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News 2005

posted November 25, 2005

Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation 2006 Calendar

Dufferin Park is in the Tree Portraits Calendar

The Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation, which helped fund the cob courtyard project (and before that helped us get the current park web site started) puts out a very handsome "Tree portraits" desk calendar, showing many old giants from various Toronto parks. In the 2006 version a Dufferin Grove Park red elm is featured for the month of June. The photographer is Geoffrey James – who is not only internationally renowned but who lives in this neighbourhood. He and his wife buy their food at the farmers’ market. Small world! The text comments about our park, by Pleasance Crawford, hit the nail on the head about the need to plant young trees in this park. She has many interesting things to say about all the parks and the different trees, and there’s a foreword from Margaret Atwood. It’s a thoughtful, intelligent calendar with luminous black-and-white tree pictures that you can get lost in. No wonder that last year the calendar sold out early. If you want to place an early Christmas order, the Parks and Trees Foundation phone number is 416 397-5178. (And the money will go to other good projects in Toronto parks.)

posted August 13, 2005 from the August Newsletter


After we noticed that the only new tree planted by Forestry in many years seems to be dying, park staff and volunteers have gone into tree-rescue mode. In the second week of August the wading pool staff put garden hoses on in the park around the clock, trickling water beside tree after tree, focusing on the young trees which are more vulnerable. If you see that a puddle is collecting around one tree, feel free to nudge the hose to a nearby tree – we’re lucky we have enough water in the Toronto water system to save the trees.

posted May 9, 2005

Garden Parties Every Sunday

Caitlin Shea was the founder of the park "garden party." But she was by no means the first gardener who gave her gifts of work and knowledge to the park - in 1993 mothers at the playground dug and planted the first little flowerbed, then in 1994 Rob Rennick helped us plant the first perennial bed beside the rink with the help of the Christie Pits L.A. gang (before there were any ovens nearby). The next year Margie Rutledge laid out and planted the herb garden, and Arie Kamp began his tireless digging of new beds and seeding of all the best flower seeds he plucked from flowerbeds all over the City. In 1996 we applied to Canada Trust for some native plant money, and when we got it, we were befriended by Gene Threndyle, who put in many days of work to help create all the native species gardens in the park, and a few years later to make the marsh garden with the fountain. Ben Figuereido planted the grape vines on the rink chain link fence. Annick Mitchell and her son Jake began the lush demonstration vegetable garden by the ovens.

From time to time a new gardener added another small area of plants. But many of those gardeners got busy with other things after a year or two. There was no steady group to work together until Caitlin showed up four years ago. She kept a lookout for other gardeners, and one by one, Reema, Jeremy, Catherine, and Klaudia joined her. At this time of year, one or several of the garden club dig and plant on most fair-weather Sunday afternoons. They call it the "garden party." They also build compost. This year they're creating a new children's garden by the oven, so that kids can pick their pizza toppings right out of the garden. They welcome old or new green thumbs at any level of participation - if you want to join in, pass by the gardens on a Sunday afternoon, or e-mail or leave a message at the rink house: 416 392-0913.

posted July 31, 2005

Update From Caitlin Shea, July 2005

I hadn't looked at the gardens page in a while and I have to say the piece up there is, gosh, extremely flattering but I fear it gives me much more credit than I deserve. It's very nice all the same. Thank you. As for ongoing work, things are pretty informal right now since the volunteers are hot. They've been going in when it suits them but, yes, generally we (they) try to meet on Sundays but there's no set time. It's best to encourage interested parties to call first.

posted May 9, 2005

Ben's Memorial Lilacs

Ben Figuereido

Ben Figuereido, who lived in the apartment right next to the rink house, planted the grape vines by the rink fence and made himself useful as a park friend in many ways over the years. But as he got closer to eighty he had more and more aches in his body, and last December he took a step off his fourteenth floor balcony to finish his life.

Ben's grapevines are going into leaf now. The park gardeners wanted to plant a memorial to Ben, who loved flowers. They settled on planting some lilacs near the bench where Ben used to sit, in front of the rink house. The Parks Department (which has helped the park garden friends with compost, wood chips, fencing, and plants every year) came through again. The west region park supervisor Brian Green bought two lilac bushes as Ben's memorial. They're planted now, and when they bloom, they'll always remind us of Ben.

posted July 31, 2005

The park's wild fruit and nut trees

Anyone who might be interested in seeing wild fruit and nut trees in the park should walk along Dufferin Street especially down by Sylvan in the very southwest corner. 3 young black walnuts are bearing their lemon-shaped lime coloured fruit for 2nd year. They are like young teenagers on the verge of adulthood growing so robustly you can almost see them increasing in size. Inside the rail fence is a hazelnut which is full of frilly green fruit still forming. The frilly part is called involucre and looks very flowery and decorative.

The wild plums seem to form fruit reluctantly preferring to increase their kind by sending up shoots and suckers. There are a handful of hard green plums all the same which some creature will likely eat. I keep hoping a song bird will build a nest in their thorny branches.

Closer to the fountain a choke cherry is now about 18' high and the strange mouth-puckering fruit are just ripening as are the small berries on the pagoda dogwoods. The elderberries are still green but it seems that some birds or other creatures will eat those without allowing them to ripen. These are common trees and shrubs of the countryside but not often grown in town.

- Gene Threndyle, in a note to the dufferinpark email list July 18, 2005.

posted August 4, 2005


photo by Wallie Seto

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