Miko Pakling Shen has spent thousands of dollars out of his own pocket to transform the greenspace around his apartment building in downtown Montreal.
He had no prior gardening experience but wanted to do something about the garbage that gets dumped in front of the building.
Shen has won the City’s Garden of the Year award for the second year in a row despite having no previous experience in gardening.
The Montrealer wanted to do something meaningful for his community when he reached retirement age. His neighbour, Rose-Andri Sauvageau, — whose an avid gardener — inspired him to take on gardening as a hobby and mentored him throughout his endeavour.
Sauvageau believed in Shen so much that she’s been the one who has been admitting him to various gardening contests.
“Miko’s garden is like a painting, he has all sorts of flowers and they’re a design,” said Sauvageau.
Together, they have teamed up to fix the greenspaces around their apartment buildings out of their very own pockets.
Their passion for gardening has also grown into a love for their community as they wake up early every morning to clean up the trash around their home.
This has inspired their neighbours to be more caring and respectful in the residential community as well.
“The neighbours don’t drop garbage, they even started putting flowers too. This is what I wanted to do — we live here, we want our community safe, clean and beautiful,” Shen told Global News.
Sauvageau said she even went on a search to collect used toys from their neighbours to create a safe area for the children to play outside as they didn’t have one before.
“It was all cement so I went and I begged everybody for plastic toys,” said Sauvageau.
Shen and Sauvageau said they are done yet transforming the greenspaces around their building.
They are hoping to finish a third space by next year, so they can continue making it welcoming for their neighbours and community.