Aggie Harder is fed up with vandalism at Millennium Gardens.
The community garden’s secretary said there have been issues with various disrespectful acts toward the site recently, including an incident the evening of June 1 where tomato and pepper plants were pulled out of their plots and either taken away or left on the ground.
"They ransacked it. They went through, and whatever was in their way, they ripped out," Harder, 59, said.
Harder also noted tomato cages were strewn across the property, located at 258 Douglas Ave. She said approximately 10 plots of the 76 (39 raised beds and 37 in-ground) on-site were affected, though several of the affected gardeners returned June 2 to replant their crops.
The recent vandalism follows an act of arson last Halloween where the cork boards housed in the gardens’ canopy were set ablaze. Harder was thankful that because they were made of cork, they only just smouldered instead of spreading the flames.
She said police have been contacted and have pledged to patrol the area regularly, but Harder acknowledged it can be an uphill battle. Harder is in her fourth year planting at the garden, and noted there tend to be two incidents each summer.
"This can happen any time of night, in the dark," Harder said. "When that fire was burning there, smouldering, none of these residents (on Douglas Avenue) noticed it, so we think it was in the middle of the night.
"These people are vigilant, but things happen."
Harder said the vandalism is especially disappointing since several of the gardeners tend to be elderly — some are in their 90s — and some are cancer survivors who see the gardening as a form of therapy. She hopes vandals who target the garden get the message to leave it alone.
In addition to the deliberate destruction, Harder said some people seem to misunderstand the term "community garden," and help themselves to the produce.
"The gardens belong to our Millennium Gardeners only, so our motto is ‘If you didn’t plant it, don’t pick it,’" she said.
On a positive note, though, the group will carry on with its series of summer concerts on Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. The series opens with Celtic group Mark & Sandy on July 3 before concluding Aug. 28 with David McLeod (Matchstalk Men).