RoncyWorks Garden Gallery 2014

A momentous year of urban gardening by our Green Team yielded plenty of delights on the street and lots of shots to share. In these photos taken among our 21 planting beds, you’ll see what evolved, and both treasures and trouble spots discovered since spring. Even this late in the season, the fall gardens are a reminder of what makes this neighbourhood awesome.

May Flowers and June Blooms

July’s Garden Glories

August’s Beauteous Bounty

Photos above by Heidi Eisenhauer

Roncesvalles in Bloom 2013 & 2014

Photos above by Jackie Taschereau

 

 

 

Getting to know our trees

Red Oak tree labelWhen the new trees were first planted along Roncesvalles Avenue in 2012 — before the tree guards or bike rings were installed – they were being used as bike posts. Many of the young trees were getting scarred. So we took steps to prevent cyclists from locking their bikes to them.

In addition to the bright green tags that we taped onto the attached bikes, we took to labelling each tree with their common name, Latin name and Polish name, thanks to our resident tree expert Bill Montague. Presenting their identity helped raise their presence from that of a post to a living and vulnerable entity.

We received so much positive feedback on the rudimentary labels we first used that Bill, who is now our RoncyWorks Tree Team lead, set his sights on creating more permanent ones. After many trials, Bill resourcefully arrived at an elegant solution that is simple to install.

You’ll now see black metal labels attached to the tree guards of each tree.  Well, almost every tree.

Unfortunately, we lost several over the winter and all that’s left of them is their severed trunks waiting forlornly in the tree guards for their replacements.

Planting for spring

Volunteers from the RoncyWorks Green Team and their kids plant spring bulbs in the street planting beds near Copernicus Lodge.

Undaunted by the rain, new volunteer Robin Poole and her three friends came out with their children to plant bulbs along Roncesvalles. Three cheers for the big and little volunteers. From Left to Right: Back row – Robin, Michelle, Amanda (holding Ruby) Front row – Georgia, Jules, Finn, Spencer and Alex.

In the week before superstorm Sandy blew in, volunteers from our Green Team got out to plant 800 spring bulbs among the 21 planting beds along Roncesvalles. Several beds were planted by volunteers in the cold and wind as the storm approached. Three cheers for the big and little volunteers.

The bulbs were provided by the Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation. Next spring you’ll see a splash of yellow, orange, white and blues from the Narcissis Hawera, Red Devon, Fortune, Geranium and Scilla Siberica as these new bulbs spring forth.

Thank you to Barbara Japp and Jackie Taschereau who led the effort and to the the ten others who helped out with the planting. Thanks also to the Sweeps who got in there ahead of time to clear the planters of trash and cigarette butts. And, thanks to the rain, they got plenty of water.

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A perfect day on Roncesvalles

Yesterday was a perfect day on Roncesvalles, and a great opportunity to capture the beauty of our new streetscape.

Ever since construction wrapped up in July, the new Roncesvalles has been widely praised. “The result is quite marvellous,” wrote the Globe and Mail’s Marcus Gee, and the New York Times wrote: “the rejuvenated ‘Roncey’ now makes for one of the city’s most engaging strolls.”

Here are some examples of what they are writing about.

Passengers boarding a TTC streetcar on Roncesvalles Ave., Nov. 2011The new streetscape features several new trees, planted in healthy growing conditions. Instead of ugly concrete “tree coffins” that usually kill trees within 5-10 years, the trees are protected by attractive guards and grates. Soon, Roncesvalles will boast a lush green canopy that will cool our street, absorb greenhouse gases and pollutants, and provide natural beauty. The unsafe “two-step” sidewalk has finally been levelled, and unit pavers provide an attractive surface covering the underground soil trenches that give our trees access to uncompacted soil, air and water. The new tree guards are intended as multi-use street furniture that you can rest against or lock your bike to.

IMG_2025-sThe TTC stops are intended to be more than just places to wait for a streetcar. They have been conceived as “outdoor living rooms,” with benches, gardens, pedestrian lights, and room in some cases for displays or patios. An innovative, raised bike path allows cyclists to pass by the TTC stops without being caught in the streetcar tracks.

Multi-purpose TTC bumpouts on Roncesvalles Ave.Roncesvalles now has the most accessible streetcar stops in Toronto, allowing direct boarding from the sidewalk.  At 30 metres long, the stops have been optimized for Toronto’s new fleet of hi-tech LRV streetcars, which will begin entering service in 2014. These low-floor streetcars will be fully-accessible, air-conditioned, and will allow boarding from all four doors with the new Presto cards.

Two friends enjoy a walk up the tiled sidewalk on Roncesvalles Ave.The end result is a street that is full of vibrancy and life – not just a way to pass through, but a destination in itself. Roncesvalles is a pedestrian-friendly place where neighbours can meet friends, stop to chat, and yes, to shop.

Cross-posted with the Roncesvalles Village BIA website

Photos: John Bowker