Posted by: Christine Bradley, Green Dreamer Coordinator
Well the autumn leaves are tumbling down and the weather is turning colder both day and night now. Our 15 garden beds, after a summer of glorious sun and intermittent rain fared very well after a slow, dry start in July. Because of COVID, our volunteer group of eleven dedicated gardeners were delayed in starting this spring because of the City’s restrictions on community ornamental gardening. Green Dreamers took our direction from the City’s Adopt-a-Road Program about the start-up date after lockdown.
Ottawa residents who worked on community vegetable gardens were able to start a few weeks ahead of us under strict rules of contact.
Volunteers were finally given permission to return to beds in early July, able to garden keeping six feet apart not sharing tools. Our work was cut out for us as we tackled dry, cracked beds with copious weeds and overgrowth between plants. We were happy to look after the Library gardens to make sure that this revered local community hub was being cared for in the absence of its many fans. Debris and garbage were not an issue because during lockdown volunteers were allowed to pick this up at the beds before we were allowed to garden in the beds. Plots including the three rain gardens on Sunnyside Avenue were divided up so each bed had one volunteer responsible for its care. That way volunteers gardened either alone on their schedule or in small groups if they needed assistance on their beds, ensuring six feet distance could be maintained. Other years, before COVID, the coordinator would do a callout twice a week for the whole crew to descend on one or two of our beds.
On the news front, the Green Dreamers hosted a plant drive on Saturday, September 26, 2020, with residents dropping off plants that needed a new home.
As the coordinator I was very pleased with the community response as the variety and number of plants were larger than last year. Many thanks to all the residents who donated plants. These gifts from your gardens will certainly enhance our beds with colour and texture next year.
Also, we have worked very hard at opening up two new beds at Jiffy Lube at Bank and Riverdale. Because this corner business is at the entrance and exit of our community, beautifying this area was one of our pet projects this year. The staff there have been tremendously supportive and appreciative of our efforts to make their area more attractive to the public and visitors to our neighbourhood.
Now we are starting to close up the beds for the winter. Raking leaves, final weeding, and pruning dead branches will ensure the beds have a good start next year. Till then, our hard-working volunteers will take a much-needed break over the winter and hopefully the scourge of COVID will be behind us so we can restart next spring 2021 as usual.