It wasn’t until 2004, when the new building which is now known as Byrne House was built, that the Haven had a formal landscape plan. Before that, Mary and Paul Feeney took care of the grounds surrounding the old farmhouse and barns. When Byrne House was built, the town of Hartford established the requirements for landscaping of the lot. Our vision has grown way beyond the initial rules.
There are many reasons why we cultivate beautiful flower and vegetable gardens around the buildings that comprise the Upper Valley Haven campus. Our landscape is our first line of safety. A beautiful and bright space is inviting, feels safe and secure while rundown, unkempt, or barren space creates a feeling of disrespect and anxiety. We want everyone who comes to the Haven to feel welcome, safe, secure and cared about. Second – food, third – encourages those on our campus that there are ways to join in the community with others who share a passion for the land and the environment.
Master Gardener Catherine Hoyle first brought the notion of a welcoming, productive community landscape to the Haven in 2006. Haven Master Gardeners Jane Metcalf and Faith Alexandre began volunteering at the Haven in 2010 when the Hixon House Adult Shelter was completed. “When we first started, our focus was on creating an edible landscape and planting trees and bushes around the new building,” says Jane. “Over time, we went from working outside of the Haven, literally, to connecting more with what is happening inside the Haven, for example, finding out what foods were needed for the Healthy Eating program and then working together with staff to grow and distribute them to people.” “There is a theme of resilience on our campus,” says Kristen Coats, Coordinator of Food and Wellness Programs at the Haven. “That resilience demonstrates to our guests and visitors that place matters”. “Beautiful flowers, established fruit trees, and gorgeous herbs and vegetables surround people working through crisis. As our campus protects, it also emanates hope and possibility for those struggling with poverty.”
We started gardening at the Haven towards the end of April. As in the past, our gardening schedule will be Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons Please let us know if you think you’ll be gardening with us this year (or know you will!) and if you want to stay on the Haven gardens email list. Email us and enjoy the spring!