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Emerson Community Garden


After a season of TTC roof construction and limited access, the Emerson Community Garden (located at the alternate exit for Lansdowne on TTC land) was strangled with morning glory vines on all sides and giant weed trees had sprouted next to the fences.

Despite shedding tears at the sight of the garden in the fall I approached the garden for the first cleanup with renewed optimism. Former Indian Road neighbours Dan and Sarah had bought a house on Emerson Ave. two doors away from the garden and they arrived with tools in hand, ready to work. Sarah describes her husband Dan as a ‘doer’ which proved more than true this season! Together, with spring recruits from the West End Seedy Saturday event and Bentley from Bike Pirates on Bloor, we pruned and weeded and corralled the garden back into shape. Cleanup continued on Sunday 3 afternoons and Dan and I also regularly worked in the garden during the week, sometimes for six hours at a stretch. Dan dug out several Buckthorn weed-trees and Norway maples that had crept along the fence line.

Passersby were also encouraged to join in weeding and watering. “I have half an hour—what can I do?” one man offered when he saw us working in the garden and I asked if he was interested in helping out. After so many years of community gardening I’ve finally perfected my ‘trowel trick’ as fellow Grafton community gardeners have affectionately named it. If someone stops by the garden and looks interested enough, I hold out a trowel and ask if they want to plant something or dig up a few weeds. A few have been gardening with us ever since.

Richard Kerr and I made our annual Hort-funded shopping trip for the Grafton and Emerson gardens in May. We were lucky to arrive at Plant World on a sale day.For the Emerson Community Garden, blackberry bushes, blueberry bushes, additional ‘Peaceroses and a glorious cream coloured ‘Caroline de Monaco’ rose I couldn’t resist were purchased. More native plants such as liatris and echinacea were added to the garden and pollinator-friendly annuals were planted by seed as well as annuals received from the High Park green house and Hort member, Joan Kramer. The blooms inspired frequent visits from Eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies which thrilled me no end. I loved seeing their wide yellow wings flit around the garden.

Our plans for this season include planting even more sweetpeas, peas, beans, continuing to improve the soil, creating a sandwich board to have on display to announce when the West End Flower Fairies (WEFF) are meeting in the garden and planning for more music, art, food and fun in the garden.

Check out www.facebook.com/WestEndFlowerFairies or follow us on twitter @growgardenfun! for all of our events and meeting times in any of the four WEFF gardens.

Many thanks for continued Hort support!

Carolin Taron, 2013