What’s Growing at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens: Growing Gratitude

What’s Growing at the Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens: Growing Gratitude
By Adrien Rawley, Horticulture Assistant and Educator

There is something truly magical about autumn in the Annapolis Valley. The way the sun rises a little bit later every morning, peeking over the horizon further and further south with the passing days. The way the early morning glow catches the heavy dew carpeting the fields and forests, glinting with the last promises of summer’s heat. The way we gather, store, and share so much abundance, as evidenced by the bursting farmers markets, the activity of squirrels, and the profusion of seeds, nuts, berries and fruit given freely by the green members of our community. It is a time to celebrate all the literal and metaphorical fruits of our labours from the past season! We celebrate alone, we celebrate together, we celebrate with a collective sense of gratitude that asks us to pause, slow down and reflect on the gifts we receive.

Within the culture of giving is the experience of receiving. Perhaps this is why many of us fall into the never-ending dance of gardening. A garden’s generosity is directly related to our own. We share our energy with the earth, tend to seedlings, and create an environment that hopefully is encouraging of growth. Whether a garden is a singular plant on the kitchen windowsill or a 15-acre farm, the equation is the same: giving = receiving = giving. Anyone who has ever grown zucchini knows this equation well!

Did you know that if you’ve ever attended our spring plant sale you have directly supported fantastic opportunities for others to experience generosity? With the sale of every plant, funds become available to support educational programming at the Botanical Gardens. As often mentioned, our volunteer group, who spearhead the plant sale, is a fundamental piece of the work that we do at the K.C. Irving Centre. We have offered several botanical art workshops this past season with Acadia Alumni Twila Robar-DeCoste. Twila is a professional instructor and her beautiful work can be seen in field guides and galleries throughout our region and beyond. Every course at The Gardens has offered participants an opportunity to truly see the magnificent detail of native plants. Every leaf became a new world, a seed a whole universe, and the entirety of a plant, complete magic. It is hard to un-see what is discovered!

Our volunteers, always in support of helping others connect to the incredible world of plants, have realized the value in helping Acadia students access one of Twila’s workshops. By sponsoring a day-long course on October 13, they’ve ensured that participating students are only responsible for covering the cost of materials, an incredible value. Twila is delighted to continue sharing her energy, especially with students from varying faculties across campus. She herself has received so much from her time as a student at Acadia in both knowledge and inspiration. As we well know, giving back is one of the greatest gifts we can ever share. Your support of our work in native plant gardening has directly created this opportunity for 12 very excited students. Isn’t that just great!?

The spirit of gratitude runs deeply through The Gardens. Every flower, leaf, and stem truly is a miracle, and witnessing their growth always gives me pause for thanks. As the days continue to cool, Melanie and I, working alongside each other, watch 6 acres of life move through the cycling seasons. We are honoured to experience constant transformation and grateful to help share the lessons of our native plant communities. In life, there is always so much to be thankful for and gardens have a way of helping us remember to celebrate.

For more information on the course or to register (students only, please!):
Email Twila Robar-DeCoste at robardecoste@ns.sympatico.ca
Phone: (902) 847-9847

Harriet Irving Botanical Gardens
Acadia University
botanicalgardens.acadiau.ca