Village News (November 2, 2017)
By Barry Dyck
Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) is blessed with a number of wonderful partnerships with community organizations. One of those is with the Steinbach and Area Garden Club.
Years ago the Garden Club and museum staff agreed that gardening services would be exchanged for meeting-room space. The Garden Club offered to look after flower beds, shrubs and the vegetable garden at MHV if they could use a meeting room at the museum for their monthly meetings. This has worked out to mutual benefit. Our Auditorium in the Village Centre is large enough to accommodate their well-attended monthly meetings. Part of the mandate of the club is to do community service, so the care of the gardens and flower beds at MHV is one of their main projects.
Elsie Kaethler is a co-chair of the Steinbach and Area Garden Club. She recently provided me with some information about this season’s contributions to MHV by club members:
The total work time contributed to MHV was 1,016 hours. If we had needed to hire professional gardeners at $30 per hour, that amount of time would have cost MHV just over $30,000. So this was quite a significant contribution.
Some of the tasks that required the most time included spring cleanup, preparing flower beds and pruning – 68 hours; watering, weeding and deadheading – 328 hours; daily removal of Lily Beetles – 85 hours; Vegetable-garden care – 139 hours; fall cleanup – 58 hours; planning, mulching, leveling and planting 33 shrubs on the west side of the auditorium – 51 hours. The compiled list included many other tasks as well.
In our conversation, Elsie informed me of the following extra efforts put in by individuals:
– “One volunteer saw that we could lose our beautiful heritage lilies to the ravages of Lily Beetles. She took it upon herself to create a “Lily Beetle Task Force” of fellow Garden Club volunteers that took turns coming out each day to hand pick and destroy the Lily Beetles before they could damage our lilies.
– “One volunteer noticed that the front of the rock monument beside the church was getting covered in lichen and dirt. He took it upon himself to bring a brush, bucket and soap and then scrubbed the monument clean.
– “One volunteer saw that the water-hose cart at the front of the Village Centre had one flat tire and another tire that was low on air. Because the flat tire was beyond repair, he purchased a new tire and a patch for the tire that was low on air. When I asked him to submit a bill for reimbursement, he refused to do so, saying ‘I can afford to do this for the Museum’
– “On a number of occasions I observed our volunteers picking up pieces of garbage on the grounds as they walked across the yard to get to the bed they were supposed to be working on, thereby setting a wonderful example of being good stewards of our environment.”
It’s not hard to see what a great partnership this is for both organizations. MHV also has mutually beneficial relationships with other local organizations and is open to more. One of the purposes of MHV is to help make this community a great place to live. Collaboration is a wonderful way to make that happen.