ROCKY BAY: An Isle Madame group is planting a garden that doesn’t just look pleasing to the eye, but can also make the community healthier.

Isle Madame Garden Club treasurer Claire Doyle said after starting up in April, 2017, the group decided last winter to plant and harvest a “medicinal/herbal garden.”

“There’s so much interest in herbs and gardening today and a healthy lifestyle,” Doyle said.

Garden Club member Ann England, who was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer last August, has a personal interest in the project to the extent that she made two private donations to get the garden started.

“It kind’ve saves my sanity, it helps with my therapy because I went through a whole year of this, but when I was well enough, I worked on it, but it was not all my idea,” England said pointing to the efforts of Gail Hearn and Lois Boudreau.

“My social worker… he said, ‘Ann, you’re doing good, keep that going, focus on that, you’re keeping engaged with your community, and it’s good for you.’”

The club wants to use the information from the healing garden to learn about the many natural plants found on Isle Madame which have health benefits, Doyle said. By having the garden accessible to the public, Doyle said the community can also learn about natural plants with holistic properties. Because the garden is adjacent to the Rocky Bay Irish Club, the club decided to go with a Celtic theme for its design.

The garden club planted the herbs two weeks ago and are currently getting a water supply for the garden, while continuing with more planting and weeding, Doyle noted.

Doyle said the garden club will host a flower show in August, with hopes to have a guest speaker talk about planting, maintaining, harvesting, and consuming medicinal herbs.

“Our hope is in the fall we are going to be able to harvest it and have workshops for our members and maybe the community at large,” Doyle said.

The garden is also working on a maple tree project for Isle Madame. The Celtic Colours International Festival is giving away over 22,000 maple trees and the garden club put in an order for the trees, with plans to work with other groups and the public to plant them, Doyle noted.

A long-term goal for the garden club, according to Doyle, is the establishment of a “Daffodil Trail” on Isle Madame which entails planting daffodils along walking paths, trails, roadways, welcome signs, and intersections by working with other beautification groups, non-profits, businesses, and the Municipality of the County of Richmond.

“Our garden club is alive and it’s got all kinds of ideas on how they’d like to beautify the island, so we’re putting some ideas together on paper now on how we could develop a Daffodil Trail for all of Isle Madame and bring colour to Isle Madame early in the spring,” Doyle said. “Where in the month of May, things are quiet and there’s nothing in anyone’s flower boxes, daffodils come up early and they bloom for six weeks so this could be an early start for the island to come to life.”

As for England, she is proud to be part of an active group which makes the community better.

“The membership is growing,” she added. “We have a pretty good core there… We have fun.”