alixwagonwheelmuseum

SCHOOL GARDENS

In Alix, Alberta, Gardens, Organizations, Pioneer Farming, School, U.F.W.A. on April 18, 2021 at 5:21 PM

“Children’s Gardens- By Alice Nielsen”

Pioneers and Progress, Alix-Clive Historical Club, 1974

Before 4H groups were formed in Alix, I thought of having small gardens for children.  Since I belonged to the local U.F.W.A., I presented my idea to the Ladies and they went along with it whole heartedly.  So in the spring of 1947 we bought packages of seeds and portioned them out in small envelopes. That first year the age limit was 14 years and under but the next year it was lowered to 12 years and under and somewhere along the way it was changed to under 12 years.

The D.A. gave us advice but now [1973] 26 years later plans are being made for improvements in the general set-up.  Last year we gave extra plaques to winners as 25th Anniversary mementos.

The first year the gardens were divided into town and country as the country gardens had so many hazards and no water sprinklers, as the town gardens were so much better.  Some of the country hazards were pigs, gophers, and even a gosling. Of later years the gardens have reversed and the country gardens are of far better quality.

The winners of the first gardens were – town – 1st Ross Lyle, 2nd Hugh Thorp, 3rd Connie Lyle. Country – 1st Larry Primus, 2nd Elaine Primus, 3rd Walter Hopkins. There were 47 children that took seeds, the youngest was Alder Nielsen.  True, he did get weeds and plants mixed up much to his older brother Eric’s disgust.

Seeds have been distributed to as many as 90 children, then in the fall teams of women and children drove around eliminating the poorest gardens so the judges had less to do. After a few years it was decided to have a Children’s own Show with a tea, bake sale, and a raffle to help with expenses, the last week of August. These made them pretty well self supporting. The raffle has been a stuffed toy that the Lacombe Globe gave away with subscriptions, and Mrs. Rouse has kindly gotten the necessary subscriptions.  With the higher cost of seed, it has been harder.  There has always been a set of rules with cultivation given 25 points so an industrious youngster can win more points even if one of its plants didn’t grow.  However, this hasn’t stopped ambitious little folks, all through the times, from going home and planting their seeds period. No one knows just where.

All through the years since 1950, trophy cups have been given to the aggregate winners.  Also shields with the winner’s name for each year are kept for display. In 1964, Alberta Nurseries and Seeds presented the F.W.U.A. with a marble-based, silver rose bowl with nine shields to be used each year.  The winner keeps it for a year and gets the privilege to polish the bowl before returning it. 

Now daughters and sons of mothers and fathers that had gardens earlier have won many prizes in these later years.

[Some of these prizes can be seen at the Alix Wagon Wheel Museum.]

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