Katherine Forster

Faith & the Common Good (FCG) is a national environmental NGO that works with faith and spiritual communities in their efforts to become more “ecological.” The local Ottawa FCG chapter has been promoting sustainable and ecological gardening for the past few years and was thrilled to partner up with Wild Pollinator Partners this summer to identify faith communities that were eager to support pollinators and add more native plants to their gardens.

The donated plants from WPP and the Fletcher Wildlife Garden found new homes at five Ottawa urban and suburban properties. Here are some details about each.

St. Barnabas Catholic Church on James Street is a downtown property with some beautiful ornamental garden beds along the sidewalk. It provides lovely colour along a busy city street, and they have now added asters, Black-eyed Susans, Cup-plants, and other natives.

All Saints Anglican Church in Westboro designed a shady courtyard garden that has become a community amenity along Richmond Road where many people enjoy sitting on the benches and relaxing by the garden beds. Here, Pearly Everlastings have been added along with Spotted Beebalm and other native flowers.

Nodding Onions set out to be planted in this sunny area next to St. Columba Anglican Church

St. Columba Anglican Church, on Sandridge Road in Manor Park, is close to the Aviation Parkway and has a large property shaded in the front by maple trees.  Heart-leaved Asters and native Columbines have been placed in the shady garden beds.

Thanksgiving event at Sheng Shen Prayer Garden

Sheng Shen Catholic Church, on Michael Street near St. Laurent mall, wanted to add some pollinator plants to support their community garden and prayer space.  Their additions include Wild Bergamot, Yarrow, and Grass-leaved Goldenrod.

Round garden at the side of Orleans United Church

Orleans United Church, on Orleans Blvd close to Bilberry Creek, is situated on an extensive lot with a tree-lined entrance and various garden beds on all sides of the church. Their new biodiversity prayer garden will include Grey-headed Coneflowers, asters, Yarrow, and Golden Alexander, and they have also added some native shade plants to their current beds.

Most religions and spiritual philosophies encourage caring for the earth and the common good. Ottawa’s FCG Sustainable Garden Network supports local communities in their outdoor greening efforts to manage stormwater, conserve water, avoid chemicals, such as neonicotinoids, and plant more native trees, shrubs, and flowers. There are great examples of prayer and meditation gardens in the city that support wildlife, including pollinators, and we are happy to see more being created each year. Thanks to Wild Pollinator Partners for their generous support!

Katherine Forster is the Ottawa animator with Faith and the Common Good. She has also worked with Friends of Petrie Island, where she led its native flora program and co-organized a tour of native plant gardens in our region for Garden Days 2015.

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