G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital’s gardens are flourishing in Quesnel, thanks to the help of keen gardeners and local support. For the past seven years, next-door neighbours Wilma and Joan have volunteered their time to maintain the gardens with the goal of raising the spirits of hospital patients, staff, and visitors.
“We both just love gardening,” says Joan. “It’s our passion, just absolutely love it!”
The pair have over 20 years of gardening experience and are active in the Quesnel gardening community. They both feel very proud to give back to their community in this way.
Back in 2012, the hospital first approached the pair to pull out overgrown junipers and plant flowers. In the early years, the gardens were not properly maintained and the pair had a limited budget. Wilma and Joan took it upon themselves to not only take care of the gardens, but to head into the community and approach local businesses for support.
Over the years, local businesses have donated flowers, plants, trees, birdbaths, and other garden décor.
“The businesses have been great and helped out immensely,” says Wilma. G.R. Baker maintenance staff have also helped with heavy trimming, and watering the flowerpots around the facility.
Today, Joan and Wilma, with staff, and local businesses, maintain several gardens in front of the hospital. They start in the spring, meeting twice a month to clear debris from the fall and prepare the garden beds for the upcoming year. In the warmer months, they're on site more often, checking in on the gardens, watering, and caring for plants. While they’re on site, many visitors stop and say what a wonderful job they do.
Both Wilma and Joan are long-time residents of Quesnel, and say their “whole goal for the grounds is to cheer someone up who’s having a rough patch at the hospital.”
They hope this project can be a source of inspiration for all communities.
“We want people to keep an eye out for their next-door neighbour who’s elderly and can’t do their yard. Think ‘pay it forward.’ If everyone did that, it would just be really neat in our communities.”