Club get-togethers

The UTSC Garden Club generates many opportunities for community to form. This club provides a bridge linking UTSC students, staff and professors with local community members. Providing this link with the local community is one of our key mandates.

Joshua Weir (Young Community Member)

"I am nine years old and I like the gardens. I am lucky because my dad taught me to plant seeds and water them so they grow. I help him every year in the garden. I like watching the bees fly around. I don't like picking the bugs off the squash plants. I like picking tomatoes and eating some when mom is not watching."

2016 club lunch at the gardens
Student club members Marilyn Smith BSc & Lynda Taylor MSc (1993)
Marilyn Smith (UTSC Alumnus)

"I have fond memories of gardening in the valley in the early 1990's when I was a student at UTSC and then after graduation when I worked as a lab technician in the Bio Dept. I shared a plot with Linda Taylor, a grad student in Professor Jim Ritchie's lab.

I did not have a car back then, so I remember getting quite a work-out carrying monster zucchinis up from the valley and home on the bus to bring back to the lab as zucchini bread to share with the grad students.

One of my prized possessions, that I still use today, is my ‘Vegetable Gardening Cookbook’. It was given to me at my wedding shower in the UTSC lab, back in 1995, because I was always bringing up vegetables to the lab to share.

My love of gardening sprouted in the valley with the UTSC gardening club and is now rooted at my home with a vegetable garden, and plenty of recipes to continue to share with friends and family. I still visit the valley gardens to see old friends and help with weeding, harvesting and to exchange recipes."

Karina Howard began gardening at UTSC while obtaining her honours BSc 
Karina Howard (UTSC Alumnus)

"As an undergraduate UTSC student, my first ever field work was conducted in the valley where I was part of a project to survey the valley during a geomorphology project. My survey line crossed within a few metres of the gardens, and I remember thinking how fun it would be to have a garden and grow vegetables for next fall (as students, fresh, healthy, food was expensive and there were no opportunities to grow food close to campus!). To my delight my friend Nicole (who lived in the campus residence) joined me in signing up and I remember us being so happy for the chance to grow food on an ancient flood plain within a paleo oxbow lake!



Over the years, most of my family (many now deceased) have helped work the soil, enjoying social interaction with club members and the amazing grounds crew. We grew a variety of foods and beautiful flowers; many of our perennials still blossom today. My garden neighbour often accompanied his gardening by singing the most beautiful opera arias, and I remember one time when my mom (a budding soprano) joined in on a familiar score.

As much as I love seeing the bees, butterflies, and migrant songbirds enjoy my garden, my greatest joy is seeing all the relationships that have formed, some budding but many that have blossomed. My husband gardens here as well and I can’t imagine how empty his world would be without the companionship he shares with his garden mates. It’s clearly an escape from his otherwise hectic life.

The garden provides so much more than food. Many of the gardeners are either current faculty or retired faculty. Some are now alone, and others are separated by many miles from family and loved ones because they chose to work at UTSC. Long time staff at UTSC are in the same boat. The UTSC garden club provides a “home away from home” and a second family for so many.

A truly magical space."

Joshua 2020 de-seeding squash from UTSC Community Gardens
Ken Howard and daughter 1983
UTSC Community Gardens
Ken Howard (UTSC Professor)

"Four decades of gardening in the valley means many memories……all happy ones. Over the years I have gardened alongside many UTSC colleagues – faculty, staff, students, as well as three generations of my family. In early years I shared my garden with my pre-school daughter…. she’ll be 43 in January and now lives in UK where she has her own garden (including a hive of bees!). Sadly, many of my early gardening buddies have passed over the years, including my dad, my parents-in-law and UTSC friends/colleagues too numerous to mention.   As I continue to potter around my garden, I am fondly reminded of them all."

My fondest UTSC garden memories are...

All photos and video are copyright protected by UTSC Garden Club members and may not be used without the owner's permission. These photos are all of our own gardens. No stock photos were used in this website. Website created by Jason Weir