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Garden of peace and love

Carlos Atwell

Garden of peace and love

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Denise Hinkson has turned her love of God, country and gardening into something beautiful.
The 43-year-old is the one-woman force behind the Peace & Love Mini Park in Amity Lodge, Christ Church. She told Street Beat that she has had a love of the soil since she was a child.
“I started cleaning up around here at age ten and by 16, I started to make a map of Barbados. About six or seven years ago, I had the plants down and two or three years ago, I started putting down signs,” she said.
To clarify, Hinkson began with a garden next to her home using a model of the country’s map. She said she had a friend who created signposts with various types of messages so she started adding them to her garden. At this time she began to create the park in front her home.
“It used to be very bushy around here. It took me years to get it looking like how it is now but the children in the neighbourhood inspired me; they wanted a place to play,” she said.
The park and the garden blend seamlessly into each other as they both feature bright colours and the ever present signs depicting Bible quotes, inspirational messages, health advice, words of wisdom and even sign language and traffic signals.
She has added benches, a swing, a birdhouse and painted the tree in front her house in rainbow colours.
“I just like creating and there is that feeling when you do a job and can sit down and admire how it feels . . . ,”she said.
However, Hinkson’s work is far from over as she said she was looking to add even more things. The only problem is expense.
“I would like to do more but it has to be gradual as it is very expensive. Plants, paint and fertilizer are expensive so I have to do it piece by piece. I can’t tell you the amount of money I have spent on this and it is a lot of hard work too but I enjoy it,” she said.
Hinkson has entered the Community Independence Secretariat’s Mini Park Competition as well as the garden competition. It is her third year for the latter and second for the former and next year she plans to also enter the kitchen garden competition.
Her hard work has not gone unnoticed by the neighbourhood and is a highlight when her church friends visit or if tourists pass by. Tony Harewood regularly passes through and was so inspired that he offered to help in any way he can.
“It is real nice and I would like to lend a hand; if anybody could see what’s going on here, they too would want to join in. It’s a real attraction and it inspires me to get involved,” he said.
Hinkson’s brother Ronald also loves the park. Although he is unable to help due to his busy schedule, he said the park showed his sister’s pride in Barbados and was an example others could follow.
As for the future, Hinkson plans to continue improving her park by adding new features.
“I want to add a pond here one day,” she said.