The Bain Co-op Beautification Project Nears Completion
Volunteers play an important part within the Toronto Community Garden Network (TCGN). They often get their hands dirty and learn about gardening by helping individual community gardens. They also help within the framework of the committees that operate and support the TCGN.
The Slope allowed flooding to happen to the walking area and the buildings
In May of this year (2009) Dagmar Baur sent a message to the TCGN requesting some help to restore Sparkhall Avenue, an area of the Bain Co-Op that had been neglected. The Community wanted to plant that area with more native plants. Some would be taken from existing gardens and some would be purchased or donated to their project. The TCGN set about helping Dagmar find some of the needed volunteers. Please see Beautification Project
Members of the Co-op at 100 Bain Ave. have a variety of community gardens. Some grow vegetables, and others grow Native Plant Species -- of which many are endangered. Dagmar has been facilitating resources for many years, and has worked hard to preserve many of Ontario's native plants.
In July, the Bain Beautification project officially began with the help of its funders The Clean and Beautiful City Secretariat (www.toronto.ca), and the Carrot Cache (www.carrotcommon.com), . Paula Fletcher, Tor. Councillor also supported the project.
The Slope has been changed into a sturdy three tiered stone wall, that was constructed to hold mulch and a variety of native flowers
Many people, Co-op members, the staff, and summer students Nathan Mantle and Yukon Damov, stepped up to help. There were also two groups of teenaged students from the Royal Ontario Museum Leadership Programme, and individual volunteers procured through the TCGN website with the help of Susan Berman of the Perth Dupont Community Garden. In total there were about 50 volunteers.
Volunteer assistance came in many forms, from many people: Those who showed up for meetings to give direction and good feedback, or potted up plants for transplanting, to those that did the physical labor of weeding and then moving the soil from the slope. Others spread triple-mix and placed mulch, or did the delicate planting of the endangered native plants. It was all integral to the completion of the project and much appreciated.
Sparkhall needed, first of all, to be cleaned up and restored. There were some garden areas that needed to be filled with native plants and shrubs, including tall Solomon's Seal, polygonatum, and the beautiful native Eastern Woodland Sedges, carex blanda,that will stay green for most of the winter and hosts the Gray Skipper Butterfly. Secondly, it was required to slow down the water run-off to the buildings by decreasing the slope and putting in plants and mulching around the existing trees to help them retain moisture. (For a full description of the project and a list of the plants see the "Beautification Project".)
A sturdy three tiered stone wall was constructed to hold mulch and a variety of native flowers. A lot of thought went into the selection of plants to be used. Some are edible, some are medicinal, most are endangered species. These plants are comfortable in shade and dryer conditions although they require a lot of watering now because it s a fall planting and the roots need to take hold before the frost sets in. Some signage to identify the various plants, is planned for the Spring as well as the addition of a few more varieties of flowers.
Dagmar Baur, a community gardener living in the Co-op led the greening initiatives and received a personal award by the City of Toronto for "Lifetime Achievement in Gardening", and she has arranged for the care of these naturalized areas. Now that the project is done, members from the courtyards adjoining the restoration have taken over the weeding, watering, and maintenance.
Here are three stages of part of the Slope that was reshaped and filled with mulch and native plants. This is right across the street from the "The Toronto Healthy House". The Picture on the far right was taken Oct 2nd. '09, during a heavy rain. Zora Ignjatovic, the photographer was really happy to see that there was no flooding.
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Content last modified on November 18, 2009, at 03:35 AM EST