by Joanne Butler and Sandy Garland
To quote a Facebook post from Melanie Ouellette, “Good things happen when caring people work together.” That applies to this project of the Ottawa Wildflower Seed Library(OWSL), who just entered an agreement with the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre (RRCRC) to plant a pollinator strip along the side of the old Rideau Highschool building at the site. The RRCRC is a community hub and has good OC Transpo access. The centre’s services are for residents of Rideau-Rockcliffe ward, but as with all community centres, the building and grounds are open to the public.
The RRCRC is the home of Social Harvest, a social enterprise that includes a community garden. Social Harvest already planned to have a pollinator garden to help with food plant pollination. Both RRCRC and Social Harvest were keen to collaborate with OWSL. RRCRC and Social Harvest staff and volunteers gave several OWLS members a tour of the site a few weeks back. Social Harvest had prepared two long pollinator strips along walls near the raised food garden beds. Those strips are able to hold at least 200 native plants. The meeting was a friendly beginning to what we all hope will continue to be a mutually beneficial collaboration.
And this week (early July), another great group of people, the volunteers at the Fletcher Wildlife Garden (FWG), made the very generous decision to donate hundreds of native seedlings for planting at the Social Harvest site. For those who are not familiar with the FWG, it is located beside the Dominion Arboretum at the Central Experimental Farm. It was established by the Ottawa Field Naturalists Club (OFNC) and run by that club and other volunteers. Yesterday, Christina Keys and I met with Catherine Shearer and Sandy Garland of the FWG. Catherine and Sandy gave us guidance on the native plants that will work well in the sunny, dryish conditions of the pollinator strips. In the coming weeks OWSL members and, most likely, volunteer and community members with Social Harvest will install the plants.
In fall 2023, the wildflower border is flourishing. In fact, many plants can now be divided and take on pollinator duties elsewhere.