The beautiful rose gardens in front of Abbeyfield House bloom every spring, and make the community that much more special for both residents and visitors.
The gardens, however, need a little help every year to continue blooming.
Ever since the gardens were planted in 2000 through a Communities in Bloom initiative, a small group of volunteers have come back every year to tidy up and fertilize the gardens.
“We have a core group that always comes, but we’re losing people due to age and moving away,” said Penny Shapperd, who was part of that original Communities in Bloom group.
“We thought this would be a good project for Communities in Bloom to undertake…It lifts your spirits when you walk past, and you can smell the roses.”
Shapperd expects that the work that needs to be done (weeding, fertilizing, pruning etc.) will take about three sessions, depending on how many volunteers come out. She usually gets between five and eight people coming out, but if 10 to 15 came, they could get all the work done much more quickly.
“It’s a problem getting people to help with the clean up in the spring. Everybody is so busy,” she said.
There is no gardening experience required to come and volunteer, Shapperd can show everyone what needs to be done. She recommends that you wear long sleeves, and bring a rake, kneeling pad, pruning sheers, and gloves if you have them.
“The ones who come all the time, we all have a few of each of these things, and we bring everything we’ve got and lend them out. But if you’ve got it, it helps,” said Shapperd.
These gardens have been part of the community for more than a decade, and Shapperd is determined not to let them disappear.
“Not only the people at Abbeyfield, but the community really enjoys these gardens. Weddings are often photographed here. It’s worth it because everybody enjoys it,” she said. “It would be sad to see it go. I’m getting older, and I feel it when I put too many hours in here. But I don’t want to let it go, so the more volunteers I get the better.”
To volunteer for one of the clean up sessions, the first of which is May 1, you can contact Shapperd at email@example.com, or 250-344-5714.