While no longer an active member of Western’s Friends of the Gardens (FOG), I applaud the noble effort the Friends (who remain five in number) who for the past 27 years have staged an annual plant sale.
More than $70,000 has been raised over these years by FOG, most of which has gone toward undergraduate Science student bursaries. In addition, several tables have been donated by them to the greenhouse. The members include staff members, alumni, two members from the community and, during the sale, some students come to give a hand.
Having a yearly plant sale has not been an easy task. In the beginning, the group regularly tended three gardens plus, in many cases, their own gardens which, at that time of the year, needed a great deal of work. Then, there was unstinting support from Parking Services, Facilities Management, Food Services and other branches of administration.
People on campus came and went and many supporters of this group moved on. Some of the replacements are unaware of FOG and its contribution.
During spring, seedlings (the future plants for the sale) are nurtured in a room in the greenhouse, cuttings are struck and divisions are divided from mature plants. In addition, members grow their own annuals, veggies, herbs, etc., in their own homes preparing for the event. The aforementioned sale requires a mammoth effort – heavy tables, plants and other equipment must be hauled up from their place of storage in the B&G basement and later carted back downstairs.
Now that this year’s sale has netted around $3,000 for the bursaries, the group can get back to doing some work in the gardens – pulling weeds, clipping down those omnipresent weed trees, rescuing precious plants in danger of being smothered – all those fun things gardeners love to do.
I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Western’s Friends of the Gardens for all the hard work they have done and continue to do for the university. Long may they thrive.