September 2018 – Susan McGregor

September 2018 - Susan McGregor

The Simple Side to Gardening

Susan McGregor prefers a simple garden. No muss or fuss. That’s how she gardens in her own backyard. That’s also one reason why she enjoys volunteering weekly with the Macoun Memorial Garden Team at the Central Experimental Farm every year. “I like making things neat and tidy,” she says.

She also enjoys the social aspect of volunteering, being part of a core group of dedicated volunteer gardeners that return year after year from May until October.  “It’s a great group of people. You also get a good workout.” she says.

She laughs when she recounts the story of how her volunteer work with the Farm began back in 2014.  She had been a stay-at-home mom for many years. When her husband retired, she decided it would be fun to get out of the house to enjoy the freedom of the great outdoors. Now, she volunteers every Monday morning. Her husband volunteers too at the Farm on Fridays. They enjoy exchanging tips and other bits of information about their different teams.

She admits it’s sometimes hard work. Bending down to weed in the hot sun can sometimes be tiring. Then she laughs again, saying weeding is a great way to get rid of frustrations. When it gets too hot, she can always find some shady spot in the garden in the company of her garden friends. “We learn from each other,” she says. With her large team– as many as sixteen volunteers– there is lots of knowledge to share. “There is always someone who knows the name of a plant, or whether it’s a weed or not.”

William T. Macoun is remembered as an inspiration in the Canadian horticultural world. He headed the Horticulture Division at the Farm for 35 years, the recipient of many awards in his day for his knowledge and contributions. The Macoun Memorial Garden was opened on June 6, 1936 on the former site of his home there.

Nowadays, volunteers work dilligently to maintain the gardens.  “I chose well,” she says, thinking back on her decision to join the team.  She is committed to continue her volunteer efforts there with her team who are dedicated to preserving W.T Macoun’s legacy through this garden.

Text credit: Julianne Labreche

Photo credit: Denise Kennedy