It started over three years ago now. Rick and I were waiting behind one of those windows for the news. In our case, at that time, the news was good. I remember looking out the window and thinking that it was strange to have a window on the internal side of the hospital. That's when I saw the garden in its early spring condition. It was a peaceful looking place during what felt like a world of turmoil.
I heard about the volunteers who looked after the garden at the Summerside Garden Club which organizes the group. I started later that year and I've been involved since then. It was a way to give thanks for the great work the hospital staff did for our family.
The garden is in a courtyard in the center of the hospital, with patient rooms, corridors, stairs and offices in the building surrounding it. The brick walls are in sharp contrast to the shrubs, trees and plants that abound in the garden. Over the last year lovely sculptures have appeared as well, donated by generous people.
By mid August, there isn't as much colour in the garden as there is in the late spring, but the annuals still add their vibrant splashes. The varieties of green provided by the hostas along the walkway grab the eye. The work of the volunteers is obvious in the condition of the garden.
The volunteers today, Betty Miles and Deb Vickerson, each pick a spot and begin their work for the morning. Betty, who lives in an apartment, loves gardening and without a garden of her own now, enjoys her work in this peaceful place. Deb, whose husband is a doctor at the hospital, loves gardening as well and volunteers as a way to give back to the community.
As with any garden, you could spend hours working at this one every day. In this place, you pick a spot or a job and begin. Today I decide to trim the flower stalks on the hostas. While we work, one of the hospital staff pushes the door open enough to tell us how much she enjoys the garden and appreciates the work of the volunteers. This has happened a number of times as we've worked there.
An hour later and the hostas are trimmed. A brief chat with Betty and Deb and that's it for another month. That's as long as my back can take. There'll be another weekly tidy next month, then the fall clean-up will roll around in October.
The combined efforts of all the volunteers in maintaining this garden certainly provide respite for patients, their families and staff. Knowing this fact makes the effort so worthwhile.