By Marla Temoin
Special to the Record
The Gardens on Anderton turns 25 this summer.
Today, it is a two-acre sanctuary of colourful flowers, swaying trees, peaceful sit spots, and serene beauty. The present state of this lush landscape is thanks to the dream of Bill and Joy Georgeson, as well as the thousands of hours of volunteer time expended over the last quarter century.
The Gardens on Anderton began as an idea in the mid-’90s, when the Georgesons aspired to create a garden where people’s physical, emotional and mental wellbeing could be enhanced in a tranquil and aesthetic setting. They founded the not-for-profit Anderton Therapeutic Gardens Society (ATGS) in 1996 with support from Christine Pollard, horticultural therapist at Providence Farms in Duncan. In 1997, Ellen Presley and Karl Opelka, owners of the Anderton Nursery, gave the ATGS a 30-year lease on two acres of former cow pasture, for $1 a year. The first ground was broken in 1998 with about 40 volunteers. Presently, the ATGS has 185 members, with about 70 people keeping the entirely volunteer-based organization running and the grounds looking spectacular.
The ATGS is celebrating 25 years of gardening and growth with a members-only “Joy-Filled Jubilee” on Aug. 6. The Gardens will be closed to the public this day. It is the perfect time to reflect on the people, work and relationships that have made the Gardens possible. From the dream of the Georgesons, to continued support from Ellen and Karl, to all the members and volunteers over the years, the ATGS is celebrating and saying thank you to all who continue to come together to create a thriving, welcoming garden destination for everyone to enjoy.
The Gardens on Anderton is an interactive wellness garden for people of all ages and abilities. The grounds are fully accessible and open to the public daily from May through September, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., except for statutory holidays and some private bookings. Admission is by donation ($5 suggested).
Membership supports the AGTS and the Gardens. Member benefits include free workshops, volunteer opportunities, garden allotment rental, and more. Individual memberships are $25 and family memberships (one household) are $35 for the calendar year. For more information about the Gardens, membership, history and upcoming events, see our Facebook page or website www.gardensonanderton.org.