Gardening gives us all a chance to grow

Gardening gives us all a chance to grow

Patrick is a person of talent, passion, and delight!

Nothing makes him happier than time with a dog, a chance to share his music, or a vacation. But as long as I’ve known him, something he has HATED is bugs. Every trip to the great outdoors together involved us layering on bug spray! It was often tough to get him to join a picnic or camp fire in the yard at McKim House.

That was until the community garden was born in 2021.

The first seeds Patrick helped to plant were thyme, zinnias, and mustard seeds. By the time they bloomed, so had a new love for gardening. Gone were the days of avoiding the yard! Patrick enthusiastically volunteered to water, compost, and plant. Patrick has found a new appreciation for being outside and even for the bugs! Recently, Patrick was using a sieve to screen garden compost with one of our summer students, Andrew. 

“I was helping to separate the dirt from the rocks. We were working together. There were earthworms and we would stop and rescue them! At first, I found them gross but then I decided to help by putting them back in the soil myself! I feel like I accomplished something!”

“Helping the worms made me think of when I was a kid. It brought back good memories. I used to think of worms as miniature snakes, like the ones in Disney movies. I had a wild imagination. Then again, who didn’t?” 

“A few of my favourite things about the garden” are watering the plants and working with the sieve. It is relaxing and I can see the blue cranes, the blue sky, people or children walking dogs around the neighbourhood, birds, bees, insects, and my friends… I love the fact that when I am in the garden I am with friends.”

The community garden has offered L’Arche Saint John the opportunity to build new skills and greater confidence, as well as yielding positive impacts on both physical and mental health. The garden has been a place to make friends and welcome volunteers and families. 

If you're interested in gardening and making connections in the community, you are warmly invited to join us in the garden every other Wednesday evening, weather permitting. Click here to learn more.

Beautiful things are growing! You might even learn to appreciate bugs! 

Gray Gillies Mott
Creative Connections Program Leader

Patrick McGrath
Core member


Great story, Patrick. You sure have a green thumb. But I still can’t touch a worm.

Faye Young

Thank you, Patrick and Gray! Patrick, I can tell you have such love and respect for all living things!! Your garden at L’Arche is flourishing because of loving care, attention and community!Thank you for teaching me!

Mary Beth McCurdy

It is great to see Patrick involved in something I also love. What a great story! I am thankful for bug spray as well, Patrick because mosquitoes drive me nuts.

Sandy McWilliams

Oh, what a lovely story! Patrick, I am so glad that you found a love of gardening. I too love the experience – although I find my fear of bugs difficult to surmount. I’ll have to try harder as you have. Aren’t the blooms sensational right now? The rainy spring seemed to slow the plants’ first growth, but the sun is working its magic. Enjoy the garden Patrick with all your friends.

Margie Clow Bohan

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