At a high tea reception on June 18, the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden welcomed successive sittings of immaculately-garbed guests — featuring flocks of fascinators and other millinery — to raise funds for Phase One of the Garden’s accessible paths initiative.
The non-profit organization purchased the 40-acre former tree farm in 2009. Thirteen years of planning, volunteer labour, and community support have produced a collection of path-ringed areas that include thriving displays of rhododendrons, native plants and working gardens.
In Phase One of its accessible paths initiative, the Garden aims to raise $30,000 to connect existing trails, add ramps, and remove obstructions to visitors with mobility challenges. Additional fundraising events are scheduled for this summer. Work to enhance the paths will begin in late September.
Visitors with physical impairments can already make use of a limited number of level paths. According to development officer Heather Vince, a Sechelt mother and her five-year-old son who uses a wheelchair frequently meander through a grove of aspens to the so-called Mountainside Habitat. The boy, who has limited vision, savours the trill of a wind chime located near enough to the path for him to strum with an outstretched hand.
For Paddy Wales, a founding member of the Botanical Garden society, the definition of “accessibility” is wide-ranging. A portion of the grounds are dedicated to subalpine foliage, allowing people who are unable to scale a mountainside the opportunity to experience that unique biome.
“This garden is a project for generations,” said Wales. “A garden is a place where plants and people come together.”
Contributions to the garden’s accessibility project are welcome. Contact information, tour schedules, and hours of operation are available online at coastbotanicalgarden.org.
Frolic antics to fill the foreshore
A rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is taking place on the