Already known as the ‘City of Gardens,’ Victoria officially proclaimed the year of the garden as council approved two new community growing spaces.
Council also proclaimed June 18 Garden Day, part of a national celebration of everything garden, led by the Canadian Garden Council.
“Victoria is proud to be a garden-friendly city and is known for its amazing plant and flower displays, progressive urban food initiatives and innovative horticultural practices that help our community adapt to a changing climate,” Mayor Lisa Helps said in a news release.
Greater Victoria’s year-round mild coastal climate makes gardening a passion and now residents in the Vic West and South Jubilee neighbourhoods can get their hands dirty while adding to local food security.
In Vic West, the Orca Rescue Society and area residents will build and maintain a community garden in Alston Green. The space will include allotment beds, food trees and common areas planted with native and pollinator plants. It aims to promote local food security through access to plots and demonstration gardens while also raising awareness about resident orca whales.
South Jubilee Neighbourhood Association volunteers will create and maintain a community garden in Redfern Park. The design includes curved demonstration beds, food trees and commons gardens planted with edible perennials, native and pollinator plants. Other features include an accessible pathway and seating areas, wayfinding and educational signage, a picnic table, and a pergola with a living roof and an arbour.
To mark the year of the garden, Victoria hosts a series of gardening education events starting in March with workshops about growing food, starting seeds indoors, and fruit tree pruning.
Council also approved new grant guidelines to manage funding for community garden start-ups, volunteer coordinators, micro-grants, and a service grant.
Start-up grants prioritize supporting neighbourhoods without existing community gardens, higher population density neighbourhoods, and the development of new allotment gardens. Applications generally open in September and are issued in December.
Community gardens are on public or private land and are maintained by the community in partnership with a non-profit organization. Community gardening activities include the production of food plants, native and ornamental plants, pollinator gardens, permaculture projects, fruit and nut trees, demonstrations, and other edible and floral landscapes. Anyone interested in starting a community garden can file an expression of interest by June 1.
Visit victoria.ca/growinginthecity to learn more about the programs.
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