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Valley garden provides food and hope

Volunteers are busy in Judy's Garden of Hope. Produce from the Valley garden is donated to the Colchester Food Bank.
Volunteers are busy in Judy's Garden of Hope. Produce from the Valley garden is donated to the Colchester Food Bank. - Contributed
VALLEY, N.S. —

A field in Valley has become a garden that supports those in need, as well as a memorial to a woman known for her gardening skills.
Judy’s Garden of Hope is named in honour of Judy Holmes who died in 2013, at the age of 58, of pancreatic cancer. It was started by young people from Valley and Greenfield United churches.
“Judy was a member of Greenfield United Church and she was very musical and did a lot of things with the Sunday school,” said Brenda Theakston, coordinator at the garden. “The young people knew her well and wanted to do something in her honour. She was an amazing gardener, so this is a wonderful legacy.”
The youth, along with other volunteers, built raised beds, carted soil and compost, planted seeds, and collected rainwater to water the plants. After the vegetables and greens were harvested they were delivered to the Colchester Food Bank. About 90 pounds of produce, mostly greens, has already been donated this year.
“We started with five planting beds and now have about 23,” said Theakston. “A grant from the United Church’s Mission and Service Fund  helped us enlarge the garden and have a well dug. Fundy Compost donated soil and compost this year and the Truro Wild Turkey Society built a fabulous shed for us.”
The land itself is owned by the Coldstream Pastoral Charge and a manse was once located there. It’s now often called the manse field.
Some of Judy Holmes’s flowers were moved to the garden and planted around a seating area. 
“We want this to be a peaceful, meditative place,” said Theakston. “People can come and just hang out and relax, but if they’re interested in volunteering in the garden they can do that too.
“We hope to make space available for school and community groups and have some programs. We’re going to have a pergola built, and that will provide seating arbors with shade and something for grape vines to grow on.”
Everyone is invited to stop by the garden on Sunday Aug. 25, between 3 and 6 p.m., for an open house and appreciation day. There will be displays, tours, children’s activities, food and music. The garden is located in the field across from 300 Salmon River Road.
 

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