A volunteer squad of gardeners have been busy cleaning, landscaping and replanting new flowers at the Ruth Maccoy Cabin Garden in the Sheppard Family Park in High River.

Originally planned to start last week, the garden maintenance was delayed with October's early snowfall, with work resuming on October 19 and 20.

President of the Sheppard Family Park Society Marry Anne Dearing says, with the current change in weather, there's never been a better time to start planting.

"The snowstorm did delay us right? By a whole week! But the weather is perfect, it's the perfect weather you'd want to transplant Perennials in."

Dearing notes that the previous weeks snowfall has been nothing compared to the reoccurring delays on the long anticipated restoration project.

She says since the flood, they have been swamped with other tasks.

"After the flood, then the house had to be repaired first. So for the first, almost three years, we actually couldn't plant any plants because they [construction crews] were going to be lifting the house and replacing everything. You just can't plant plants and have people walking all over."

The restoration to the garden is more than just refilling it with flowers, Dearing says they want to keep the garden as historically accurate to how its previous tenant cultivated it.

"We're really wanting to try and use some of the older type of plants, such as the Asters and the Irises and the Delphiniums. There's Peonies that have been in the corner of the garden ever since Ruth has lived here, and they are nearing 100 years old."

ruth maccoy garden oct19 2018 002President of the Sheppard Family Park Society Mary Ann Dearing holds up the volunteers inspiration for the garden: a flood damaged photo of Ruth's garden which Dearing predicts was taken in the 70-80's. While Ruth was a master gardener who tended to her flowers daily, the society aims to get the garden restored as close as possible to it's previous tenant's condition.

The task won't be easy, as funding and time are short, but Dearing says they want to try and restore the garden to it's full, former glory.

"Ruth was here everyday and if a weed showed it's face she could pick it right away. We want to have volunteers every week to water and weed, as we did before the flood. It never did look quite like this [in reference to the photo] because we didn't have the funds to put all the Perennials in, but we did the best we could and that's all we can do right?"

While the society will have plenty of work on it's hands before the restoration is complete, Dearing is hopeful for the future of the project.

"It's the start again of the Perennial gardens and every time I sit out here I just think, it's going to be beautiful."

The Sheppard Family Park Society will be looking for volunteers in the upcoming Spring season.

If you would like to aid the society in their restoration project, more information can be found here.


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