Similar to the way a seed grows into a tree, a single experience can create a ripple effect, in your life, turning something small into something extraordinary. As such, let me share with you a story about how a nature-loving boy named Nathaniel opened the door for 16 children to experience the historical gardens at Fort Edmonton Park.
I met Nathaniel when was working in the Ottewell’s garden in 2017 when he approached me to ask about a gardening artefact. He was fascinated by a rototiller from the late 1800’s and was eager to learn everything he could about historical gardening! I had never met someone with such a passion for gardening at such a young age; he even had his very own garden at home. Nathaniel’s guardian, Pierre, explained how he was only in the third grade but had already discovered his passion for both gardening and nature. This happily surprised me, as I truly believe in the importance of integrating nature back into youth through gardening. Charmed by a like-minded gardening spirit, I asked him if he would like to have some seeds from the Fort to plant in his own garden. He happily accepted and declared that he too would mail me some of his seeds in return. With hopeful anticipation, I looked forward to receiving the seeds in the mail. Time passed and the gardening season came and went and I did not receive those seeds in the mail.
As the 2018 gardening season was in full swing, to my surprise, Nathaniel and his family and friends were waiting for me in the Ottewell garden with warm greetings and seeds as gifts. Nathaniel offered to help me plant and water the garden while his family and friends explored the Park. At the end of their adventure at the Park, Nathaniel’s family and friends agreed that they would love to help out in the future.
On July 28, six families associated with the Waldorf Independent School of Edmonton came to help with garden-related activities at the Park. Individuals of all ages helped out with the massive garden by pulling out invasive weeds and feeding them to the friendly Fort pigs. After their weed pulling session, they experienced a water brigade and watered the plants. Their day concluded with a Victorian flower pressing activity where they pressed and brought home a flower as a keepsake from Fort Edmonton Park.
I am so grateful to have met those families and share my love of gardening and history with them. If you would like to learn more about nature and historical gardening, I urge you to come visit Fort Edmonton Park. Maybe you too will be inspired like Nathaniel and spread your love of gardening to other people in your life.