I couldn’t believe I was crouching on a green patch, trying to see close up the activities that were happening at ground level. How had the events of the day found me on my knees?
My day had started simply enough, packing flyers in a satchel and coordinating a route in the southwest end of the city for outreach and visiting with faith communities. This was one aspect of the program I appreciated, meeting with gardeners and seeing their labours of love, finding out how they were incorporating aspects of sustainability and supporting the local ecology in their own properties. It was inspiring to see what different approaches faith communities took to outdoor greening and how their sacred spaces linked with the landscapes of their neighbourhoods and supported the communities surrounding their property.
That afternoon I stopped at a pocket of green, a faith community that held on to a rich emerald-hued garden space situated along a wide urbanized road, where large box stores and deep parking lots had changed the once rural landscape. This pocket of green expanded behind their worship building, spreading out under the blue sky with colourful landscaped garden beds and shady tree glades where you could sit in contemplation or offer up a prayer on a wide bench. A quiet cemetery space provided the eye with a horizon of green with lots of activity in the trees and gardens, birds gliding from branches to the ground, from greenery to colourful blooms.
Enjoying the animated space, with the bright birds movements and songs, I lingered and started snapping some photos of the garden flowers, something I had started doing this summer after going on a tour with a partner organization who was documenting local pollinators. And as I walked around the cemetery, I noticed that there was quite a bit of activity at ankle level. The ground cover was not your typical mowed grass but rather many patches of thyme and I had come when it was blooming. And that’s when I noticed similar activity to the birds but on a much smaller scale – the ground was busy with bees.
This is where the inspiration for the Ottawa Chapter’s Winter Sustainable Gardening Webinar series came from.
Gardening is a gateway to connect people with their local environment and appreciate nature. Not only does it connect gardeners directly in the most hands-on way to green spaces, it also connects those who find themselves in proximity to these green spaces. Gardens in urban spaces are valuable to all those who pass by and especially to those who can stop and enjoy them, even for a moment. If a garden can contribute to a resilient ecological cycle and provide healthy habitat for local wildlife it’s doing double or triple the benefit for all. Cities need green spaces but they especially need sustainable green spaces and faith communities are contributing by considering more sustainable and ecological approaches to their gardening practices.
The Ottawa Chapter of FCG wants to help volunteer gardeners this winter by providing ideas and advice on sustainable outdoor greening, so that faith community landscapes can support parishioners with colourful blooms and beautiful spaces while at the same time providing habitat for native birds and bees. With the gardens put to bed and snow on the ground, this is a great time for planning, preparing and dreaming of the next garden season. Join our FREE online webinar series to learn how you can make changes to your gardens in simple and easy ways so that your faith community can welcome these winged species into your gardens also.
The Birds and the Bees of Sustainable Gardening
FREE Online Webinar Series on Sustainable Gardening
4 Webinars via Zoom
Tuesday, January 28th and going to Wednesday, March 11th
w special guest speaker from the
Canadian Wildlife Federation on Wednesday February 26th
All details (including how to sign up) here: