Moir Gardens: Community digs in




By Kate Watson

You may have noticed the following letter in this morning’s (August 12th) Chronicle Herald:

Five years ago was the beginning of The Moir Gardens on the Hawthorne Street side of Sullivans Pond in Dartmouth. We started from scratch by removing old dead and run-out shrub roses, digging out rocks as we went along, later making use of them building the attractive rock walls you see bordering the gardens.

The areas of bare ground that were created needed something, maybe some plants would look nice. In time, we created and maintained many lovely gardens. We purchased all plants and shrubs from garden centres, kept an eye on plant sales, divided perennials and got generous donations from fellow gardeners. No cost whatsoever to HRM.

Over the years, we lovingly cared for and maintained these gardens. In the fall of 2013, we informed HRM we could no longer care do so due to health reasons. We assumed the gardens would be maintained like Dillman Park, Findlay Park and other HRM gardens. But that has not been the case.

In one year, these gardens have become a sad, neglected mess. People strolling through ask what is happening. The time spent creating and caring for these gardens was both enjoyable and rewarding; it is sad. We have asked for the plaque “The Moir Gardens” placed by Coun. Gloria McCluskey to removed, as these once beautiful gardens have become an embarrassment and a disgrace.

Audrey (and Lorne) Moir, Dartmouth

I posted the letter right away on twitter and Facebook, and asked what people thought should and could be done.

The response was swift and heartening. Several people said they would be visiting the garden, tools in hand. Others started discussions around what  should be a city responsibility, and what should be a community responsibility.

As luck would have it, when I stopped by Moir Gardens earlier this afternoon to check out its condition, Heidi Boutilier, the city’s Horticultural Supervisor, was meeting with a potential volunteer about its maintenance.

Turns out that District 5 Councillor Gloria McCluskey had started the ball rolling by putting out a call for volunteers in her recent district newsletter.

Boutilier was happy to hear that so many people are interested in helping out with the garden. She says it was never intended to be a project that had to be maintained by city staff, but that it offered a great partnership opportunity with interested community members.

“The Dartmouth Horticultural Society has offered to take a hand in maintaining the garden,” Boutilier explained. “It’s great to know that people are so supportive and appreciative of urban gardens, and that they want to be involved.”

More information on the Dartmouth Horticultural Society is available here