Tuesday, November 15, 2011

High School Students HELP Garden Grow

Students in the Humanitarian Experiential Leadership Program (H.E.L.P.) at Archbishop Romero made Brueckner Rhododendron Garden (BRG) their classroom on Thursday, September 22. Students and teacher worked with Garden volunteer David Culham to assist in transplanting dozens of Helianthus 'Lemon Queen'.

Students transplanting Lemon Queen
Lemon Queen is a perennial sunflower that provides a tall, bright-yellow show in late summer and early fall. The goal is to divide these sunflowers, then transplant them to border areas. These border areas tend to become invaded by thorny thistles that are difficult to control.

Lemon Queen in situ BRG West Garden
 The students began their morning's work learning about 'Lemon Queen' (yellow, lower left in photo) in the west area of the Garden near parking lot entrance. Presently, thistle seed from these areas blows into established garden beds, and many hours of scratchy weeding is needed to remove it. As thistle and other weeds are removed, Lemon Queen (and other wildflowers or perennials) is planted.

Preparing to Transplant Lemon Queen
 Mature sunflower plants are pruned back then dug up and placed in pots prior to moving to new location. Lemon Queen is hardy and fast growing, and provides an ongoing source of new plants for 'free'.  David has been instrumental in volunteering his time and effort in relocating many wildflowers and perennials into heretofore bare and weedy areas. This class is another form of volunteering to expand and improve the Garden. See also Volunteers Archbishop Romero Sept 2010.

Perennial Bed BRG Main Entrance
A large stand of Lemon Queen located in the Perennial Bed located between the Garden office building and the parking lot was one of several plantings selected to be pruned, divided and potted.  September is one of the best times of year to divide and transplant perennials; happily, this time frame coincides with the availability of these students.

Pots of Lemon Queen ready for transplanting
 Plastic pots originally filled with nursery plants are used to hold Lemon Queen between uprooting and re-planting. These individual pots also make it easier to lay out and space plants prior to transplanting.

Lemon Queen Along Waterfront Trail near Lakeshore Road
 Still damp with dew, mature Lemon Queen are cut back prior to digging and dividing. The plantings shown in the above photo are located along the Waterfront Trail west of Tecumseh Creek that divides the West and East gardens.

Students South Bridge at Lake Ontario
 Nearly done their morning's class work, students head across Tecumseh Creek south bridge. Over the past several years, City staff and volunteers have been beautifying this area in the south east garden near the outlet of Tecumseh Creek into Lake Ontario. This south bridge is the main access from Godfreys Lane south entrance to the BRG, and as such, is seen by many visitors. Lemon Queen is a great addition to this area.

Planting Lemon Queen East Garden
This natural area is in the East Garden backing onto Godfreys Lane and close to Lakeshore Road. The border of this natural area was first cleared and tilled in preparation for new plants. The planting area is marked with stones as a temporary measure to alert lawn cutting crews that new plants are located here.

As the Lemon Queen grows next season, and becomes established, these rocks will be removed.

Over the past few years, City of Mississauga staff, with help of volunteers where and when possible, have 'moved mountains' to bring this once-neglected park into its position as Mississauga's first designated public garden, with one of Canada's largest rhododendron collections; A true showplace for the 'rhodies' and a year-round Garden for visitors and residents alike.

Thanks to Archbishop Romero HELP class for 'helping' the Garden grow!

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