When it’s wet and cold out, it’s hard to feel motivated to spend time in the garden. Besides, why head to the garden when hardly anything yummy is growing and the bulbs are safely tucked away beneath the soil?
Many children are full of curiosity about local wildlife. A colder winter provides a great opportunity to model compassion for all creatures, from poorly housed humans to birds and insects looking for safety in this unusual weather, and to learn about what we can do to support animals, birds and insects during these darker months of the year. This article provides five fun ideas that are easy to try out in your neighbourhood, and gives you an excuse to let the morning glory do all the growing in can over the winter.
Did you know Maple Community Gardens is home to a bunch of plots managed to grow food to donate to soup kitchens in Vancouver? All this good karma is making for prolific spring growing. Last week Kate and Rosemary did a food drop, and this week the section 7 soup kitchen plot was so full of food we had to do another trip! Yesterday we delivered 5 plastic bags bursting with kale and chard. Thanks to Sarah for her help watering the plot and Dana for doing yesterday’s food run to the Union Gospel Mission. Let’s keep this going!
Flory is a night fairy. When a bat mistakenly bites off her wings she falls into a human garden, makes her home in an abandoned wooden bird house, and re-births herself as a day fairy. No bigger than an acorn, she learns to live with the birds and squirrels, fashions herself dresses of flower petals and learns to feed herself by collecting seeds and fruit she finds in the garden. The Night Fairy, by Laura Amy Schlitz is a lovely story of a strong-willed and brave little garden fairy. It has become one of our favourite books.
Inspired by her story, today we built homes for fairies in the children’s garden—only two little houses today, but it’s just the beginning of spring. There is plenty of room in the community garden for you to join us in building fairy habitats. As you can see, one of the homes has already attracted a friendly miniature giraffe.
Hurray! It’s spring in the children’s garden. The tulips we planted last fall are poking out of the soil. Yesterday we thinned the carrot patch and Talulah pronounced the small carrots delicious. The chives and kale are tasting yummy too.
Big news: Talulah, Charlotte and Amanda built a beautiful mosaic path out of found pieces of tile and brick. It was their own creation—they developed the whole project in one day without adult help. The children’s garden is a big square and so the mosaic path will allow the kids to garden and play without as much small plant squashing. So far one side of the path is veggies: kale, carrots and snap peas; the other side is flowers and herbs.
Decorating is as much fun as planting seeds. Here are a few additions from yesterday.
This year the children will caring for a soup kitchen garden. This is a great opportunity for the kids to be involved in community service, growing food to donate to someone who really needs the vegetables. Hopefully this will be lots of fun as well. Next week we will be digging to amend the soil and then start planting food. We will hopefully have a kids work party within the next two weeks to dig and plant in the soup kitchen plot.
We look forward to seeing you in the garden. Connect with Krista to join children’s garden activities. Happy planting.
We are moving forward with the children’s garden in spite of the threat by CPR. Thanks to Kaboodles for donating bubbles, bubble wands, and bubble soap for yesterday’s garden party. We have some bubble soap left so you can come blow bubble with us at the next children’s event, which will be announced August 1.
More and more people are signing the petition to the Mayor to keep the Arbutus Corridor green. On Friday, gardeners from Maple and Pine Community Gardens delivered 3,571 petitions to City Hall. This followed a delivery mid month of almost 500. At today’s count, an additional 1,185 people have signed the online petition. Further, hundreds of people came by the sign the petition during yesterday’s garden party.
Although this threat to the community gardens is causing tremendous heart ache and fear, we have rallied against this challenge and grown stronger and more connected as a community. Gathering this many signatures in only two weeks time is a tremendous accomplishment for a local group that underscores not only how much Vancouverites value this beautiful and unique green space, but also how much hard work our gardeners put into protecting it. A special thanks goes out to Cheryl, Mothé, Karen and Rosemary from Maple Community Gardens, Maureen from Cypress, and Julie from Pine for helping to gather so many signatures. Thanks also Dan from Maple and Gabriel from Nature Spirit Garden for creating videos to help raise awareness about the petition, the gardens and the threat to this green space.
Julie dropping off the latest batch of petitions at City Hall
watch Dan’s video
watch Gabriel’s video
There are hundreds of us gardeners maintaining little pockets of beauty along the corridor. Historically, I think each us has developed friendships and pulled into our community people gardening close by, people we meet at work parties every month. This initiative to protect the gardens has motivated many of us to get to know gardeners in neighbouring gardens, and all along the corridor. We building a stronger community with every conversation.
In case you haven’t yet signed the petition or shared it with your friends, here is the link to sign the online petition.
Resisting the destruction of the community gardens is making us stronger. Let’s stay strong and hopeful.
Over the last few days there have a been some media attention on the issue of evicting gardeners and reactivating the corridor for train use.
1. Vancouver Sun Editorial: Arbutus line should remain green for now
Until both sides stop squabbling, gardens must stay.
Excerpt from the editorial:
“CP Rail and the city of Vancouver should step up negotiations on the future of the Arbutus Corridor and avoid punishing residents for the failure of government and the company to reach a compromise.”
Such ‘encumbrances,’ as CP labels [the gardens], contribute greatly to the charm of the area that bisects quiet residential neighbourhoods. The community gardens, some beautifully creative and well tended, also help bring people together in a city teeming with sometimes lonely newcomers and condo dwellers.”
2. Joyce Murray, Vancouver Quadra MP wrote to CP Rail asking the CEO to cancel evictions of community gardeners and work with community to find a more satisfactory way forward. Read her letter as reprinted in the Georgia Straight.
Excerpt from her letter:
“The July 31st deadline for clearing the gardens is unreasonable and will waste the work that has been invested in this season’s garden production. The corporation’s decision to issue notices to remove gardens and sheds, without adequate time to make other arrangements, appears to be a thoughtless one that fails to meet the standards of good corporate citizenship.”
3. A Maple Community Gardens member shares her perspective in the City Farmer News.
Excerpt from Deirdre Phillips’ letter:
“…our gardens are a very important element of our city and community on so many levels. The City of Vancouver, regardless of the administration in charge, has made community gardens one of the top priorities in our urban environment as part of the overall City plan. Our members and gardens provide food security and beauty to our neighbourhood, along with a chance for all passerby’s to interact with the natural world giving a respite from the concrete jungle and the daily grind of modern living. I cannot tell you how many people over the years have expressed their delight and gratitude to what we have created here.
… Do you really want destroying our community gardens to be your legacy?”
Remember to sign the petition to ask the Mayor to act to protect the gardens!