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West Vancouver neighbours say farewell to decades-old garden

'We've really enjoyed our time with it'
WV Community GardenWEB
Gary and Mary Hiscox, along with Mary Eggertson, join Bill Uhrich in the West Van neighbourhood garden started over 40 years ago by Bill's father.

Some neighbours in West Vancouver are getting ready to bid adieu to a green space that’s been maintained for decades.

The story goes that more than 40 years ago a man named Phil Uhrich asked his Haywood Avenue neighbour if he might convert the large patch of bramble bushes adjacent to her property into a garden.

She agreed and Uhrich proceeded to grow corn, asparagus and all other manner of green goodness.

He built up the soil, maintained it and managed to achieve bountiful food production – not to mention a pleasant sight for passersby.

Forty-two years ago no one actually bothered to apply to the district to have it turned into an official community garden, but a community did naturally gather around it nonetheless, says Mary Eggertson, who has applied her green thumbs to the garden for more than a decade now, following Uhrich’s passing.

“There is an established asparagus bed there, and that takes at least five years to establish,” she notes. “I am growing corn right now because that is the reason why he wanted that beautiful garden.”

Others have also pitched in over the years, including Uhrich’s son.

Eggertson notes that the bulk of the food they grow is donated to a local group home. “Basically, we give them squash. The garden has a lot of Squash.”

And that’s why those who have enjoyed the garden over the years are really aiming to soak it all in this summer, says Eggertson – this will likely be the last season they get to enjoy it.

The original owner of the house where the garden is located has sold the place and the new tenants have other ideas for the property, explains Eggertson, who adds they’ve politely asked the group to pack up their shovels and spades at the end of the year.

“We’ve really enjoyed our time with it,” she says.