hosting the event at the corner of South Broadway and Brig Lane in the Cornwallis Park residential area Aug. 23 from 2 to 4 p.m. and it’s the culmination of a four-year Path to Confederation project commemorating Canadian Confederation in 1867.
Gardens manager Elizabeth McMichael said everyone is welcome and urges costumes and cameras and hints that there are some garden-related prizes.
The Cornwallis Community Gardens Association was established by McMichael in 2010 with the aim of facilitating inter-generational exchange of information, practical results, and increasing knowledge of all residents in various aspects of gardening.
They built the gardens on the pipe- and concrete-strewn site of an old barracks that had previously served, among other uses, as the former navy base’s military jail -- or brig as it was popularly known.
“Six adults and some school children surveyed the site and knew there was a lot of work ahead,” said McMichael. “But, we and many others cooperated – and worked hard – and today we have a community garden of which all can be justifiably proud.”
The garden has upwards of 40 beds available for lease. Some are one foot in height, others are three or four feet high; all to enable gardening by individuals with varying physical capacities. In addition, there is a greenhouse, compost beds, apple trees, a peach tree, blueberry bushes, grape vines, rhubarb bushes, and a new rock garden.
The Cornwallis Community Gardens Association has formed associations with other organizations, such as the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, with the aim of cooperating in all aspects of gardening.
For the past four years, the Gardens has been engaged in an important historic and heritage project: The Path to Confederation.
Beginning in 2014, there has been a summer garden party each year to commemorate the historic events of 1864, ‘65, ‘66 and culminating with Confederation in 1867. Officials with the PEI provincial archives have greatly contributed to this endeavour by supplying historical recipes and other pertinent information, McMichael said.
Period costumes have been worn by some and Peter Davies, the Annapolis County Crier and his wife and escort, Valerie Davies have added to the splendor of these parties. This year’s garden party will be the last in this series but, doubtless, there will be other projects in the future, she said.
McMichael is lavish in her praise for those individuals, organizations, businesses and governments that have greatly assisted over the years and looks forward to increased growth in the Cornwallis Community Gardens.
McMichael has found herself being consulted more and more as a resource person and mentor from those who wish to set up community gardens. She has two main guidelines: there must be strong, intergenerational support and there must be a supervisor who is willing to be in the garden each and every day.