After retiring as a United Methodist pastor, in 2005 Dan Weaver was called for another mission: creating a garden that would soothe the soul and feed hungry stomachs. His longtime friend and fellow clergyman Mark Pearson talked with him about the idea of a garden for a new medical building he and his osteopathic physician wife Mary, were planning in Kingston. They were going to move their New Creation Healing Center from Plaistow to Kingston in 2008. “He knew of my interest in gardens and asked if I would consider establishing a garden at the center,” says Dan. “I saw a place for a garden of restful beauty as an asset” to the Pearsons’ vision at the future site. “The vision grew into an 100-foot by 100-foot area with two gardens, one for flowers and the other for vegetables.”
The flower garden features a Celtic cross, which combines a traditional cross with a circular band across the mid-point where the smaller and longer beams join. This garden, called “The Classic Formal Garden”, has several uses, including as a space for meditation or workshops for gardening sessions.
The other, a vegetable area named “The Giving Garden”, produces vegetables that are donated to the Kingston Food Pantry. Over a decade “hundreds of pounds of vegetables have been donated,” says Dan. In his 2020 report, he wrote “275 pounds of vegetables” had been donated.
The vegetable garden is cared for by nine to eleven “loyal volunteers” including some “church people” and a number of veteran and new Master Gardeners, including Ginny Shannon, Jack Karcz, Shelby Stabile, Donna Hall, Marjory O’Leary and MaryAnne Jardis. After hearing Dan give a talk about the garden, MaryAnne (class or 2019) decided her first volunteer commitment would be working at the center’s garden from March to November 2020. “There is a core group of people devoted to the garden and to him,” she says, adding, “He is so down to earth.”
Dan studied electrical engineering at Purdue University, “then the pastoral ministry became my lifetime profession.” He graduated from Boston University School of Theology in 1960 and has served in Methodist Churches in Indianapolis, and locally Salem, Dover, Exeter and Greenland. He has “planted trees and shrubs in every parish I have served in.” Dan has been married 60 years to Ella May. Upon retiring from pastoral work he expanded the landscaping around their Epping home.
Of his MG training, completed in 2009, and volunteer work, Dan says he has grown in knowledge and skills and is “thankful for the leadership and friends I have known through Master Gardeners.”
In his year-end report, Dan wrote to his volunteer team: “We praise God for your faithfulness in the garden in 2020….It is a great ministry of love from you to the community.”
UNH Cooperative Extension Master Gardener volunteers share information about home, yard, and garden topics with the people of New Hampshire. Got questions? Master Gardeners provide practical help finding answers to your questions through the Ask UNH Extension Infoline. Call toll free at 1-877-398-4769, Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.