Garden for Senior’s Hall
Jeryn Mackey is a summer student whose first stint at Urban Systems began at the Fort St. John branch in May 2015.
As Jeryn is a student of landscape architecture, Edward Stanford and Chad Carlstrom suggested she take the initiative on a project for the Senior’s Hall across the road, in front of which there was simply a patch of grass. They had a chat with the seniors, who liked the idea of rejuvenating the area.
“It’s right at the main entrance to Fort St. John, so it’s an opportunity to beautify a gateway to the city,” says Jeryn.
“Last summer, Chad and I met with the Senior’s Hall Board of Directors,” Jeryn continues. “I worked with the seniors on a preliminary design to include features they liked and which would also be easy to maintain.”
Since then, the Senior’s Hall Board had a change in president and vice-president.
“This year, we made several modifications to the design and got an approval,” confirms Jeryn.
“Walker Greenhouses worked with us on prices for plants. They were really generous with discounts and helpful in picking varieties that are very hardy and require low maintenance.”
The handyDART bus that brings seniors to the hall was having some trouble manoeuvring around the building’s entrance.
“DGS Astro Paving helped prep and pave the access road,” says Jeryn. “They donated their time and materials.”
The City of Fort St. John will be donating a bench, and the Senior’s Hall will water the garden and pay for maintenance after the first year. The cost of the topsoil came out of last year’s Foundation budget.
The Fort St. John Foundation team applied for, and received, a $1000 grant from Community Futures Peace Liard, which went towards purchasing plants for the garden.
The physical work began in early July with attempts to prepare the area, which proved much easier with an excavator.
On Friday, July 15, Urban Systems Foundation volunteers Jeryn Mackey, Jaime Adam, Jake Hughson, Kim Gulevich and Edward Stanford gathered alongside friends and family to plant a few ground covers like artemesia, some different oat grasses, various perennials, juniper, spiraea and an apple tree.
“It was a really exciting experience,” says Jeryn. “It was my first landscape design project. Going from concept to implementation is not just moving it from paper onto the garden. There’s a lot of stuff you have to do.”
“People were so willing to give their time and input,” says Jeryn. “It was really awesome to work with everyone. They all showed a lot of interest and were very supportive. My family had a lot of fun; so did Jamie’s daughter.”
In a follow-up visit to the Hall, Jeryn asked several seniors how they like the garden.
“They’re very excited about it, especially the apple tree that we planted,” reports Jeryn. “The Communities in Bloom judges also visited the site on their tour of Fort St. John.”