Hort Society puts new slant on gardening

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There is a lot to learn from Creemore’s Hort Park.

The garden, located off Mill Street between the bank and the grocery store, is a favourite place for people to stroll, lounge, play and maybe even be inspired. The garden is full of gorgeous plants tended by Creemore Horticultural Society volunteers, and if that’s not enough inspiration, they have added a number of new features to increase awareness about pollinators, native plants and creating gardens in some unusual places. Since last fall, a bee house, pollinator garden, green roof, vertical garden and a new Canada 150 garden have been added.

Master gardener Charlotte Vorstermans said she got the idea to make the roof of the shed into a green roof in the fall when she was flipping through some gardening magazines. She enlisted the help of husband Paul and a frame was created using recycled materials. They planted it with sedum, which has shallow roots, is drought hardy, pest resistant and the bees love it. Vorstermans wanted to show that a green roof could be created, even on a slanted roof and that they are great for insects and all of the pollinators.

Nearby, the new pollinator garden is equipped with a bee hotel that provides a winter home for a number of species. The fact that Creemore has the only pollinator garden in its district has garnered some financial support from the Ontario Horticultural Society and the Barrie Garden Club. The $400 grant was used to help fund the green roof.

A number of natve plants, trees, shrubs and bushes have also been added to the Hort Park as part of a growing mandate of education.

Vorstermans said she was finding native plants weren’t readily available at nurseries because they aren’t as popular with customers so the hope is to raise their profile by showcasing them in the Hort Park. They have planted Carolina Silverbells, Petticoat Maple (turnpetti), fothergilla, witch hazel and clethra, which attracts hummingbirds. Native plants are ideal, said Sharon Long, because they are suited to the climate and require less care. No chemicals are ever used in the garden, said Vorstermans.

Children in the park during the Creemore Farmers’ Market recently were recruited to plant the newest addition to the Hort Park, the vertical garden. Two skids have been turned into an A-frame and filled with small amounts of soil, where the little helpers planted nasturtiums, beats, beans and basil. People are invited to check on their progress and give them some water over the summer. The point, said Vorstermans, is to illustrate how much can be grown in a small space, even on a patio or a balcony.

“We want to educate the younger people and maybe even make them care about growing food,” said Vorstermans, adding that they may be the horticulturists of the future and may even pitch in to take care of the garden.

In fact, everyone is encouraged to help tend the community garden, and perhaps learn a few things in the process. Hort Society volunteers are in the garden every Monday morning. Everyone is invited to grab their tools and dig in.


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