Earth Day Clean Up along Roncy

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.

Three members of RoncyWorks enjoying a sunny break on Roncesvalles Avenue during the spring cleanup.

Hilary, Veronica and Rahel are please to note a decrease in litter including cigrette butts in the gardens along Roncesvalles and grateful for the street culture changes that have led to this. PHOTO CREDIT: Claude Barnes

RoncyWorks volunteer holding broom and bag of cigarette litter.

RoncyWorks gardener, John Sledziewski picked a bagful of butts from the gardens and swept around the edges, for a finishing touch. PHOTO CREDIT: Claude Barnes

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Urban Gardening: Growing plants together

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As above ~ So below.   Strawberries planted under an Elderberry bush in a wood chip mulched bed

All along Roncesvalles Avenue, the garden beds are cleverly integrated with decorative, stylized and sometimes edible flora. There”s no judgement passed.  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.

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Intending to grow up

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Container 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.

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Rhubarb is delightfully architectural

Chives

Allowing some chives to flower

Learn about Japanese Knotweed

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Japanese Knotweed growing through foundation

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. 

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Coming up tenaciously

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.

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Novice gardener plants unknowingly

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Sprays of flowers in late summer

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Easily confused with Bamboo

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.

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Plants may need to be eradicated with herbicides