Healthy Living in the North

A true community garden

Frequent visitors to the garden.

Locals from the neighbourhood, pictured right after they planted the plum tree. L-R: Wayne, James, Laura, Ginny, and Max the dog in front.

Several years ago, Laura Sandberg, an active senior citizen in Prince George, decided that she wanted to beautify the neighborhood. With donations from community businesses, youth groups and others, Laura transformed the vacant lot located at the corner of 10th avenue and Vancouver Street into an inspiring little garden.

As time goes by gardens can get to be a lot of work. I was admiring the lilacs last June when I met Laura. She told me the garden had become an overgrown jungle.

I offered to come and weed the garden and, as the story goes…one thing led to another. We ran a garden hose from the neighbor’s house. Soon we were watering and weeding on a regular basis and we trimmed the low hanging branches from the trees. The neighbors started to notice and two young guys came by in a pickup truck and hauled away the debris. Someone else came by with a weed eater. Plants started to magically appear. It seemed everyone liked the idea of reclaiming that little garden on the corner.

Irene and grandchildren watering flowers.

Irene with grandchildren Dredon and Jordin, watering the flowers.

This year, thanks to generous donations of lumber from Maple Reinders, a contractor working on the new RCMP building on Victoria Street, steer manure from Bryant Electric, and plants from neighbors and local contractors, we built raised beds for the vegetable garden. We also received a very much appreciated community enhancement grant from the City of Prince George.

Laura, the master gardener, works in the garden every day and she always has cakes and cookies to share with me while we wait for the vegetables to grow. We had our first taste of the radishes last weekend. The peas and beets are another month away.

The number of people who come by is quite phenomenal. The garden has an open space feel so it’s no surprise that neighbours come by to visit as often as they do.

Come by and say hello if you’re nearby, and don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty!

Building the garden beds

Laura (back left) with neighbours Shelly and Bill, building the garden beds.

Planting geraniums

Laura and local resident Christina planting geraniums.

Planting zucchinis.

Local resident Nelson planting zucchinis in the garden.

James Haggerstone

About James Haggerstone

James is proud to call northern B.C. home. He is currently the regional manager of health information analysis at Northern Health. His passion is to make health information more accessible to northerners through our Community Health Information Portal. When not at work, James can be found digging in community gardens or working on his MBA through the UNBC school of business.