Work on a public water–efficient demonstration garden will begin this spring at the Clair Road Emergency Services Centre (CRESC), 160 Clair Road West.
The fully-accessible garden is being created in partnership with Pollination Guelph, and with funding from TD Friends of the Environment, RBC Blue Water Project, and the Guelph Community Foundation.
“This garden will be a living demonstration of a water–friendly landscape that’s both beautiful and easy to care for,” noted Karen McKeown, outdoor water efficiency technician with the City of Guelph. “The garden will feature native and drought–tolerant plants, and simple water–saving techniques that people can easily incorporate into home and commercial gardens.”
Pollination Guelph, with the support of the City of Guelph, will replace the turf area in front of the building with a water–efficient garden that creates habitat for pollinating insects and birds. Permeable pathways will guide visitors around the garden, and interpretive signs will be added to provide information about plants and gardening techniques that reduce water needs in the garden.
Pollination Guelph, City staff, and volunteers from various community groups will gather together for the spring planting on Saturday, May 10, with neighbours and other residents invited to attend and participate. Those interested in volunteering can contact Healthy Landscapes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-822-1260 extension 2109.
Ongoing maintenance will be a joint effort by City staff, Pollination Guelph and volunteers. Budget funds already allotted for lawn cutting maintenance at the CRESC will be reallocated to garden care needs.
Sod planted at the CRESC did not take well following the severe drought conditions in the summer of 2012. Nearby residents later wrote to the City about the lawn, requesting a sustainable solution for the unsightly landscape.
As a result, Water Services staff from the Healthy Landscapes program initiated the garden project and will approve garden designs and plant choices. Healthy Landscapes provides Guelph residents and businesses with tips for outdoor water efficiency and conservation including drought tolerant plant recommendations, lawn and garden advice, and natural pest control alternatives. For more information about Healthy Landscapes, visit guelph.ca/healthylandscapes.