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Community garden sprouts in the Highlands

Committee already looking to add grow boxes
Highlands residents wander through the new community garden at 729 Finlayson Arm Rd. behind the community hall during the grand opening on Sunday. (Libby McMinn photo)

Things are officially in bloom at the Highlands Community Garden.

The garden, which sits on municipal land at 729 Finlayson Arm Rd. behind the community hall, opened over the weekend to much anticipation.

“I’m just extremely pleased,” said committee chair Marlene Tyshynski about Sunday’s grand opening, which drew more than 50 people and included a barbecue, refreshments and entertainment.

“I’m really impressed with the generosity of community members, volunteers who have donated hundreds of hours of work, businesses, and the people that have done tonnes of work on the garden.”

The organic garden, which will be overseen by the Highlands Parks and Recreation Association, currently has 10 beds for families in the Highlands to rent and grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. Soil and equipment is provided in the annual cost.

Plans for the garden have been in the works since September 2015, when roughly 60 Highlanders signed a petition indicating they would like to see a community garden built.

Shortly after, a committee of gardening enthusiasts hosted their first meeting in January 2016 and continued to host workshops and meetings over the past two-and-a-half years.

During that time, the committee has applied for and received a number of grants to help build the garden, a shed and stock it with gardening tools.

RELATED: Community gardens sprouting on the West Shore

Tyshynski said the garden has helped create a sense of community.

“It’s so difficult to garden here because it’s expensive to build the fencing and get the irrigation in place,” she said, adding there is already a wait list of five families for next year and there are also options for communal gardening.

“Our properties tend to be large acreages and there’s few opportunities to get together. You go attend an event, but there’s very few opportunities to spend time together. I think it really appeals to that. It’s a very friendly community.”

And the committee isn’t stopping there. It’s also received funding to plant a number of fruit and nut trees, as well as berry bushes in the fall, and will add 17 garden boxes, a children’s garden, and accessible waist-high garden boxes in the future.

“The Highlands Community Garden committee has done a stellar job of organization,” Mayor Ken Williams said. “The volunteers have not only created a beautiful garden, but are sowing seeds of friendship and connection.”

For more information about the Highlands Community Garden email

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Highlands Mayor Ken Williams cuts a ribbon Sunday to signal the official opening of the new community garden at 729 Finlayson Arm Rd. behind the community hall. (Libby McMinn photo)

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