The Strathcona Community Gardens (SCG) and its fruit orchard are situated on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. SCG has been caretaking this unceded Musqeam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh land since the inception of SCG in 1985. We are grateful to these First Nations for being able to garden and care for this land. Our thanks as well go to the Neighbourhood Services Grant, the Vancouver Foundation, the City of Vancouver, and the Strathcona Community Gardens Society.

With this grant, five new fruit trees were purchased – two large mature trees, one medium-sized tree, one smaller tree and one fruiting bush, which required a number of gardeners to move and plant. These trees were planted to replace some dying fruit trees and enhance the current fruit trees in the orchard. The new fruit trees were also selected with consideration to the dryer and warming conditions the gardens are experiencing. Varieties of trees that could better withstand drought conditions were purchased for this reason.

In the search for fruit trees, our committee met up with two former SCG gardeners now working in the nursery business, who were extremely helpful in guiding decisions on which trees would work well, as both were very knowledgeable and familiar with the gardens. They steered our committee to choices well suited for the environment of the gardens. One of the former gardeners was in a position in his workplace to offer a discount on the trees purchased, allowing the grant monies to have better purchasing power. It was amazing to find the community spirit of the gardens in this way and to realize that these former gardeners continued their support of the gardens out in the community.

There were challenges in getting the delivery of trees to the gardens, but the same group of gardeners interested in this project showed up three different times (on three different days!) to meet the delivery and eventually spent a good part of their day planting the trees and learning how to care for them. Gardeners were really committed to completing this work and learning more about the orchard fruit trees. This project inspired enthusiasm, commitment and interest in the work of the orchard.

During the planting of these trees, a certified garden arborist, who is a long-time gardener, oversaw the activities and provided a tree care and pruning workshop while the work was underway. Primarily, new garden members answered the call of this work along with some longer-time gardeners who mentored and guided the newer members. An enthusiastic and engaged group completed the work, and it was a lot of fun to do this work together!

The goal of this project, to replenish expired/damaged trees, expand the number of fruit trees in the orchard, and develop further knowledge about these fruit trees for interested gardeners and community members, was met with a big success! Those involved were very dedicated to the delivery, planting and educational component of care and pruning of the trees. All expressed interest in learning more moving forward. This has prompted the Orchard committee to plan a further (hands-on) educational opportunity in the care and pruning of fruit trees for early spring 2024.

The link to a photo album of pictures of this event can be found at: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/wc2iw5gzktyzcsm71hz2p/h?rlkey=phxr9799k54ow5p5v0ui8p1hq&dl=0
The Strathcona Community Garden will soon have these photos uploaded to its website at:
strathconagardens.ca

Written By:

Britannia Carnegie Ray-Cam Strathcona

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