by Catherine Smee and Jo-An Davies
Several years ago, the Gardening Ministry at Our Lady of Lourdes persuaded the rectory to remove a grassy extent and create a garden. At first, it was a “no” but in 2022, we were allowed to design it and we adopted the idea of a Canadian Native garden. We began in 2022. In 2023 we received a grant through Donna Lang via TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, and we added native plants.
In fact, we are very fortunate to have gardens that surround the entire perimeter of the Church, the Priests’ residence, and Lourdes Lane. Around our church, we maintain a green and white garden around the statue shrine, a garden of roses around a bower with a shrine, a water garden, native plants around the car parking and a vegetable container.
In 2022, we hoped for a place for native plants in front of the Priests’ residence. We were encouraged to create a native plant garden.
While designing the garden, we looked at areas that were both sunny and had light shade, and selected our plants. In 2022, we worked with Bees for Peace, (https://www.beesforpeace.org/) selecting specific plants that loved bees and we built a bee house.
We also planted an Eastern Redbud. We selected native plants for each season.
In 2023 Spring, we began to find native plants. By June we had Penstemon Hairy beardtongue and Wild Bergamot.
Below left to right: Wild Pink (Silene caroliniana), Oxeye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and Violets (Viola sororia).
In summer, we planted Liatris spectata - Dense blazing star, Echinacea pallida - Pale purple coneflower, Echinacea piñata - grey handed coneflower, and Heliopsis helianthoides - Oxeye sunflower.
In Fall we saw, Helianthus divaricatus - Woodland Sunflower, Anaphalis margaritacea - Pearly everlasting, Solidago rigida - Stiff goldenrod Solidago and Asclepias incarnata -common milkweed – see below.
In 2024, we hope to continue to create the massy flowering garden. We plan to encourage children to visit us at a class at mass. We labelled every plant and will talk to members of the church and neighbours, encouraging them to know about plants: most successful and most enjoyable.
We would like to give thanks to TD Friends of the Environment Foundation, Donna Lang, Faith & the Common Good for funding our 2023 garden and Scott's Canada, for donating free soil and mulch.