Documents: Communities in Bloom:

Communities in Bloom - Chetwynd
by Barb Foster
by Barb Foster


Inspired to nuture, Barb Foster took up gardening over a decade ago. She has a particular passion for this areas hardy perennials.

Barb collects her own seeds, grows seedlings in a greenhouse and has 500 sq ft of growing beds plus numerous perennial flower beds in her Zone 1b garden in Chetwynd, B.C.

Barb writes weekly for the Chetwynd Echo.

August 17, 2003

When the community of Chetwynd first entered the Communities in Bloom competition, one year of my column "In Barb' Garden" was included as part of our entry. Ellen from the Chetwynd Communty Improvements Committee, told me that my garden column had inspired her both in her gardening efforts and to enter Chetwynd in the Communities in Bloom competition.

I came to Chetwynd already determined to grow hardy perennial plants, and brought 750 plants with me when I came. My inspiration came from my grandmother who after spending most of her life in the more northern areas of Canada and being told she could not grow a flower garden in the north, moved to the south coast of British Columbia and resorted to picking up pop bottles along the highway in order to purchase her garden plants. When I moved north to the Caribou my new neighbors had the same mind set "You can't grow a flower garden here!" they would say. Then one day while driving through the back country we came upon an old homestead - the buildings falling down, but by the road side a large clump of red Oriental Poppy in full bloom said to me "Oh yes, we survived!". When I left the Caribou I too left behind among many other hardy plants several large clumps of Oriental Poppy.

I arrived in Chetwynd, with my green house, plants and determination. I joined the local garden club and found to my great dismay not gardeners but a garden club that had evolved into a farmers market. In spite of efforts to change this we still have not yet developed the Garden Club as we would like to see it, but we are working in that direction.

The first spring of my residence here in Chetwynd brought the opportunity to act as volunteer hostess of a radio garden program on our local CHET 94.5 F.M. station. In spite of, or perhaps because of my overwhelming fear of public speaking, I did the show (with my knees shaking every moment I spent on the air). It was a once in a lifetime experience I cherish. After the spring radio show ended I thought I did so enjoy sharing the gardening experience that I volunteered to write a garden column for our local newspaper. We call the column 'In Barb's Garden'.

Over the past two years the community of Chetwynd has participated in the Communities in Bloom; this column being a small part of our entry. The following is a sample of 'In Barb's Garden', written about the column and Communities in Bloom.

"The goals of this column are similar to those of the Communities in Bloom; that is to encourage our community to participate in making our community a better more inviting environment in which to live. I know that it makes a difference; the new cobblestone sidewalks were being installed when Ron and I first arrived in Chetwynd. We were impressed that this small community was moving in a direction that pleased us and that this would be a pleasant place to live. When each household makes an effort to say I care about my home, I care about my environment, I care about my neighbor; by cleaning up, by landscaping, by putting up Christmas lighting, by growing a garden. This caring is evident to others and when they look at our community as a potential home for their family, for their business etc. they too might say what a lovely little community, what caring people must live here, perhaps this would be a good place to settle and live.

The feeling of shared security and of caring is found in the flower gardens up and down the streets of town, and it is truly there, the citizens of Chetwynd truly do care.

Of course on an individual level, growing plants is beneficial to the grower. As one cares for plants one begins to appreciate the beauty of nature, to learn about the relationship between the soil and life; to watch a tiny seed grow into a mature plant is truly an experience that instills a wonder and appreciation of nature. Gardening can be an outlet for artistic creativity; the gardens reflect the individualÂ?s own personal preferences. It is ones own creation, a living work of art. And all the while the garden is growing the individual is growing too.

Christmas lighting is also a part of the Communities in Bloom competition. Chetwynd is lighting up the town with colourful Christmas lights. We cheer as each neighbor puts up Christmas lighting; it is uplifting to see cheery bright lights on these long winter nights and to feel the joy and security of being surrounded by caring neighbours. So share the joy, light up the night!"

This spring I am participating in the local Adopt-An-Area Program, by helping with the installation of a new garden at the Chetwynd Public Library. I will continue to write my column which is now also available on the 'I Can Garden" web site, for just as long as someone will put it in print.



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