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“Located in the blossoming town of Niverville lies a beautiful garden tended entirely by volunteers.”

Norman Wittick, was the founder of the town’s credit union and is the namesake of this garden. Established in the

fall of 2008,

the garden is now home to over 100 memorial roses. For $100 families can purchase a rose and plaque to remem- ber their loved ones, adding to the garden’s overall beauty. Each rose, tended to by volunteers, is offered perpetual care, meaning if the plant dies, it will be replaced free of charge in perpetuity. Remembering their roots

The Pioneer Commemorative

Garden pays tribute to the founders of the town. Located on the historic Red River and on the edge of the Menno- nite settlements, the town has a rich cultural history. Many groups includ- ing French and Scottish settlers, and Metis and Mennonites have strong roots here. Here, 13 different planting areas pay respect to the nationalities of the families who originally settled here.

Junior Gardeners The Junior Gardener program

provides an intergenerational space for kids to garden with seniors. This seven- year-old program, draws in anywhere from 24 to 49 children between the ages of five and 12 every year. Care of the five raised garden beds, located behind the gazebo, filled with vegeta- bles, herbs and flowers are part of their responsibilities as Junior Gardeners. “There is always a “learning moment” where the children can discover things like composting, bugs, or other lessons from the garden,” says Audrey Gatey. A sixth bed is looked after by a

couple, 92- and 93-years-young, who recently moved into the retirement residence after owning and operating their own farm. It’s provided them with a great way to remain in touch with the land. Not only are the children able to

learn by doing, but the residents are able to enjoy watching the kids play and work. All of this could not be possible

without the help and dedication of volunteers. Every “Weedless Wednes- day”, five to seven volunteers descend on the gardens to keep them weed free and looking their best.

One of their famous music in the garden events. Volunteers get a chance to share the

joy of gardening with others through “music in the garden” events. Planned throughout the summer and fall, resi- dents and visitors can come and enjoy the garden while listening to local musi- cal artists. “Last year there were over 150 people in attendance and we had a beautiful day for everyone to enjoy the outdoors,” says Shirley Hoult. Here in Niverville, the gardens really are alive with the sound of music. K

A plaque in the garden reads,"Dedicated to the determination and spirit of a community that imag- ined the dream of the Niverville Heritage Centre, and together made that dream a reality."

More gardens are on the way. Beautiful Gardens 2015 • 23

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