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July 04, 2024

Markdale Hospital Healing Gardens get much-needed care

Markdale Hospital gardens

BY LYNN SILVERTON — Bo and Brian Penny, a few weeks ago, held a successful fundraiser to buy a piece of therapy equipment for the new hospital in Markdale, well they are at it again. Bo and Brian took on the arduous task of beautifying the healing gardens at that new hospital in Markdale. There are about 10 or so gardens around the hospital and they've all been neglected and overrun by weeds due to the lack of funds and resources.

And the tough job began, Penny posted a call for volunteers on Facebook and began getting between one to three people every day helping either in the morning (8-10 am) or in the evening (6-8 pm). Tuesday morning of last week, Bo and Brian, her right hand hubby and heavy lifting assistant, brought shovels and weeding tools and with two other volunteers started digging up the weeds. The Pennys supplied the perennial and annual plants and spent days cleaning up the spots to plant them.

They just finished removing all the weeds from the Healing Garden and were spreading mulch so they can start planting perennials and some annuals to add colour and visual interest. Then this happened, some members of the Grey Highlands Fire Department saw her Facebook plea for help and came to the rescue! Get it? Came to the rescue! Anyway, Brian and Bo are extremely grateful for the help they got from Jessica, Larissa, Lucas, Rob DelDucca as well as Doug Sowerby of Sdbi Complete, also thanks to Cary McArthur, Marylin, Lynn, Kristen, Darlene, Mary and Tristan who all helped in some ways.

"These people are amazing, coming to the rescue. Lots and lots of plants planted and five skids packed high with mulch, laid to protect the precious plants. Weeks and weeks of work for two, but done in much less time thanks to their help. It's exciting to see the progress," Bo said. The Pennys love creating beautiful spaces and this garden will be lovely once completed. Bo said, "My goal was to have it done by this Saturday but rain delayed us a bit. I'm still hoping though. I also want to get a metal sculpture added in the central area. I wanted a 'pondless pond' kind of water feature but for various reasons its not possible."

Bo has started a 'Markdale Hospital Gardening Group' to hopefully get more volunteers, responsible people who can commit to do the work and keep their commitment. Weeding, deadheading and watering will have to be done on a weekly basis so ideally she'll need at least 10 volunteers now that the gardens are cleaned up and revived.

Now, I , know that Grey Highlands has a plethora of artists, perhaps there is someone reading this that is willing to work with Bo and donate an centre art piece for all to see. One that says 'this hospital is a place of healing and these gardens will heal you spirit'.


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