March 2017 – Anne Darley

Macoun Garden Provides Perfect Antidote to 37 Years in the Workforce

After 37 years in the workforce, clocking 8 hours, five days a week, Anne Darley was ready to pack it in. However, in 2011, as she closed the chapter on 27 years at the Merivale and Meadowlands branch of the Bank of Nova Scotia, Anne had no concrete plans for retirement. “I just wanted time to myself,” she explains. It would be another three years before Anne sought out volunteer opportunities and found herself in the Macoun Memorial Garden, happily weeding, thinning, and deadheading along with her fellow Friends’ volunteers.

Born and raised on Montreal’s south shore, Anne moved to Ottawa with her five sisters after her father died in his early 40s, and her mother resumed her nursing career. “My aunt lived in Ottawa so it was a natural choice.” Anne has a long-time, although tenuous, connection to the Farm. I have a vague recollection of picnics at the Farm when the family used to visit from Montreal and my aunt was once a Friends’ volunteer.” After three years on the sidelines, Anne missed the social interaction that comes with the workplace. “I learned that I needed to be with other people now and again and I wanted to do something outdoors.”

As a Friends’ volunteer, Anne wears several hats – she works in the Macoun Garden, sorts books in the winter, and helps at events whenever she can.  Although she enjoys all aspects of volunteering, the garden team tops the list. “I find it very therapeutic, working outdoors in a relaxed atmosphere. I usually stay back after our Monday session and tour the gardens. It’s been great to reconnect with the Farm.”

Mary Ann Smythe, March 2017.   Photo by Polly McColl.