Rant: Volunteers Often Treated Like Dirt (2)

The Grange. Home to the offices of Heritage Mississauga.

Based on my few attempts at volunteering I have to say I am not encouraged.

My first was working in a public park in the City of Mississauga. That did not work out well. You can see that in my previous rant.

My second was working on a Heritage site in Mississauga. That also did not work out well.

(Hmmmm. Is there a link perhaps? Volunteers are treated like Sh@t in Mississauga? From what I hear, volunteers are often mistreated and abused — everywhere.) I digress.

When I first became involved with Heritage Mississauga it was through my art group, ALFEW (Artists Looking For Empty Walls). I immediately noticed the sad state of the gardens surrounding the building. I was told that the City gardeners had little or no time to spend on these gardens and that there were no plans for improvement.

What used to be the kitchen at The Grange, is now used as the main entrance. The gardens beside the entrance is where Istarted.

My involvement with these gardens began because we were having an art opening and I wanted the place to look nice. I offered to do some work in the gardens and was told that would be very welcome.

And so it began …

I started with the small garden directly outside the entrance to the building. It was now the entrance, but when first built it would have been the kitchen and the garden nearby would have been a combination of cooking herbs, medicinal herbs and vegetables.

Vegetables wouldn’t fly so I concentrated on cooking and medicinal herbs. I added in a border of annuals for colour.

Never one to leave well enough alone, I thought that the approach to the building, along the driveway was very plain and drab. I proposed a new garden bed to be made along side of the driveway.

There were two tree stumps in the grass and that was it. The driveway is to the right in the photo.
This is what it looked like when I started.
A load of woodchips, some soil and a few donated plants and this is what I had a month later.
2 years after the garden was started!
The cooking and medicinal herb garden bed before I started
3 months after I started
2 years after I started

You can see what was accomplished from the photographs. At first my efforts were praised and the gardens were much admired. Sadly however, my work in those gardens soon became simply part of the scenery, and all my efforts taken for granted.

I did not get involved with this project in order to get praised, but a simple “thank you” from the Board of Directors would have been nice. (The staff at Heritage Mississauga were always sweet, but not the Powers that Be.)

The last straw for me in that garden project was after I donated a tree for the Herb garden, and did not receive a thank you letter, or even a personal thank you.

Although I had pretty much given up on Heritage Mississauga after the appalling way I was treated with the ALFEW (Artists Looking for empty Walls) project, I had continued to mind the gardens. The lack of response to the tree donation put an end to that.

The only way those Heritage Mississauga garden projects came about was through my own personal effort. I had occasional help from a couple of volunteers, but mostly I did the work. As a volunteer I feel I was not appreciated.

Should volunteers be given appreciation? Should they simply be given tasks and never praised? Maybe I am expecting too much.

Fall cleanup.

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Louise Peacock

Louise Peacock

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Louise Peacock is a writer, garden designer, Reiki practitioner, singer-songwriter & animal activist. Favorite insult “Eat cake & choke” On Medium since 2016.