The Need to Seed

The Wildflower group had an exciting event happen recently- WE BOUGHT OUR WILDFLOWER SEEDS- YAY! Not only does this mean we are that much closer to planting the garden but also we are that much closer to actually having the garden grow. Lauren and Tokio made the exciting trip to Ojibway Nature Centre to purchase the seeds. Some of the reasons we chose to buy the seeds from Ojibway Nature Centre were: extremely affordable prices ($2.50/seed canister), the seeds are harvested from plants and flowers that grow in Ojibway Nature reserve and it supports a local environment and establishment. Unfortunately two types of seeds that we were really looking forward to having grow in the garden were not available-Wild Bergamot and Butterfly Milkweed. We were hoping to grow these because they are known to attract butterflies. Oh well, it gives us something to plan for next time. Next step…PLANTING! Stay tuned…

The seeds we purchased from Ojibway Nature Centre

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Martha’s Magic Minerals

A few weeks back, during class, Noel Harding handed the Wildflower group a jar of magical minerals. He told us that if we sprinkled the minerals onto the soil where our garden was going to be that it would nourish the land and help our garden grow. When asked where they were from and what they were made of, he pointed us in the direction of his friend and donor of the minerals, Martha Gay Scroggins, co-ordinator of the Guelph Centre for Urban Organic Farming. Martha’s instructions and words of wisdom were “…The minerals consist of over 60 micro nutrients in a fine ground powder… they are sourced from Global Minerals and this product is called “Rama Rock”…They will last for years in the soil and can be returned to soil by leaving vegetative matter in fall and not removing- or composting…they are primarily used to increase plants immunity in organic food production systems…they must be watered in — do not leave on soil to dry out- best to hand broadcast, like adding fairy dust, during a rain is best time to apply…”. So we listened to Martha and sprinkled on the minerals like fairy dust before a rain. Hopefully Rama Rock helps our garden grow.

A little dab will do...or maybe a sprinkle.

Thanks for the advice Martha!

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The Stakes are High!

Now that our Wildflower group has chosen the design the next step is plotting it onto the land. Since our lot size had increased we needed to figure out how to map out the design in a way that was easy, legible and sturdy enough to withstand stomping, wheel barrels and rainfall. Our plotting option involved simple materials: STAKES and STRING! First, we made our own stakes out of scrap wood we were able to find at the Lebel Building (School of Visual Arts). Next, we headed over to the EcoHouse to start putting the stakes in the ground. We determined where all the stakes needed to be by figuring out each spot where lines intersected and ended. The final step was to tie the string to the stakes,creating a map of the design lightly floating above the land. Once this was done, the Wildflower group got really excited…it really felt like everything was coming together.

The design staked and plotted

Homemade Stakes and the Land Plotted

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This just in…Wildflower group decides on landscape design!

The design in the red square is our final choice

The Wildflower Group’s next phase involved choosing a final landscape design. We had narrowed down our choices to 3 types of designs. The first design option was something simple and easy-a square foot garden (square shaped garden beds). The pros of this design are that it is easy to build, access and maintain. The cons are that aesthetically, it’s a little boring. The second design option involved something a little more complicated design wise. This option included a slightly more detailed design with curves or an outline of a symbol. The same pros and cons applied as the first option. Lastly, our third design option was a much more detailed landscape design that incorporates weaving pathways within the garden. The pros to this design are that aesthetically the design is exciting, fun and the addition of pathways invites pedestrians to come on in and explore. The cons to this design option are that to build it, will add considerable more work for our team in the plotting and upkeep. In the end we compromised. Our final choice for the garden combined elements of our first design- squarefoot gardening- and our third design- an elaborate design. The official design is the one with the red square.

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Wild about Wildflowers!

Image above: mindmap for Demonstration Wildflower Garden Group

It was during the first week of the Green Corridor class that the Demonstration Wildflower Garden group consisting of students excited about gardening was formed.  Through the combined efforts of everyone involved, a mindmap was created which allowed us to track our thoughts and reach a final decision about the main idea of the project and how it would be accomplished.  The intention is to have wildflower gardens planted in areas of urban decay to symbolically heal them using the local Aboriginal knowledge on medicinal plants while at the same time teaching others in the community about the ease of creating their own wildflower gardens.  The location of the first garden will be at the University of Windsor’s Ecohouse on California Avenue.

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