Volunteer Profile: Vivien and Patrick

About Vivien and Patrick

“We’re such good buddies,” says Vivien Clarke, and there you have it — the reason why she and husband Patrick are both VanDusen volunteers and belong to the same (Wednesday morning) Garden Guide team.

Vivien’s association with the VBGA began in 1998, when she took the Master Gardener program, and then did clinics on-site. Working 2001-2009 as a VBGA Admin Assistant developed her “deep love for this beautiful place and all its plants and creatures.” In 2005 she became a volunteer as well as a staff member and, along with Garden Guide duties, served on (or chaired) various committees over the years, with particular focus on Guide education.

Patrick joined her as a Garden Guide volunteer in 2012. “This is the ideal retirement gig,” he says. “It challenges the mind, engages you with people from all over the world, and brings you into the Garden — tranquility in a busy city, timeless yet always changing.”

They may not even see each other during a busy Wednesday morning shift, but they always catch up afterward, and they also co-coordinate the Self-Guiding Tours — she oversees the monthly writing, he handles the logistics. They love what they do, they love doing it together, and they love where they are. Vivien speaks for them both when she says, “This Garden is a balm for the soul, an inspiration for the mind and a haven for the heart.”

Written by Penny Williams, Volunteer Writer