Bowmanville Community Garden

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Year Established: 1996
Local Leader: Tom Kennedy
Community Group: Bowmanville Community Organization
NeighborSpace Partnership: 2005

Set against the imposing, gray stone wall of the vast Rosehill Cemetery directly to the north, the Bowmanville Garden is a splash of colorful greenery, tempting drivers on busy Bowmanville Avenue to slow down and – literally – smell the flowers. Mirroring the Lincoln Square community’s own changes since the mid-1990s, the Bowmanville Garden has undergone several transformations during its history, each time relying on the efforts and financial support of community residents and outside organizations like NeighborSpace to keep it intact. Even a significant water main replacement that left the garden in a shambles could not deter determined residents from rolling up their sleeves and continuing to nurture the garden’s trees, flowers and shrubs.

Community leader Tom Kennedy is proud to say the Bowmanville Garden has expanded from a 150-by-17-foot patch of green space to its current size of more than 350-feet wide. NeighborSpace played a significant role in this growth by installing a dedicated water source for the garden. Today the Bowmanville Garden is home to a wide variety of native perennials such as Black-Eyed Susans, Liatris and Switch Grass, as well as dogwood, redbud and pear trees. In recent years it has also evolved to include benches, a winding footpath and a trellis, and the Bowmanville Community Organization is eagerly making plans to add much more to the garden.

“Our plans for the future include an information board, a flagstone wall and more,” Mr. Kennedy says. “Community involvement has grown too, and our garden should remain an enduring fixture in our neighborhood for many years to come.”

In Tom’s Words: “Great things happen when people work together. Life-changing things. Life-affirming things. Our gardens are a small example of this.”

Best Practice Idea: Tom recommends involving as many people as possible when making decisions that affect the entire garden. This, he says, keeps people involved and makes them feel a part of things – “Try to keep things democratic and fun. We try to get as much input from all the gardeners as we can.”