Coinciding with nationally recognized Earth Day, on April 22, 2017, several members of RoncyWorks arrived to clean planter beds, sweep up litter and remove aging signage along the length of Roncesvalles Avenue. This effort was part of the annual RoncyWorks spring cleanup and the City’s Clean Toronto Together campaign.
All along Roncesvalles Avenue, the garden beds are cleverly integrated with decorative, stylized and sometimes edible flora. It’s just one happy display of plants in all different colours, ethnicity, genders, reproductive variations and levels of intelligence.
Unless, of course, a plant’s natural tendency is to invade and harm. You’ll not find faithful RoncyWorks members doting upon such outcasts.
Growing various botanical species together is not new, it’s the basis of permaculture and urban gardening and it was created because space is limited. Companion planting is beneficial because flowers attract pollinators that help food-producing vegetables, fruits and berries to flourish past the flowering stage.
The Victorians called it cottage gardening, in fact the little white picket fence was actually created to not only fence in cottage gardens from little creatures, but also to serve as a trellis support for vining vegetables like; cucumber, squash, watermelon, beans and peas.
If you don’t have ground space, use containers. Creative metal art, twigs or bamboo poles can serve as a climbing medium for vertical gardening.
Herbs are delightful multi use additions to a garden. They look great, add variety and survive snips and clips as they’re offered up in culinary dishes. Besides, growing your own food is an organic, zero carbon footprint action that is an affordable solution for families.
Growing things together is an example of the “great big one” that we have all become.
Japanese Knotweed is an invasive, destructive plant that is banned in Britain. It’s presence through out England, decreases property values and it has now become illegal to deal with its removal on your own, government intervention is actually required.
CBC’s the Current & MACLEAN’S magazine have both reported about epic outbreaks in British Columbia. Ontario’s Invading Species organization actually has a hotline to report outbreaks of this tenacious plant that is damaging massive treks of rural areas as it upsets the eco system by overgrowth. It isn’t a native plant.
The City of Toronto lists and provides information for residents to identify and eradicate Japanese Knotweed because the plant is capable of growing through building foundations and breaking through concrete and asphalt. Having it near your home can actually affect the resale of your house.
RoncyWorks members wish to help inform residents of the Roncesvalles area because it has been spotted throughout the region. Most seasoned gardeners know about it, but every once and awhile a novice gardener will come across it and be charmed by it’s attractiveness. Many people think it is a bamboo of some kind.
The best way to get rid of it – is surface removal and destruction from leaf down or the use of herbicides. Digging up the ground and breaking the root system, actually encourages it to regrow into multiple plants.
Clear your gutters, street drains and traffic areas of leaf debris but consider leaving your Autumn leaves in landscaped beds and mulched leaves on lawns.
Scientists world wide are urging home owners to adopt a more eco approach to how we can help create sustainable habitats for wee creatures like butterflies and beneficial insects and also, manufacturer our own healthy soil amendments. Left alone in garden areas, leaves decompose with the assistance of little creatures and fungi – eventually the process turns the leafy accumulation into humous rich, earthy leaf mould & compost. Besides, the insulating qualities of any blanketed organic matter, are known to protect and save delicate shrubs and perennials. Toronto winters get cold.
Depleting the earth of its own potential goodness is like removing important bacterial flora from our own bodies. It just has to be replaced synthetically – use the real thing!
Throughout America, the National Wildlife Federation is campaigning the merits against over meticulous environmental care. We as RoncyWorks members and Roncesvalles area neighbours, ought to recognize such leaf saving benefits by supporting leaf – non collection strategies ourselves because such action plans are pro supportive towards Environmental Protection.
Save your Back, save a Buck!
It goes without saying; less raking reduces the risk of muscular injury. But saving a buck? Imagine never having to purchase fertilizer, bags of garden loam or mulch again. By contributing to your own manufacturing of leaf mould, you will always have an economical abundance of nature’s bounty. That saves you money. Many savvy gardeners are utilizing the benefits of autumn leaves. Some use their lawnmowers or weed wackers to mulch leaves down so that they decompose faster. Left finely chopped on lawns, they deteriorate quickly and tend not to blow around. Some collect surplus leaves in an uncovered bin and wait for the process of time to do its work. Its really quite easy. I personally have raked my leaves onto my landscaped flower beds for years, every spring I note how much better the earth has become.
If binned home leaf composting isn’t your thing, rely on The City of Toronto’s leaf collecting system but do it in the Spring after you, your garden and the insects have benefitted.
Think of life in forests. No one rakes the accumulation of leaves, yet every spring decomposition has occurred because of the presence of beneficial fungi, insect life and the blanketing of snow. As new growth pushes through the leafy floor, the remainder of fallen leaves provide a rich mulch, that eventually breaks down and that process, is a never ending natural cycle. – now take the forest example and apply it to your own garden. It’s simple, easy and free.