Margaret Penner, with the Winkler Horticulture Society, has been working hard to beautify the city with fellow volunteers for nearly 25 years now. Once again, she is looking for new volunteers to “Adopt a Plot” this summer. 

“I will look after getting volunteers to weed the floral areas [in the city] while the green team workers, together with volunteers, will keep the city parks clean of weeds through the summer.” 

With the Adopt a Plot Program, parks like the one on Grandeur Avenue are broken up into sections, and each section is assigned to a volunteer. Penner says this gives community members a chance to play a part in beautifying the city, but not in an overwhelming way.

"[You] could help to make this city look beautiful this summer by keeping a certain section clean and by making sure there are no weeds in the section that you are assigned to.” 

Penner believes that this method of splitting up the work into smaller pieces is the reason that the city has been largely weed free for years. 

“For example, there is a corner with a gazebo on it by 15th Street and Grandeur Avenue, where a lady and her daughter have [committed] to caring for it to keep it free of weeds. Their voluntary commitment will help the city look nice. We have that done with approximately 11 different areas, where we ask for people to help.” 

Penner reflects on how the city looked when she started 25 years ago. 

“There were literally no flower plots or parks on corners. It was a very exciting thing for us to scout out where we could plant shrubs or perennials and also where we could put in flower beds. Now we have 15 different areas in the city [where] we plant each spring.” 

Volunteering for the Winkler Horticulture Society has been very rewarding for Penner.  

“I am very grateful for the volunteers that I was able to work with to help establish, for example, the Bethel Heritage Park, the Greg Ens Memorial Park, Parkview Gardens, all the plantings at the cemeteries, Main Street planters and so on. It's very rewarding to see what we have been able to accomplish with a group of people who had the same interest and passion to make our city outstanding.” 

Although Penner is slowing down, she is not ready to hang up her gardening hat just yet. As the volunteer coordinator, she encourages people to be a part of the Adopt a Plot Program.

“It is just a very small, part-time commitment to work with our city parks to keep them clean.” 

If you’d like to take part, call or text Margaret Penner at (204) 362-2552.  

Listen to the full interview with Connie Bailey by clicking below.