In 2019 a group of neighbours decided that we would like to do something with a weed-infested corner in the centre of our small Summerland community of 35 homes. In keeping with the mission statement for our neighborhood, we wanted to our project to reflect the natural environment of the Okanagan and therefore be unirrigated. We read up on the kinds of native, drought and deer resistant plants that could thrive. With our grant we purchased a number of plants and some soil.
During our Earth Day, we had an excellent turn-out. We dug up the invasive weeds and brought in some large rocks to add some panache to our native plant garden. Throughout the summer we watered by hand in order to ensure the new plants had a chance to establish themselves.
As with most “best laid plans” there were unforeseen circumstances. The main one was a ravenous community of marmots that promptly ate all the flowering plants and even some of the shrubs. The second problem was a run-off channel built when we repaved our road. The goal was to direct run-off water away from the drainage system onto the native plant corner. It worked too well however, and with heavy rains, the run-off sheared off the top layer of soil and deposited it on the street.
So, back to the drawing board and in 2021 we applied for another grant and built a dry stream to distribute the rainwater throughout more of the garden. It worked perfectly and adds to the visual appeal of the area. We planted some more plants, and caged the ones that we had learned the marmots liked the most. It will take a while for the plants and bushes to grow and establish themselves, but we’re happy with the beginnings of our project and have had a great deal of fun and good conversations during our shared project.