Marigolds and Murals Project in Saint John reaches 25th anniversary

Click to play video: 'Marigolds and Murals project brings colour to Saint John for 25 years' Marigolds and Murals project brings colour to Saint John for 25 years
A community initiative providing more colour to the Saint John region is marking 25 years. The Marigolds and Murals project is responsible for millions of planted flowers and over 100 pieces of artwork – all by the hands of volunteers. Robert Lowthian reports – May 23, 2022

The Marigolds and Murals Project has embedded the details of neighbourhood flowers into Saint John’s culture for 25 years.

And, by mid-June, visitors and residents can be captivated by the real flowers planted throughout the city.

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“Bright colours on the brain makes people happy. Greenery lowers aggression, and the marigold is a very hearty flower,” said project founder Barry Ogden.

Ogden acknowledged that if you had asked him over two decades ago, he never would have thought the project would last 25 years.

It’s become a favourite for many who live locally, and is equally adored by tourists here for a visit, he said.

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“We had a site in the city where they were growing things and came up with the idea that we’ll get school children, and it comes from when I was a child we would get marigolds,” Ogden recalled.

To date, the project is responsible for 171 murals, 1,000 planted trees, and 100 painted homes.

Click to play video: 'Getting ready for the planting season Garden Tips' Getting ready for the planting season Garden Tips
Getting ready for the planting season Garden Tips – May 20, 2022

According to Ogden, the five million marigolds planted over the lifespan of the project have been responsible for nine Guinness World Records. They have also become a staple in teaching curriculums, he added.

“The children use it as a theme in their learning, so they use photosynthesis, they use math germination rates, poetry, art.”

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In the coming weeks, students from 44 schools will begin planting the marigolds they have nourished since the winter.

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Marigolds and Murals has grown to its current level nearly entirely on private funding and the work of 80,000 volunteers and 1,600 local artists. When asked about its purpose in the community, Ogden stated it’s meant to empower residents.

“Out of the five million marigolds and the 170 murals, we’ve never had one vandalized, so that tells you that empowerment is really the way to change society,” he proudly remarked.

Its Ogden’s hope that the work of the Marigolds and Murals Project will continue long after his life.

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