March 2018 – Denise Kennedy

Volunteering With the Friends

Driving along Prince of Wales Drive on a cold February morning in 2006 with thoughts of life after retirement and plans to expand her own flower gardens fresh in her mind, Denise Kennedy spotted a sign for the FCEF, and, well, the rest is history.

When Denise initially joined the Friends, the Rose Team caught her attention. With Ottawa in the midst of a deep freeze, gardening was a distant dream. So, wanting to capitalize on an eager volunteer, then Office Manager Marsha Gutierrez asked Denise to answer phones one day a week.

It led to helping with many fundraising events, including turning the annual FCEF plant sale into a mini market place currently featuring 25 vendors. Denise accepted the challenge to be the FCEF bus tour manager when asked by then President Valerie Cousins in 2007, in addition to serving on the Board for six years and managing the Membership portfolio.

The first two trips were to the International Garden Show in Montreal with the Ontario Botanical Society. Soon Denise was organizing a four-day jaunt to the Niagara region. Other successful tours followed. To date, she has organized ten bus trips for the Friends. The trips sell themselves, attracting repeat customers and adding substantially to the Friends’ coffers.

In 2012, Denise accepted to lead the team in the Macoun Ornamental Garden. “I love our Monday mornings in the garden,” she says. “We have a great team and I enjoy the companionship. I love the continuity of working in the gardens and being out in nature again.”

Photo by Polly McColl.