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Pandemic Planting

Guest blog by Elaine McKee

In the hour when the Holy one, blessed be He, created the first man, He took him and let him pass before all the trees of the Garden of Eden and said to him: "See my works, how fine and excellent they are!
Now all that I have created, for you have I created. Think upon this and do not corrupt and desolate My world, for if you corrupt it, there is no one to set it right after you." 

Congregation Darchei Noam is a Reconstructionist* synagogue in Toronto with a strong commitment to the environment. When we moved into our building thirteen years ago, an extensive renovation was required. We used the best energy efficient and eco-friendly technologies and materials available at the time; and installed solar panels on the roof. 

During the pandemic the building had to be closed; a perfect opportunity to turn our attention to the sunny strip fronting the building. The bed was choked with weeds and tough invasive miscanthus grasses. With the support of our friends at Faith and the Common Good, a small group of volunteers came together to transform the bed into a home for beautiful pollinator-friendly native plants.

IMG_0207.jpgSolarizing the ground

IMG_0399.jpgPlanting the garden

The process began in March 2021 when the group solarized the area to prevent the re-emergence of the grasses. In June we turned over half the length of the bed. We added a layer of leaf mulch followed by a generous layer of rich organic soil. We put in Wild Lupine, Wild Bergamot, Foxglove Beardtongue, Yellow and Purple Coneflower and a Milkweed. We cared for the new plants, keeping them watered, weeded and mulched. The plants are flourishing; looking very happy and healthy. 

IMG_0401.jpgTaking care of the garden

Happy gardeners

Darchei Noam is proud to be one of a number of local interfaith communities to create a network of pollinator gardens. We are now preparing the second half of the bed for planting in 2022. We hope to receive another grant from Faith and the Common Good, allowing us to complete the front garden in 2022.

We are grateful to Scotts Canada for their generous donation of their “Nature’s Own” organic soil and TD Friends of the Environment for funding our garden.

*Reconstructionist Judaism combines a deep respect for tradition with a willingness to embrace change to bring our beliefs and values more in line with contemporary society.

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