of the Month
The Shanks Family
The Community Member of the Month for July is not one, but four wonderful and caring community members! We are pleased to feature the Shanks family: Roxan, Dave and their two kids Adeline and Lawson.
We have their generous efforts to thank for the lovely garden at the entrance to Babbling Brook Park, on the corner of Canterbury Dr. and Cannington Way. Vibrant flowers grow beneath the sign into the park, an assortment of spring and summer blooms that greet visitors to one of the community’s most popular green spaces.
The little garden is not new to the neighborhood. “It’s been there for many years,” said Roxan. “The lady who used to look after it, she was a lovely retired lady who moved away.” Last April, Roxan noticed the garden was in disrepair and decided to do something about it. “I took it over because I thought, we can’t have this disrepair, it doesn’t look very attractive.” The Shanks family lives nearby, and they decided to whip the little garden back into shape. Roxan thought it would be a nice way to spend some time outdoors while doing a service for the community, especially during a summer of COVID-19 restrictions.
Roxan says the kids have enjoyed the outdoor play time and it has helped them gain an appreciation for nature and Babbling Brook Park. They spend plenty of time running around in the sunshine, but they also help with the gardening. Even six-year-old Lawson carries the watering can. The whole family can be seen taking care of the garden several days a week. They deadhead the flowers, rake, weed and water. Especially in this hot weather, the plants need watering every day. Most of the flowers are well-established perennials which bloom year-to-year. There are all sorts: marigolds, petunias, day lilies, cornflowers, columbines, and more. This year, there was also a donation of annuals for the border-edging plants.
Since the Shanks began tending the garden, other neighbours have started getting involved as well. Most of the volunteerism has spread through word-of-mouth: people walking by who want to lend a hand. Some have even donated flowers to the little garden. “They came over and just planted some, and someone else came over with some succulents, and they planted those. Lots of people are welcome to donate if they want, and to put their touch on it. Everybody can contribute.” Roxan said that anyone can help, whether to donate their time or their plants. Their contribution is always appreciated. She has also spent some time training others to care for the flowers, and promises it’s not difficult to do, even for those without much experience.
The little garden is becoming a community hub at the gateway to one of our neighborhood’s loveliest rambles. A big thank you goes out to the Shanks family for spreading your enthusiasm and bring so much beauty to our neighborhood!
Article by Dina Katsnelson