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Nature popping! Outdoor Greening Sacred Spaces: Fact Sheets 4 & 5

Resources. Guides. Nature. Biodiversity. Gardens. Habitat. Pollinators. Vegetables. Community. Biodiversity Day: Building a shared future for all life. Living in harmony with nature.

Developed in 2017 by our Green Sacred Spaces Ottawa chapter, these ten downloadable Outdoor Greening Factsheets cover the following topics:

  1. Sustainable Lawns, Groundcovers and Alternatives 
  2. Landscaping for energy-savings 
  3. Stormwater Management 
  4. Water Conservation and Drought-tolerant Landscaping 
  5. Hedgerows 
  6. Choosing and planting Native Trees & Shrubs 
  7. Wildlife-friendly Garden 
  8. Bird-friendly Garden 
  9. Urban Meadows 
  10. Special Purpose Gardens: Healing, Meditation, Medicine Wheel, Labyrinth Gardens.

In this blog post, we highlight #4 and #5.

Fact sheet 4: Water Conservation and Drought-tolerant Landscaping

Native drought tolerant landscapes are a great option to consider for many different types of landscapes. Native plants are adapted for the climatic zone and local conditions and are more resilient to changes. They will stay green and colourful longer than exotic plants that can have high water demands and/or are not adapted to long hot, dry summers. They offer a lower-maintenance option for both small and large properties to help save water, money and or staff/volunteer time.

Add some drought-tolerant natives to current garden beds.Choose a flower bed that you know has a few drought-tolerant plants already or a bed that has space at one end or another for three to four new native plants. Consider transplanting some water-loving plants out of certain garden beds to make some room for your new xeriscape foliage, especially those that are found on a higher level where runoff is an issue. See Primer for planting tips.

Urban Meadows. Some meadow flowers are drought-tolerant and a unique garden bed or back property area could be converted to an urban meadow if there are some resources and volunteers. An oval or limabean shaped garden bed could be designated for meadow flowers such as Yarrow, Daisy, Goldenrod, Black-eyed Susan, Coneflowers and Asters. To ensure success, use seeds but also plant some as seedlings and include a few mature plants. Do not use “meadow flowers in a packet” from large stores as these can have unwanted exotic plants.

Know your identification for invasives that may already be in the soil such as ragweed, burdock, dog strangling vine and garlic mustard and eliminate these seedlings as they sprout up before they take a firm hold. Review the Urban Meadow Fact Sheet for more details.

Rock gardens. Rock gardens can be an attractive landscape feature, using large stones and small boulders interspersed with ground-cover, flowers and some grasses. Research plants before you introduce them, as they can be hard to eliminate once the roots have taken hold between rocks. Rocks act as heat sinks, taking in the sun’s rays and then radiating it back out once the sun sets which creates a micro-climate for the garden. Some plant suggestions include: Pussytoes, Prairie Smoke, Harebell, Lanceleaf Coreopsis, Moss Phlox, Common Bearberry, Ivory Sedge and Creeping Juniper. Some of these may need a soil that is on the acidic side.

Fact sheet #5: Hedgerows 

Hedgerows are a landscaping option, often overlooked in Canada, other than the familiar cedar hedge. The countryside hedgerow, most well-known as a British feature, could easily be replicated in our suburban or even urban areas. Hedgerows are most often considered as an alternative to a fence but as they can come in many sizes, colours and shapes, they can offer much more than an inanimate enclosure. While they do take time to grow and fill in and can take up more space, if there is room, hedgerows can offer a variety of landscaping effects at varying price points and offer habitat and food for wildlife including birds. They can also be a symbolic Care for Creation addition to faith community landscapes. Hedgerows can offer spring and summer blooms, ripe berries and seeds and even winter interest, instilling hope, comfort and a sense of blessing.

Hedgerows Can Be Used for:

  • Definition to a property border or corner of lawn.
  • A backdrop for a deep yard and/or bare landscaping.
  • A windbreak for congregants movement into building.
  • A low-maintenance option for a sloped area helping with erosion.
  • A linear buffer for buildings to protect from prevailing winds.
  • A sound barrier for noise from high traffic areas or busy locations.
  • Screening for private areas and along property edges.
  • Definition of spaces for infill development.
  • Creation of an outdoor “room” or intimate space.
  • Design of a visual line or corridor to lead visitors to specific areas.
  • A visual transition from tall features such as trees, trellis & vines, buildings to ground level gardens.

Download fact sheet here.

Living in Harmony with Nature

Let your sacred space be an example of your stewardship and commitment for caring for creation. Our many garden resources offer guidance and inspiration to help you learn to live in harmony with nature and restore the sacred balance of the Earth. Learn about sustainable practices for water and energy including xeriscaping, rain gardens, and water-wise strategies with our Outdoor Greening Fact Sheets. Read about the possibilities of turning a section of your faith community property into an ecological haven for wildlife including pollinators such as insects and birds. Get to know more about the benefits of planting native species of grasses, flowers, shrubs, and trees for your new meditation or prayer garden or in your memorial grounds. Click here for more of our gardening resources.


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