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News 2008

News 2008

From the November 2008 Newsletter:

Saturday November 8: Bishop Marrocco Catholic High School Park Gardening Day

Students from Bishop Marrocco (at the corner of Bloor and Dundas) will be returning to Dufferin Grove Park to help out with playground maintenance and gardening on the morning of November 8. Last time (October 18) they helped out a lot in the playground. They shovelled the sand back into the little kids’ almost-empty sandbox and dug up the earth under the climbers so that any kid who fell would land on soft ground. They raked out the big sandpit and tidied the toys. Then they planted daffodil bulbs (donated to the park by Green Here) in the cob garden. Their teacher, Steve De Quintal, recently transferred to Bishop Marrocco from St. Mary’s Catholic High School, located at the north edge of the park.

St.Mary’s students also come and help with the gardens (their Environment Club, run by science teacher Christine Walters, even grew its own park vegetable garden this year). Recreation staff Anna Bekerman works with all the students, and says the newcomer students have so many interesting stories to tell about the countries they came from.

From the October 2008 Newsletter:


Anna Bekerman is the recreation staff community garden coordinator, and she’s had a wonderful lot of gardeners this year. Gardening get-togethers will continue at 2 pm every Saturday in October, everyone welcome. Anna wants to collect seeds for next year, and spread the excellent ready-compost, and she’s thinking about cold frames for this winter: donations of old windows are welcome! (Anna is also one of the park bakers and she’s willing to trade for bread.)

The Parks Horticulture staff sent over some perennials and a planting plan for the front of the rink house, and Green Here shared a donation of hundreds of daffodil bulbs from the city’s Parks and Trees Foundation. Students from St.Mary’s Catholic High School came over to help plant the bulbs, and some went to Campbell Park as well.

From the September 2008 Newsletter:


Shah Mohiuddin Squash

Every Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. all summer long it’s been gardening time at the park gardens. Anna Bekerman is the recreation staff community garden coordinator, and she’s had a wonderful lot of gardeners this year. Here’s the group: Vidash, Shah, Tammy, Klaudia, Elizabeth, Strychnol, Ferenc and Maricela and their four kids Flora, Lucas, Jasmin, and Iris; Jacki, Ed, Henrich, Michael, Andrew, Chris, and Tatiana. Gardening experience from all over the world joined up to provide fresh vegetables for pizza days and Friday Night suppers – that’s really local food!

Gardening get-togethers will continue at 2 pm every Saturday in September. Anne wants to collect seeds for next year, and spread the excellent ready-compost, and she’s thinking about cold frames for this winter: donations of old windows are welcome! (Anna is also one of the park bakers and she’s willing to trade for bread.)

Sometime this fall (to be announced) there will be a work bee to re-do the first community flowerbed (near the smaller bake oven). All gardeners are welcome to help – experienced and brand new.

Volunteer gardener Shah Mohiuddin grew some five-foot-long squashes in the children’s garden this year. (See the photos on the garden page of the web site.) The squash plant grew right up into the cherry tree. These squashes tastes a lot like zucchini, and Shah brought over a delicious curry that his wife made with them. He brought the recipe too, and the park cooks made it for Friday Night Supper. Here’s how it was made: “Ingredients: onion, chopped garlic, turmeric, curry powder, chili powder, salt, coriander leaves, and squash chopped into ¾ inch pieces. Fry the onion and garlic and when they become brown, add all the spices and a bit of water and mix them well. Add the squash and cook, stirring, for 8 10 minutes.” Shrimp can be added too.

From the August 2008 Newsletter:


Everyone knows how up-and-down the weather has been this summer, and many are grumbling. But the trees are not grumbling! Last summer many trees in city parks suffered, and many newly planted trees died for lack of water. This summer the trees look wonderful, including the thirty new trees Forestry planted at Dufferin Grove Park the year before last, and the two “little forests” they added last year, next to Dufferin Street. And the soccer fields are not dusty anymore.

From the May 2008 Newsletter:


Want to try your green thumb?

Drop-in gardening hours for May are set for Saturdays at 2 pm, with recreation staff Anna Bekerman. There are three park food gardens, four perennial flower beds, and six native-species gardens, as well as the gardens around the cob courtyard. Also, Forestry planted over thirty new trees the year before last, and then added two “little forests” next to Dufferin Street. If it’s another dry summer, the trees will need watering – volunteer help is very welcome.

Spring garden highlights

The park’s three cherry trees and the serviceberry bush next to the oven all bloomed early this year, when April turned so warm. Two of the cherry trees are Bing cherries (the other is a sour cherry). One of the Bing cherry trees is much older but didn’t produce many cherries until the second tree was planted three years ago. This year we have high hopes – if there are lots of cherries, there will be cherry pie, cherry cobbler, and cherry crumble at Friday Night Supper -- unless the birds and the kids get into the big tree first.

Tulips and daffodils donated by park friends Pat MacKay and Leslie Coates bloomed in five park gardens this April and May. The Japanese ornamental cherry tree planted beside the cob courtyard (two years ago) in memory of Emma Frankford, by her family, burst into blossom before any other tree this year. Students from the St.Mary’s Catholic High School environment club came to the park on April 27 to start work on their own vegetable garden in the children’s garden section near the bake ovens. They intend to plant lettuce and peas to harvest for a school meal in June, and then to plant root vegetables, for harvesting when school returns in September. The students have a particular interest in composting, and will be bringing some of the food scraps from cafeteria meals to enrich the park compost.

From the May 2008 Newsletter:

Friday May 16 Dufferin Grove GARDENING FUNDRAISER and first FRIDAY NIGHT SUPPER of the season, 6 - 8 pm.

The park’s volunteer gardeners need soaker hoses, new hoes, seeds and bedding plants for the Dufferin Grove gardens. All proceeds from the first Friday Night Supper will go to buying these supplies. There will be a display of archival garden photos from Dufferin Grove, as well as information about other local community gardens in parks and roadside margins.

From the March 2008 Newsletter:

Park rainwater study

City Councillor Adam Giambrone recently has said that he’s very concerned about water (he’s also the vice chair of public works). Lots of people are thinking about saving water, and about water quality, and it’s certainly an issue at the park. At over 14 acres in size, Dufferin Grove Park is a sizeable chunk of land. Councillor Giambrone says he’s interested in getting some funding, available from Toronto Water, to do some work about conserving water at the park. Until then, park “cookie money” and a donation from park friend David Rothberg, will enable Georgie Donais to study water flow in the park and how it might be better managed to retain moisture for the park's flora (especially the new trees) and to reduce run-off to the sewer. Georgie writes: “We continue to develop an understanding of how rainwater falling on that land behaves, and how we could make better use of this precious resource. We are also becoming more aware of qualities of rainwater (naturally distilled, free of dissolved salts, warm) that make it the most ideal water for hydrating plants in the park.” Watch for her report later in the spring.

Digging little shallow "basins" around new trees and filling them with mulch is one tried-and-true method for retaining rain water, much used in the U.S., so that approach may help all the new park trees to grow into giants even if this summer is dry again, as both the Farmers’ Almanac and Environment Canada are predicting. Georgie will research this, and other approaches as well, and hopefully the first water conservation efforts will begin at the park in May. A group of teachers from St.Mary’s Catholic High School will be spending the morning of May 3 to help out in the park, so they may be the first water conservation crew. For more information visit the website.

Composting toilets also improve water quality, of course. But that project remains in limbo.

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