2022 is the Year of the Garden

Welcome to our first GREEN Waves e-newsletter of 2022.

Meet two of the Green Wave team

Debora Kuchme is the green brain behind the Bayview Pixies and someone who is as passionate about sustainable balcony planting in high rises as she is the green possibilities in low rise neighbourhoods. She is also a native plants and pollinator gardening advocate.

Jane Auster (Co-President of SEDRA) has participated in a number of Tree for Me events, helping to build up Davisville Village’s green canopy by distributing native saplings and showing residents how to plant and care for them. She is also involved in local new park development in Davisville Village. Stay tuned for a new park next to the Art Shoppe condos!

We are passionate about the possibilities of making a difference in our local environment. We also welcome more green team members. Interested in joining and getting your hands dirty, in a good way? Contact Green Waves.

It’s the Year of the Garden!  How will you celebrate?

How will you celebrate the Year of the Garden?

The Year of the Garden 2022 is a nationwide and yearlong celebration to commemorate Canada’s rich garden heritage, celebrate today’s vibrant garden culture and create important legacies for a more sustainable future. This is the first event of its kind in the world and we need to make it special.

Are you ready to celebrate?  

Whether you have a landscaped yard, a balcony garden, a green thumb or a brown one, we are all invited to participate and celebrate Canada’s rich garden heritage.

Not sure how to participate?

  • Plant Red throughout the year and show your Canadian pride. No need to limit yourself to geraniums and petunias. Think outside the box with red onions, red cabbage, red potatoes – you get the idea.
  • Be Creative! The Year of the Garden is about inspiring and encouraging Canadians to plant gardens in their life – at home, at work, at schools and in their community.

Let’s make the Year of the Garden 2022 a beautiful year to remember!

Balcony and container gardens for beginners

You can create an urban oasis on a balcony.

Balcony gardens can play a major role in helping us to restore our lack of natural biodiversity and now, more than ever, every single plant on every balcony matters! 

Simply by growing some fruits and vegetables (along with some essential native florals), you can create a balcony garden that will help attract and feed our pollinators.  And by growing a single dwarf tree, some evergreens or even a few ferns, a balcony garden can help to clean and filter our polluted air.  

But it’s not easy gardening in the sky, and some of the challenges might even seem hopeless for beginners. Don’t let anything get you down or deter you from enjoying your very own sky garden because any balcony can support at least a few plants. You just need to understand the rules of the building and your own microclimate. Aside from that, the possibilities are almost endless.

Simple tips to green up a ‘problem’ balcony

No sun? No problem! A shady balcony can easily become a cool green oasis. Think ferns and native plants that thrive on the forest floor. Try hostas that are easy to overwinter outdoors in containers or begonias that you can bring inside during the winter. Or simply bring some of your indoor plants outside. Even if they are sun-loving plants, they will thank you for a summer holiday in the shade with fresh air and humidity.  -Your orchids will bloom again, too!

Too much sun! A sunny balcony might seem like the ideal space for growing absolutely everything until you watch your plants bake and burn. Choose plants that can take the heat, such as lavender, day lilies, and sedums. Everything else will require a lot more work and attention with constant watering, fertilizing and even the need to provide occasional shade.

Wild winds!  Strong winds are perhaps the most challenging of all for sky gardens…..especially above the eighth floor. This is where microclimates change drastically. But no matter how high your balcony is, it’s not higher than a mountain. Think alpine plants. These are the plants that thrive in high altitudes with extreme conditions and they can survive on your balcony too. Plants such as Creeping Thyme, Primula, Campanula, Dianthus and Sedums are just a few of the many to choose from. You can even grow some evergreens like cedars and pines.

As you can see, there is no reason to have a lifeless balcony. Is there? Give it a go!    

Need some help and inspiration on balcony gardening? Check out Toronto Balconies Bloom at torontourbangrowers.org where you will find everything you need to get started and more!

Check out this urban garden!

Here’s an example of a balcony garden right here in the city

THE JUMPING WORM IS BACK! Are you ready?

The jumping worm is back!

We wrote about these invasive species last year and it looks like they’re making a comeback this Spring. Jumping worms can be distinguished from other invasive earthworms by a collar-like band around their bodies. They can reach a length of 10 to 13 centimetres. According to the Ontario Invasive Species Centre, these invasive worms “outcompete other earthworms and their castings degrade soil quality, leaving it inhospitable to many native plant species and susceptible to increased erosion.”

Top tips to keep these invaders from your garden:

  • Avoid transporting soils, leaves, mulch and compost to different areas
  • Wash the treads of your vehicles and shoes when moving from one area to another.

Learn more.

We heard it through the GW grapevine

Need help harvesting your veggies? Want to donate your garden to growers?

We heard recently from a SEDRA member who had such a bounty of vegetables growing in her garden last year that she needed help harvesting since she had so many veggies to spare.

Here’s what she wrote: “We would like to give our backyard over to someone who has no private gardening space of his own. …We’d like to give our garden to someone who would like it to grow vegetables.”  

Does this sound like you? If you think you might have extras, let us know. Or…if you are someone who would like to enjoy some of this bounty, grow and harvest, let us know. We’ll do an email exchange and match up growers with eager recipients…and keep the bounty in the neighbourhood. Let us know at GreenWaves.

Resources to get you in the mood

1. Project Swallowtail

Project Swallowtail is a collaborative effort to connect communities street by street and empower residents to restore nature in Toronto.

For more information on Project Swallowtail and how to get involved, contact Pete Ewins at pjewins1@gmail.com

Or join on Facebook.

2. Green Neighbours Network Toronto

Green Neighbours Network is a grassroots community network of people and groups helping to make Toronto neighbourhoods across the City of Toronto and the GTA greener, healthier, and more sustainable.

To get involved.

3. Toronto Urban Growers

In 2008, a series of meetings between Toronto city staff, urban growers and organizations working on urban agriculture led to the identification of some common issues in the field. These included: training, land access, enabling policies and opportunities to share knowledge and resources through networking. In order to address these issues, participants agreed to establish a network under the name of Toronto Urban Growers (TUG) in January 2009. Since then, TUG has promoted knowledge exchanges between urban growers via gatherings, webinars, tours, a website and an online forum. 

Learn more.

Native Tree Giveaway

Want to help restore our lack of biodiversity?  The City of Toronto does too and has partnered with Cliffcrest Butterflyway to host a native tree giveaway on April 23rd. You can order two free native trees to plant in your garden that are well-suited to our urban environment.  Check out their website to see a list of available trees and shrubs along with photos and important information about each species and where they are best suited. You can simply fill out and order form or contact plantmorenativeplants@gmail.com if you have any questions. Species of the trees/shrubs are subject to availability and may change or be substituted. Order deadline is Thursday, April 7, 2022 at 11:59 pm.   

Learn more 

Neighbourhood Tree Giveaway Program

If you miss the April 7 deadline, no worries. Not Far From The Tree will be hosting a FREE Native tree and shrubs giveaway on Saturday, May 7th from 8 am to 1 pm  at the Evergreen Brickworks. Again, the City of Toronto will provide all of the trees, which are native to Toronto and suited to our urban environment. And there are no limitations on how many plants each individual may take home! But they do request that you have the appropriate growing space to allow for a healthy tree or shrub to grow to maturity and that you can provide the plants with good care. A full list of available trees and shrubs is on their website where you can RSVP for your FREE  Native Trees!

Learn more

Let’s plant more native trees to help grow and nurture a greener community!