March 15, 2012
Lindsey Drake Nightingale
Lindsey Drake Nightingale
Coming into the horticulture field was a change of careers for Lindsay Drake Nightingale of Yorkshire Garden Services in Toronto.

She had worked with non-profit agencies such as the VON (Victorian Order of Nurses), Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Canadian Diabetes Association. She says she loved the work, but felt it was time for a change.

“Being a gardener is the best thing I’ve ever done,” says Drake Nightingale. “I knew in order to get the most out of it, I had to get involved.” Through the encouragement of Bob Tubby of Arbordale Landscaping, Drake Nightingale became my involved in Landscape Ontario at the Chapter level. “I haven’t looked back.”

That’s for sure. Currently, one of her volunteer tasks with the association is president of the Toronto Chapter. “I work with a fabulous group of people who strive to increase relevancy at the Chapter level, whether it’s by building a new garden for Sick Kids Hospital, organizing a baseball tournament, or having a roundtable discussion at a Chapter dinner meeting. We are definitely succeeding.” She says the feedback received is most encouraging.

For years, Drake Nightingale has been involved with Canada Blooms. She reflects that most of her memorable volunteer experiences happened during the builds. “One that still makes me smile is from the year I was planting the Allweather Landscape garden. The tulips had to be just so. I had another volunteer helping me. Here I am telling him how to plant in order to get the best show. Well, James Garfield Thompson OALA was one of the most gracious volunteers I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. The tulips looked fabulous, but nothing compared to the way he can make huge boulders look like pieces of art.”

Last year’s build of the LO feature garden was another Blooms experience that is fondly remembered by Drake Nightingale. “It wasn’t just one particular moment, but rather the overall feel of the volunteer experience. The collective energy, passion and raw emotion of all those involved was an overwhelmingly wonderful experience. Everyone pulled together to create a truly original and visually stunning garden.”

She says the benefits received from volunteering are purely altruistic. Drake Nightingale reflects on how there is so much positive return in meeting people, creating the future, building beautiful gardens, knowing that one person can make a difference.

A strong believer in Landscape Ontario, the Toronto Chapter president says it is an inspirational organization that encourages its members to push beyond conventional boundaries. She strives to advance the horticultural industry, and strongly supports the association’s programs of education, symposia and trade shows.

Drake Nightingale notes, “It is important to remember that not all landscape professionals want to become involved in LO, but that doesn’t mean that we as an organization should lose sight of them. Their input is also very important. These companies still should be asked and encouraged to take out a membership every year, because one year they will surprise us and join.”

For Lindsay Drake Nightingale, volunteering is an important part of who she is. She points out that this is year of transition, so she is currently looking at other volunteer opportunities inside and outside of LO. “I do sit on the Landscape Technician Program Advisory Committee for Humber College. It is a rewarding experience, as we move the program forward to meet the growing (no pun intended) demands of the horticultural industry. I do know that I will continue to be a part of Landscape Ontario.”