Belterra Cohousing Community’s mission statement begins with this goal: To create and sustain an evolving community that embraces respect for a diverse group of ecologically accountable and socially responsible people. One of the ways that we have come together as a community to support ecological accountability is through our Pollinator Garden Project.
In addition to creating the physical gardens, this project also presented opportunities for learning as well as adapting to issues ranging from unexpected weather to changing timelines and evolving visions. Throughout, it also involved working together, combining our skills, and sharing our knowledge as the plan for the project came together.
We reduced the size of the original garden to make the terracing more manageable and create a more compact space that would be more sustainable for watering. But because we reduced this area, we were able to put indigenous plants into another area at Belterra where terrace building was already in progress. As a result, we were able to create two different gardens with indigenous plants that will bring pollinators to both our vegetable garden and our landscaped hillside.
It was important to determine which plants will support indigenous pollinators (not honeybees!) throughout the three seasons – spring, summer, and fall. Several of our members are experienced gardeners who are knowledgeable about indigenous plants, and another member is currently participating in a Pollinator Stewardship Certification programme. Together, they researched and identified indigenous plants that adhere to the 3x3x3 principle: 3 types of plants at 3 heights for 3 seasons. The plant choices and where to plant them was discussed by everyone as we went along.
Thank you, Bowen Island Community Foundation and Vancouver Foundation, for the opportunity to work together to add beauty and biodiversity to our community. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished. Both terraced gardens will support our native pollinators, and they in turn will help grow our gardens.