FOR THE GAZETTE
At Tuesday’s regular council meeting held virtually, Prince Edward County Mayor Steve Ferguson proclaimed council support for the Hope is Growing campaign, an initiative led by Wentworth Landscapes in Picton.
The campaign, led by Wentworth Landscapes, encourages organizations, community groups and individuals to plant “hope gardens” featuring yellow flowers or vegetation which is the international colour of hope.
“I urge all citizens of our municipality to create a yellow sea of hope garden and be it further resolved that we join the hope is growing campaign and be a beacon leading the way to create hope in our community, across Canada and around the world,” Ferguson said in his proclamation.
Scott Wentworth, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wentworth Landscapes, presented an overview of the campaign to council, stating it provides a sense of hope which is “essential to the human spirit and fundamental to community wellbeing.”
“It is fundamental to moving us forward to achievement; to building the community that is working together to what we hope for,” Wentworth said. “As our communities move through this time of COVID, hope is of even greater social importance.”
He said in a time of social isolation, there has been an incredible surge in people reconnecting with nature, the outdoors and gardens.
“The Hope Is Growing campaign is an elegantly simple way to focus our individual and collective expressions of hope,” he explained.
Wentworth said though the program is originating in Prince Edward County, there is already interest across Canada and beyond, including several European countries.
“We are hoping to see the land awash with yellow. We want to see people being engaged in this program and planting these gardens, whether it be yellow flowering plants, yellow leaf plants, yellow fruit or vegetables even. Expressing this in any way, whether it’s as simple as a planter on a balcony, to a school yard, to municipal plantings,” he said.
The campaign is in partnership with Communities in Bloom, a Canadian non-profit organization and national charity which, according to its website, is committed to fostering civic pride, environmental responsibility and beautification through community involvement.
The organization also features a national and provincial challenge which the County has previously participated in, Wentworth added.
The Hope Is Growing campaign has partners engaged from coast to coast, he shared, which will start the program off with great energy.
Individuals or groups who plant a Hope Garden can share photos to the Communities in Bloom social media accounts using the hashtag #hopeisgrowing which will automatically enter them into the provincial competition.
“You will become knowledgeable for national and global recognition for your efforts and also receive a downloadable Hope Gardens sign and information about hardy plants and growing tips for success,” he said.
The first community Hope Garden will be planted in May at the front entrance of the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital so it can be in full bloom by the summer.
Communities in Bloom and its partners, including Wentworth Landscapes, Come Alive Outside and Prince Edward County will work together to encourage everyone to create Hope Gardens for 2021.