More community gardening

May is always a busy time for community gardeners, those green thumbed urbanites that think our city would look better if greener. And who don’t wait for the city to do it.

Here’s some pictures of the Thursday morning gardening group. First the weedy beds at Bronson/McLaren and Bronson/Christie had to be weeded:



Some perennials were added, and then the boxes of “spent” or finished-blooming tulips from the Preston street BIA planters were opened:


A hole about 10″ deep was dug, and the bulbs taken out of the pot and plopped into the hole, and covered with about six inches of topsoil:





The finished bed looks great, with more tough-as-nails lillies that might survive as the planters double up as salt laden snow dumps along the side of the road.

The tulips have been forced by greenhouse for the floral displays, so the bulbs are not the best. But they are free. So next spring, keep an eye out. If they bloom — wonderful.  If they don’t, they’ll become mulch.


Meanwhile, another group of gardeners was out on Sunday, behind the City Centre complex, along the new Trillium (formerly OTrain) pathway. The City installed more boulders to keep vehicles off part of the area, and unexpectedly added in some more trees.

I met a long-serving politician who had just walked a good bit of the pathway, who expressed considerable surprise at how nice the corridor was and even more surprise that the city had actually installed decent landscaping. Good impressions help …


The plants at City Centre might get lost in the weeds, so they are close to the big rocks, and bonus, some leftover mulch was found nearby to put around the roses and lillies and a few other shrubs and tough-love plants.


After only two weeks, a foot and cycle path has appeared through the landscaped zone, clearly demonstrating a “desire line” and useful corridor.


Last year, some boston ivy vines appeared at the foot of a number of the concrete pillars that hold the upper service roadway at the City Centre Building. They even have mulch. They seem to be thriving:


Yet another community gardening group has been planting the bulb outs along Booth Street at Willow, Arlington, and Raymond. In these cases, the city was unwilling to supply any plants, preferring to simply brick-over the bulb outs. But after being asked nicely, they instead installed some curb-protected planters with a modicum of dirt in them. The famous ditch lillies and other leftover garden plants soon make their appearance. Some of the plants were donated by the Plant Pool Rec Assoc after their plant sale last weekend. Some more came from the Ottawa Home Show, which trashed the display gardens on closing night … unless community groups get in and out in a few hour time window to remove the material.



As described in previous stories, gardeners also get occasional funds or plants from the Preston BIA and the Chinatown BIA, and the Councillor’s Office and the Community Association. And sometimes from developers too. But overall, its very shoestring. But the plants do get found …

The lillies planted last fall are looking good, but the weeds … and decayed concrete after only one winter !



If these beds have a lot of immature plants, the blank spots are filled in with marigold seeds. Underneath those are yet more Preston BIA and Home Show tulip bulbs. Whew.




More than one community gardening group hopes it will rain for a few hours, preferably at 2am so it won’t disturb the daytime gardening.


More on Little Nemo on Preston Street:

In the previous story, Losing Nemo, the analogy got rather convoluted and opaque by the end of the story. Some readers pointed out that the story read very negatively on our new councillor, personally. That wasn’t my intention, but in retrospect I could see how it could easily be read that way. So I went back an simplified the ending, and made amends with the Councillor.

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