Poets’ & Playwrights’ Garden
Norfolk County Public Library has developed a Poets’ and Playwrights’ Garden at the Port Dover Branch. A lovely space outside of the community meeting room is attracting attention of library patrons and visitors alike. Recently, a stone marker to identify the garden was donated and installed by Kirkpatrick’s Monuments, located on the Queensway in Simcoe, to permanently recognize the site as a special writer’s garden.
Each year one poet or playwright is remembered with a tree, flowering shrub or perennial planting. This practice was begun in 2014 when John B. Lee, Poet Laureate for Norfolk County suggested we remember Raymond Knister, a Canadian poet, novelist, story writer, columnist and reviewer. Raymond was known primarily for his realistic narratives set in rural Canada. He was married to Myrtle Gamble of Port Dover and tragically drown at the age of 33. Knister is buried in the Port Dover Cemetery. A flowering dogwood tree took centre stage in the garden, as the first planting. John McCrae was remembered in 2015 to mark the 100th anniversary of the famous war poem, “In Flanders Fields”. With the help of Eisings greenhouse staff and the Port Dover Guides, Flanders poppies were planted. Local poet, playwright and WW11 veteran, Art Bradfield was chosen as the 2016 installation for the garden. In May of this year, a sampling of Art’s poems that he wrote while serving in the Navy, were read aloud by grade 7 Lakewood Elementary students. A Japanese maple tree was planted with the assistance of the Grade 7’s and their reading buddies, who were in the Kindergarten class.
Poet Laureate, John B. Lee has a vision that a literary trail could be developed by adding trees, flowering shrubs or perennial plants at all of the Norfolk County Public library gardens, to help raise the profile of local writers. The Norfolk County Public Library is asking the public to suggest names of local or Canadian writers that they think should be recognized with a special planting in our library gardens. Please contact our CEO Heather King with your suggestions or drop-off your ideas at any NCPL Branch.