YORKTON - For the past 10 years, Tammie Latimer has taken her St. Paul's School classroom to the Mary Garden on the north side of the current Gladstone Seniors Residence.
“Each year we have cleaned the garden and planted flowers for the seniors to enjoy,” she explained.
“Some years we also did additional fundraising and purchased a bench and two large planters for the front of the garden area. We also received a grant from the local Kinsmen which was used to purchase more perennials and beautiful lights for the garden.”
This year the garden needed additional care.
“This year when we were preparing to return to the garden to clean and plant again, we found the area vandalized,” said Latimer. “The lights were smashed, the bench was torn from the ground, the wall behind Mary was spray painted and the small praying girl was defaced.
“It broke my heart to see our years of work destroyed.”
So Latimer went into action.
“I brought a picture of the garden to my class and shared my story and my disappointment with the situation,” she said.
“My students were not deterred. They returned to the garden and worked tirelessly to clean up the damage and replant the flowers.
“They also suggested we paint a mural to cover the graffiti behind Mary.”
The effort was not completed without help from the community, with Latimer saying donations were received from Home Hardware and All Secure Storage, with which they “were able to create a beautiful mural with the ‘Hail Mary’ prayer and a painted garden of flowers to bloom all year.”
Latimer said it was a lot of effort but worth it.
“The students put many hours into designing and painting the mural,” she said. “With the help of wonderful classroom parents, we were able to hang the mural and begin the healing process in Mary’s Garden.”
Latimer said they now hope vandals will stay clear of the garden and be respectful of properties in the city.
“Our classroom will continue to pray that the citizens of Yorkton are respectful and honour the space as an area of prayer and peace,” she said, adding “we invite you to the garden to pray and spend time with Mary.”