Langley Cityâ€™s Anna Towle was in shock when she returning home from a trip to the B.C. Interior to find her front yard literally transformed into what she calls a sanctuary.
Towle had been â€œGnominated.â€
Garden designer Ryan Donohoe, a team of volunteers, as well as several of Towleâ€™s family and friends (oh yeah, and Dug the Gnome) recently spent four days renovating her garden, and the metamorphosis was astonishing, the homeowner told the Langley Advance.
â€œEvery time I drive home, even now, I say, â€˜who lives here?â€™ It looks like it should be on a magazine coverâ€¦ Itâ€™s like a little paradise. Itâ€™s beautiful,â€ she said of her new front yard.
â€œI was in shock really, for at least a week. Actually, I think I still am,â€ Towle said.
â€œIâ€™m so deeply touched. I feel so unworthy, but so grateful,â€ she added. â€œIt boggles my mind that all of these lovely people would put in all their time and effort for me.â€
This transformation, if billed out, would be worth about $15,000, but was all made possible thanks to volunteers and donations, Donohoe explained.
Towle, who recently lost her father and was in the Interior to visit her mother on his birthday, returned home to one of the most moving moments of her life.
â€œShe seemed like a good fit for the project,â€ Donohoe said, noting itâ€™s been a challenging year for the mother with two adult children.
She was the third person to be Gnominated, and now the program founder is seeking future worthy candidates.
The Get Gnominated program all started a year ago, when Donohoe â€“ a Vancouver landscaper â€“ turned to a marketing friend to help develop his companyâ€™s Facebook account.
â€œAs a thank you, I decided to renovate their front garden beds one day, when they werenâ€™t home,â€ he said.
â€œNeedless to say, they were pleasantly surprised and appreciative of the service. I left her home thinking of ways I could further develop this surprise service, and turn it into a community program that is playful, creative, and interactive,â€ Donohoe explained.
That was the start.
The transformations happen while the candidate is away, usually on a get-away with the nominator.
â€œImagine the sense of love and connection your candidate will feel when they walk into their newly renovated space and all of their friends and family members are there to welcome him or her home,â€ Donohoe said.
â€œAlthough Dug will be long gone by that time, he will leave his loving touch with a handwritten letter explaining why he or she was selected, by whom, and how the candidate inspired and impacted everyone.â€
â€œGet Gnominated is my companyâ€™s way to give back to the community,â€ he said, hoping the program can gain momentum and he can do at least two a year.
â€œIf you know someone who loves gardening, is an outstanding member of society who gives back in one form or another, and perhaps could use a pick-me-up because of a recent string of events, they are the perfect candidate to be Gnominated.â€
To nominate someone, people can visit www.get-gnominated.com and tell Dug the Gnome about the special person and why they deserve a surprise garden renovation.
â€œTell Dug. Heâ€™s a magic manâ€¦ He creates a renovation and design, and then heâ€™s gone,â€ Donohoe said. But what Dug and the team leave behind is more than just a garden but a real connection between people.