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Thursday, May 2, 2013

Spring Gardens Cleanup Tzu Chi Volunteers

 Volunteer Group helps ready gardens for Spring Tour


With a lot of 'help from our friends', the Tzu Chi Foundation, the BRG is looking good for its annual garden tour on Sunday, May 26, 2013.  The West Toronto chapter, which has adopted this public gardens, spent a Sunday morning in late April weeding, cultivating, and picking up litter and the debris left by winter winds.

 Here are some photos of the work party and some early spring flowers that brightened the day.

Spring cleanup in hosta garden at BRG Port Credit, with Tzu Chi volunteers.
Tzu Chi Volunteers Hosta Garden
The new hosta bed, installed last summer to rejuvenate one of the original beds near the Port Credit sign at Godfreys Lane, needed a lot of weeding. Good soil is a magnet for itinerant weed seeds. Many hands made light work, and the emerging hostas currently have a weed-free bed.

Tzu Chi West Toronto volunteers weed BRG Lakeshore Road West garden bed, Port Credit, ON
660 Lakeshore Road West Bed Spring Clean-up
The plantings along the Lakeshore Road West frontage need lots of work year round, and early spring, when the plants and shrubs are just emerging is a great time to get in to work. This bed is a challenge to maintain at any time.

The land slopes sharply down to Tecumseh Creek, in parts very steep, and that makes it difficult to work in. As well, the bed lies on either side of a guardrail; the area nearest Lakeshore Road W. is prone to damage from winter road maintenance, and year-round litter blowing in or being dropped by passersby. That the bed is adjacent to a naturalizing area means weeds and wildflowers are always trying to get a root-hold.

It's been suggested that the rather unlovely and aging guardrail be replaced with something as effective, but more in keeping with, the design of a public gardens. Currently, day lilies, chrysanthemums and tulips line the street side of the bed, and on the more protected gardens side, there are azaleas, perennials and standard hydrangeas.

Sign at BRG gardens entrance recognizing Tzu Chi work in Port Credit.
Tzu Chi Adopts Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens
A new sign at the parking lot entrance commemorates the work of the Tzu Chi volunteers. The group attends about three times each year, giving proof to the adage of many hands making light work.

This day, about 60 members working three hours each meant 180 man hours of garden work. Other days, up to 120 volunteers have turned out, and, though the number of hours worked per volunteer is lower, the total hours is much higher.

In any event, we cannot thank them enough for their cheerful labour in a public garden, for the benefit of all who visit.

BRG head gardener, Para Kanp, works in hosta garden with Tzu Chi volunteers.
Para Kanp with Tzu Chi Volunteers
Para Kanp, head gardener (left), works with volunteers in the main hosta bed, north of the Rose Garden and west of the garden building, where the hostas are just beginning to emerge.

 Under the trees in the background, rhododendrons and early-blooming azaleas have not yet come into bloom.

Rose Garden gets spring cleanup with help of a young boy volunteer from Tzu Chi, Port Credit.
Young Tzu Chi volunteer in Rose Garden BRG
One of the youngest volunteers gave a good morning's work to weed and tidy the garden beds. Young members are encouraged to learn to appreciate the natural world, and to donate their time in aid of others.

BRG rose garden gets spring cleanup with dozens of Tzu Chi volunteers filling bags with weeds.
Let's Clean Up The Rose Garden: Tzu Chi Volunteers at BRG

David Culham, BRGSC Chair, also worked along with the volunteers.

Culham says, "The group shares laughter and work in equal measure. Separating into different groups, the Tzu Chi group picked up litter on the beach, and weeded the front bed as well as the new hosta bed in the East Garden.

"Another group weeded the peony bed and then turned their attention to the rose beds. More teenagers and very young children came out this year and joined in with the work.

"It is a pleasure for . . .  me to share the morning in many tasks within the BRG."


Heritage rhododendron beds near Brueckner plaque get spring cleaning from volunteers.
BRG Heritage Rhododendron Garden Spring Cleaning
The Heritage Rhododendrons, the legacy of Dr. Brueckner, are not forgotten as volunteers creep under the budding plants to pick litter and weeds.

Earlier this spring, several large decaying trees were removed, which also opened the canopy to let the sun shine in; this should encourage even more blooms on this showcase garden.

Late April first bloom of white azaleas at BRG Port Credit.
Early Azaleas Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens
Overlooking the Lake Ontario shoreline and the waters of Cranberry Cove, an early white-blossomed azalea is one of the first bloomers in the Gardens this spring. In other years, these azaleas, along with the forsythia  (yellow) bloomed in late March.

Magnolias just beginning to open buds, show white flowers, as spring cleanup underway.
Budding magnolias frame Tzu Chi Volunteers at BRG
Early magnolias were just starting to open their fat white buds, framing the volunteers working in the Rose Garden. There are a number of magnolias throughout the Gardens, so keep an eye out to see what's in bloom.

Shy violets bloom at base of tree in late  spring at Brueckner Gardens.
Violets Aren't Shy at BRG Port Credit ON
Clumps of early violets can be spotted this week in the Gardens, like this clump near the north bridge over Tecumseh Creek. Keep watch, too, for the early-blooming primroses along the creek banks.

Other wild plants are not as welcome, as Culham notes:


"Despite being successful over the last six years in reducing our garlic mustard in the BRG, we still have plenty. Removing it will be a big task over the next 30 days. If you can spare the time come out and help."
Early spring time to pull garlic mustard, before it goes to seed.
Garlic Mustard (D.J. Culham photo)
Garlic mustard, when it goes to bloom then seed, sends forth thousands of seeds.  (See More Info here.) If you can help, contact David or Para (details).  It's easiest to remove the plants while they are small. (A side benefit is they go well in green salads or pesto. Search for "garlic mustard recipes" and you are spoiled for choice.)


And even if you cannot attend the Annual Garden Tour from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, May 26, do come out to visit the Gardens this season.

Once the warm weather is here for good, there is always something to see in bloom. And there is much to hear; bird calls and lapping waves, the babbling brook.

 And sometimes, it's just the welcome sound of silence.

1 comment:

Sheila and Keith said...

Great job, Karen. What would this world do without volunteers who give their time and those who write great blogs to tell about it!