Thursday, September 04, 2008

Community Garden Update

The community garden plot is still around, it's just that we didn't use it last year due to the contamination issues presented by the Public Health Department. It was decided that we would come back this year to plant flowers (and hopefully have a real garden plot available next year if the city can find a solution) and here is a view of the beginning of the season. You can't believe how much of a disaster the space was after leaving it unattended for one year. It took a huge day of work to clear all the weeds and grass that had taken over and it was no easy chore to try to turn all the soil. Since the composting portion of the garden is not currently in use, I ended up filling almost a dozen huge bags with garden debris to make room for planting.

Since this is a flowers only garden (nothing edible can be grown in the soil and container gardening is not terribly popular in a garden environment) I planted a variety of perennials that can easily blend in to the flower beds at home (they will have to be moved when they decontaminate the garden) and added a ton of annuals.

I was also lucky enough to get a sizable donation of different plants and flowers from the Loblaw's Garden centre for the whole community garden that we used to brighten up the space and try to keep the garden alive and vibrant while waiting for the city to find a solution.
Kate and I took the plants and divided them up amongst the gardens in the front 2 rows that face the street. We are trying to make the garden look attractive from the street even though it is hardly being used.

We have gone from over 40 people to less than 10 in the space of 2 years and it is heartbreaking to see the first Community Garden in Montréal in the process of slowly dying.

Hopefully our efforts will give us hope for next season, the city says they may have a solution and I hope that this vital resource is kept alive, there are still tons of people interested in having access to these kinds of resources and they are becoming an endangered species. You would think that in this day and age that we would want to ensure that we have enough green spaces in our cities and encourage the residents to be part of the solution.
This is the end result of our work for the Garden this year. We managed to take our space and transform it in to a beautiful garden that was well visited by all the neighbourhood butterflies and bees. There were many times that I would pass by to water and would discover one of the local cats hanging out in the flowers (more than likely after butterflies or humming birds) and there was at least a bit of nature and some pretty flowers to admire.
I still have high hopes for next year and hope that we have a real solution and can re open the garden to the previous and new gardeners who want to take part in this kind of activity. I miss the camaraderie of my fellow gardeners and how beautiful the garden looked when all the plots were well taken care of and people could grow their own food. It was always such a trip to see all the different vegetables and plants that were growing and I discovered lots of new plants that I had never seen before.
I do miss having those fresh veggies to eat like carrots and beets that I unfortunately don't have the room to grow at home. Here's hoping there is a creative solution for next year.

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