Garden Forever
The Aids Awareness Garden
In Memory of Ken
by Carla Allen

She's a softspoken individual, someone you really wouldn't have expected to have tackled the issue she's so passionate about. But then Brenda Moulaison of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, has personal experience with the disease she's so dedicated to educating others about. You see, Brenda's brother died from Aids two summers ago at the age of 38. Near the end of Ken's horrific battle with the virus, Brenda struggled with thoughts on how she could best show Ken how much she loved him....some kind of lasting monument. One morning she had a vision of herself standing in a beautiful garden, in the form and shape of how it exists today. This was to become the Aids Awareness Garden, a plot of land that would remind others of the disease and inadvertently come to act as a form of therapy for Brenda.

In late 1996 arrangements were finalized with the town of Yarmouth for the loan of a proposed site in Milton on the corner of Gardner and Main and they donated $250 towards the project. Brenda busied herself with canvassing local businesses for more funds. Walter Babin created the base of the garden for her that same fall and by the following spring she had finally raised enough money to plant the garden for the first time. Red geraniums bordered by white alyssum formed a ribbon in the center, with blue lobelia and white alyssum surrounding this planted in the shape of a large heart. The ribbon symbolizes the cause. The heart represents the lives being lost to this disease.

Brenda rushed to have the garden completed by June 21, 1997 - Ken's birthday. His health was failing fast. The virus had taken its toll and his frail legs could no longer support his meagre weight. Wrapped in a blanket, he sat in a wheelchair for the event surrounded by family, friends and strangers who wanted to join in this special occasion.

Ken died two months later but the garden lives on thanks to Brenda's dedication and the support of others. Last year Brenda used donated funds to have a fence built behind the garden. It compliments the garden beautifully. She used red salvia bordered by white gravel for the ribbon and white alyssum to form the heart to obtain the effect she wanted that year.

This spring she used half a dozen flats of red and white wax begonias for the garden, hoping for a lower overall effect. These were planted approximately eight inches apart for a desirable carpet bed appearance. Landscape fabric was laid over areas not planted, then covered over with gravel to reduce the amount of weeding required.

"If my project can make just one child, just one other person, realize the importance behind this whole creation then I feel my efforts in trying to get the message out there to make the right choices, has accomplished something good out of something so bad." Brenda wrote me in a letter describing the experience of losing her brother to Aids.

She also shared a poem with me--two lines of which speak most eloquently about the strength of this young woman. "I have so much to say, I don't know where to start. So I guess I'll speak right from my heart."

Next time you are passing by the Aids Awareness Garden visit its beauty up close. Remember why it was created and read the poem `Be Aware' which Brenda has mounted beside it.

On Sunday, September 26, 1999 at 1 pm there was an Aids Awareness Walk organized by Brenda.

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The Aids Awareness Garden is a copyrighted article by the author, Carla Allen, who has kindly given Garden Forever permission to publish it on our website. The use of any part of this publication reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system, without the prior written consent of Carla Allen is strictly forbidden.