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A while back Oakvillegreen helped establish a communal garden at Trafalgar Park – off of Kerr St. We asked one of the original founders and gardener, Susan Curran, to tell us the story of how the garden grew, both in community and in veggies.
According to Susan, when she retired in 2007, she was looking for a “project”. With help from her daughter she decided to try and organize a community garden somewhere in Oakville. She approached the Town of Oakville and was offered space in Trafalgar Park. Susan was a member of Oakvillegreen at the time and Oakvillegreen was able to assist with insurance and with an application to the Oakville Community Foundation for a small startup grant.
Susan also noted that the approach – a communal garden – was novel for the town, which had only offered allotment plots up to that point. The Town of Oakville assisted with garden preperation and arranged for the Region to deliver compost and the following year erected a fence around the garden.
During the first spring, Susan advertised a meeting for all those interested in gardening together. About 50 people showed up. When it came time to do the actual work, there were about 20 volunteers – of all ages (from 5 up) and with varying degrees of gardening knowledge. Decisions were made collectively and unlike the little red hen, all shared in the work and all shared in the harvest.
Susan also explained that while many of the original gardeners have moved away, a core remain and every year new members join. Also, because the garden is located at the entrance to the park, there is a steady stream of dog walkers, parents on the way to the playground, and residents walking to their apartments. People always stop and ask about the garden, and they are invited to join if they wish. Students also help out as part of their community hours for high school.
The 40 x 50 ft garden is still communal and filling out beautifully again this year with veggies, herbs and flowers. People wanting to join in or help out can contact Susan at: cursusan [at] gmail [dot] com. All are welcome to participate as they are able and members save and share seeds, start their own seedlings, dig free compost from the region and contribute to hard costs such as buying manure.
As incredible as it might seem in just a few weeks a strip of grass has turned into a “pollinators’ paradise”. Just outside of the Glen Abbey Community Centre, the Pollinator Demonstration Garden that was planted by amazing volunteers is fulfilling its objective of attracting pollinators and educating passers-by.
The ground is now covered with blooming perennials, flowering shrubs and small trees, even some berries are beginning to show up. Our thanks goes to the Town of Oakville (who has been watering the garden as needed) and a group of committed Garden Steward Volunteers that visit the garden every week to tidy the mulch, do some weeding, trim plants and keep it clean. If you want to get involved and help with this rewarding task, please sign up using this link.
Oakvillegreen planted several other Pollinator Gardens this spring including at St. Luke’s Catholic School, Al Falah Islamic School, Anglican Church of the Incarnation, Holy Family Catholic School, St. Andrew Catholic School, St. John Paul II Catholic School and Pine Grove Public School. A big thank you to all the volunteers, staff and students that were involved in helping us pull off this amazing task. Together we planted more than 280 plants that will help increase and enhance pollinator habitat in Oakville.
Oakville’s urban river valleys, including the Sixteen Mile Creek, Bronte Creek and Fourteen Mile Creek Valley, are special places. Wherever you live in Oakville, you are never very far from stepping into nature to take a hike through valley forests, enjoy a creekside picnic or cycle along kilometers of valley trails. Living adjacent to these creeks means we all have a big role to play in caring for them! We think caring for nature and stewardship begins with discovery. This is why we are launching a new program aimed at getting people out into, learning about and helping to care for our urban river valleys and watersheds!
Oakvillegreen gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Oakville Environmental Fund (a fund held within the Oakville Community Foundation) for the Discover Your Creek program.
Excited? So are we! Stay tuned for these upcoming events and projects:
- A DISCOVER YOUR CREEK photography contest
- An online resource guide about our urban river valleys and their values and benefits
- On-the-ground Creek Stewardship volunteer opportunities where you can help care for your creek
- Oakville’s First ‘Discover Your Creek’ Crawl – an adventure-filled day of creek discovery activities!
We will be exploring the hidden treasures of Sixteen Mile Creek on a leisurely ‘Tour de Trees’ bike ride, in partnership with Cycle Oakville, along the trail system of Sixteen Mile Creek. The ride departs from Lion’s Valley Park parking lot on June 13th at 10:00 am and will returning to the same parking lot by 12 noon. (Lions Valley Park Road is off the south side of Dundas St. west of Neyagawa Blvd.). For more details see: https://www.facebook.com/events/1440349962936935/. Everyone is welcome and the ride is suited to all ages and skill levels!
Also on June 27th from 8am to 2pm, you can #DISCOVERYOURCREEK at Oakville’s new Farmers’ Market at Centennial Square (Navy Street & Lakeshore). Children of all ages are encouraged to join us to learn about creek critters, help create creek-inspired art out of natural materials or shape their own clay creek creature. Stay tuned for updates on more Discover Your Creek events!