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

WWF’s 10 Year Earth Hour Milestone on Roncy

Earth Hour flyer shows time and location of start and finish on Roncesvalles.

Save the Date

Ten years ago, WWF initiated Earth Hour. It’s a symbolic time held worldwide to  encourage the global community to share the opportunities and challenges of creating a sustainable world. For one hour on one evening  in the month of March, we are all to turn off our lights and reduce our power draw, opting for candlelight instead.

In December of 2015, Paris hosted the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP 21 in which, 196 representing countries or territorial parties agreed on a global commitment to reducing the effects of climate change. This agreement is intended to become law.

This past January, City Councillors Gord Perks & Sarah Doucette (representing Parkdale – High Park) held a “think tank” to get residents to weigh in on how they thought, we could work towards combating climate change. It was a packed house. I was there.

Supporting Earth Hour is one of my passions. In 2013 WWF Canada identified me as an Earth Hour Team Captain and I’ve been running with that moniker ever since. My name is Karyn Klaire Koski and my family has lived in Roncesvalles Village for 22 years.

Since 2010, I with other RoncyWorks members – and with the support of the BIA, have encouraged groups of Earth Hour Supporters to walk along Roncesvalles Avenue, in solidarity to represent our community’s voice. There are no protests. It’s just an ever increasing number of friends, families and neighbours, who walk together from the top to the bottom of “Roncy” holding lanterns or candles in jars, in the spirit of the occasion. Along the kilometre and a half stretch we pass candlelit restaurants, bistros and bars who signal their participation by turning off or dimming their lights.

Every year we try to do something a little different in the way of acoustic music, singing, art installations or give aways; and we invite the group to simply enjoy the experience. Many folks continue the celebration afterwards in one of the many participating “powered-down” businesses.

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As more and more people recognize ways to combat climate change, the easier it will be to educate, guide and combine our efforts effectively, when Nationwide guidelines will be put in place. Please join us.

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Saturday March 19th (8:15 pm – 9:30 pm)
* Gather at 8:15 pm at the Dundas Roncesvalles Peace Garden
(near Starbucks at 2201 Dundas West at Roncesvalles), where hot beverages will be offered.

* Walk starts promptly at 8:30 p.m.

* Participants walk along the commercial side of Roncesvalles, 1.8 km.

* Walk concludes at the Roncesvalles Footbridge, near Beaty Boulevard Parkette
(King/Queen/Queensway intersection)

* All disperse by the end of the Globally recognized Hour. Walk takes about 30 min.

Cancelled in the event of heavy rain
Roncy Earth Hour Walk website

Facebook Event

Let’s Plant Trees

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Trees add value to your property and heal the environment

How can we help combat climate change by planning now in January?

Although planting trees won’t stop Climate Change, trees will help to counteract carbon emissions through carbon absorption. Trees serve as the lungs of the planet and of our cities. The City of Toronto aims to increase its tree canopy because it recognizes the significant environmental and community benefits of urban forests. The plan is to plant about 10 million trees by 2050. That’s a lot of trees.

The City will be looking at converting surplus City lands into green spaces and replenishing or modifying streetscapes and city parks. But the majority of the tree planting will come from private land owners and a push is on to to get residents on board. The whole of Roncesvalles Village has seen an increase in the planting of City trees along our streets and it is hoped that land owners will continue planting trees on their properties.

If you have an unobscured space that’s 3 metres by 3 metres, you can plant a tree. Non-profit organizations like LEAF can offer care giving tips and subsidize costs. By re-imagining yard spaces as mini forests with trees and native shrubs, we can increase the value of our homes, outdoor pleasures and help contribute to the health of our community. 

Now’s the time to plan your spring plantings.

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Reimagine your yard as a native treed forest

The City would be a better place with lush plantings, but plan with knowledge and consideration. 

Some kind of an Ethics Policy ought to be established to promote respectful planting. Just as we see people who claim “Natural Garden Exemptions” — in lieu of properly caring for their property — there are those who plant with disregard; such as planting masses of trees along or too closely to property lines without regard to — or even to spite — their neighbours or who plant invasive species like Japanese Knotweed, which is detrimental. Toronto courts have been known to award ownership rights to both parties who share a tree canopy, and programs are being developed to educate people about the problems with non-native plant species, including tips on how to avoid root damage to house foundations. 

It takes a decade to grow a tree into maturity and we simply can’t go back in time. To leave a legacy to the future residents of our community, we must pay it forward now.  

Enjoy dreaming and planning your tree-scape during these winter months.

Want to get involved?

Community Meeting: Making Toronto a Climate Change Leader

Join Ward 13 Councillor Sarah Doucette and Ward 14 Councillor Gord Perks to share your ideas to help Toronto reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to one of the biggest ecological crises of our time, climate change.This event is part of the Talk Transformation! conversations happening throughout the city.

 

Wednesday, January 27th
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton School
1515 Bloor St West at Dundas, 3rd floor Staff Room

LINK~  RSVP to attend