This summer, when planning the annual flower distribution, I was chatting with Maria, one of the activities coordinator at the Montclair Seniors’ Residence. She works hard to make the outside space inviting so that the seniors will want to go and sit outside, despite having no dedicated garden budget. Other people have noticed Maria’s hard work, and many people donated plants for the garden.

Unfortunately, the residence’s plants were being killed by salt. Because it is important to salt the walkways well so that the residents don’t fall in the winter, lots of salt is used around the property. That salt was being washed into the hosta bed near the sidewalk, killing all of the plants. Every year Maria had to change the soil and get new plants. I hoped to find a solution to help her, and to save the plants.

The solution came in the form of a community project for Lower Canada College (LCC) students. Every year, their Round Square program brings youth from across the world for community service projects. They had 21 students who needed an activity on Saturday, September 22nd. They also had a small budget. It was the perfect fit!

All summer, our student Tori (funded by Service Canada) worked on plans to beautify the garden with flowers and planters. She worked with the residence to ensure that any changes would benefit the residents.

After much planning and collecting supplies, the big day came! 21 LCC students, 2 teachers, 2 volunteers, Maria, Tori and I worked hard to clean up the front and back yards, cut the wood, build the planters and plant the hostas in their new safe space. Now the hostas will be able to come back year after year and the residents will be able to enjoy them along with a little bit more privacy and some shade. This should encourage the residents to go and sit in the front yard next spring.

I invite you to pass by the Montclair Residence to see the new planters. The seniors really like them and we hope that you will be impressed by the students’ hard work too! A big thank you to LCC!