Sunday, August 28, 2011

Tzu Chi Volunteers at BRG: Roses, Waterfront, Rhododendrons

Volunteers from Tzu Chi West Toronto Office cultivated the Rose Garden, cleaned up the Lake Ontario waterfront, and tended rhododendron and azalea beds on Saturday August 28, 2011.

Here are some pictures of this much appreciated group of volunteers who make such a difference to the look and health of the BRG garden beds.

Tzu Chi West Toronto at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden
Early yesterday morning, about 65 Tzu Chi West Toronto members (teens to seniors) gathered at Brueckner Rhododendron Garden, ready to begin a morning's work as volunteer gardeners. The sign in the left foreground marks their participation in the City of Mississauga's 'Litter Not' program, with the BRG as their special project.

What began a few years ago as a Garden and Lakeshore litter pick-up has grown into working in the rest of the Garden as well. Several times each year, members of Tzu Chi come out to the Garden, doing whatever tasks Para Kanp, BRG head gardener, asks of them. Their work in the Garden is just one of many philanthropic projects for this busy group.

Tzu Chi West Toronto in Rose Garden
The volunteers split into three groups. One group worked in the Rose Garden. Though the roses had been weeded a few weeks earlier, hot summer days encouraged weed growth as well as rose growth. Behind the fence, you will see another group who worked in the Heritage Rhododendron garden.

Tzu Chi Volunteers at Heritage Rhododendron Garden
Here's another look at the second Tzu Chi group working in the heritage rhododendron beds behind the split rail fence. The third group can be seen at the gazebo as they get ready to walk over the hill to clean up litter and debris on the Lake Ontario shore line.

Lake Ontario Shoreline Clean Up Tzu Chi Group
Here's a closer look at the Tzu Chi group busy cleaning up the western part of the BRG lake shore. Lake Ontario has high water levels due to summer rains, so to get around the large rock breakwater, this group had to walk back up the steep bank to continue with the clean up of the eastern area.

Rhododendron Azalea Bed Clean Up
Their cultivating and weeding in the Heritage Garden completed, this group of Tzu Chi volunteers moved across the garden trail to work in the hillside rhodo and azalea beds that overlook the Rose Garden. Morning mists lend an ethereal look to this shady hillside.

Rose Garden Tended by Tzu Chi West Toronto
Behind a large pile of weeds and pruned rose canes (lower right, photo), Tzu Chi volunteers work steadily in the Rose Garden. After the rose garden weeding, there were about a dozen of these large weed piles waiting to be removed by City staff.

Para Kanp (right), David Culham Thank Tzu Chi West Toronto
Para Kanp (far right), and David Culham, chair of BRG Stewardship Committee (BRGSC) (shown here standing near white pail) thanked the Tzu Chi group for their hard work, done cheerfully. He expressed appreciation for their contribution to the overall appearance and health of the Garden, and applauds their giving back to their communties.

Tzu Chi accomplished in a few hours what would take a few volunteers several days, he said, adding, "Many hands do indeed make light work." 

Tzu Chi West Toronto is a fine example of the volunteerism and community participation that are hallmarks of Canadian society, said Culham.

BRG Mixed Bed Rose Garden Before Weeding
Here''s a picture of the Mixed Bed in the Rose Garden before Saturday's weeding. Though weeded only a few weeks earlier, the soil is barely visible through the prolific weeds.

BRG Rose Bed After Weeding
Here's the same Mixed Rose Bed after Tzu Chi completed weeding and cultivating. This is great preparation for fall compost and in-fill rose planting in the Rose Garden. (The dark lines on top of the soil in the photo are drip irrigation lines.)

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Rose with Japanese Beetles
The volunteers noted the presence of Japanese beetles, shown here on Tess of the D'urbervilles red roses. Where possible, these beetles were hand picked. Persistent beetle control seems to be making a difference, as many healthy buds are evident.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles Red Rosebud Blooming
With the weed removal and cultivation, it's hoped the Rose Garden will continue to attract visitors over the coming months as Summer moves into Fall.

Thanks again to Tzu Chi West Toronto Office for another job well done!

Read how to volunteer at BRG here.

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