Much as I hate to leave Lanark County (which is about as close to paradise as I want to be), I did make a couple of forays into the heart of Ottawa last week to lead workshops on organic vegetable gardening. In both Centretown and Lowertown I was happy to find small community gardens that were oases of calm in the midst of frenetic city life.
Following are some photos from the Victory Garden in a courtyard of Beaver Barracks, a complex of five buildings a stone’s throw south of the Museum of Nature. It features some small in-ground allotments, some very new wheelchair designed gardening boxes, a kid’s playground featuring natural materials, community fruit trees and strawberries and a cleverly designed composting system.
This complex is owned by Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation, a private not-for-profit landlord. They build and manage mixed rental housing which includes a range of apartment sizes and provide homes to a mix of people, including students, seniors, families and singles. They include accessible housing and supportive housing for people with mental health and addictions issues. They have 1500 homes and have been in business for over forty years.
And they are serious supporters of gardening with over 100 planter box gardens on the rooftops of buildings across Ottawa, fully landscaped extensive rooftops at eight properties and they host three community gardens.
The support for gardening extends to the employment of a Garden Facilitator with a background in horticulture studies. His job is to engage tenants in kitchen gardening and to help care for their common area landscapes. He is able to provide tenants with advice, tools and resources – which fortunately for me also includes bringing in outside speakers.