Get Outside! Outdoor Adventure: Native Plant Garden in the Middle of the City

Updated: Mar 21

The Get Outside! Outdoor Adventure: Native Plant Garden in the Middle of the City could not have gone better! We had 20 participants which was the maximum number for the event to ensure Nature Regina’s COVID 19 health and safety guidelines could be followed. We broke up into two groups of 10 people. At the Royal Saskatchewan Museum Native Plant Garden, Shannon Chernick told participants about what a native plant is, why native plants are important, how they support pollinators (idea of 1 yard in their garden with native plants to support pollinators), where native plant gardens exist in the city and the Nature Regina’s idea for a social media campaign to develop a pollinator pathway through the city. All of this knowledge was provided by the amazing volunteer, Gail Fennell who is working tirelessly to educate the public about native plant gardens. Thank you so much Gail! We then took a tour of the Native Plant Garden to see what grows well in Regina’s soil. The Royal Saskatchewan Museum will be developing signs including the plant names and bloom time during the fall. Thanks again to Gail Fennell for keep such great records and being able to provide this information to the RSM. This will be a demonstration garden for anyone interested in native plant gardening in the city. At the Boulevard Garden, Florence Stratton provided information about how they worked with the City of Regina to develop their gardens on the boulevard. She showed us three separate boulevard gardens. One is completely made up of native plants from the RSM, another includes a vegetable patch and tea garden and the third is made up of plants donated by local residents. Local resident Brenda, Wendy, Jim, Donna, Florence and many others volunteer their time to maintain these beautiful gardens. Thank you so much to Donna Holmes for her work to arrange a tour of the “boulevard gardens” which included a last minute run back to her house to call Florence and see if she was okay giving two tours with one starting in 15 minutes. We were very surprised to wake up and find out that all 20 spots for the event were filled! If you missed the event, we will be having the same event in about 3 weeks to launch the Nature Regina calendar. Please sign up for the Nature Regina newsletter to receive notification of our upcoming events.

I was absolutely amazed to watch all the connections being made between people at the event. One of our participants, Carol, wants to plant native plants on her circular boulevard and was able to find out how the Boulevard Gardeners made it happen! She also connected with Florence who worked with the City of Regina for this to happen in her neighbourhood. At a local home a neighbour converted an abandoned lot (with permission of the landowner) into a native plant garden paradise and took us on a tour. He has tags to identify all of the native plants so you can decide what you like and want to plant in your own garden! A great big thank you to David Arthur for his commitment to educating the public about native plant gardens! Participants were absolutely amazed that Nature Regina volunteers would take care of plants to give away to people for free! Thank you so much to Al Bodnarchuk for his continued dedication to caring for these plants!

At the end of the event all participants were able to go home with a Giant Hyssop, Monarda (Bee Balm) and Black-Eyed Susan to help start their 1 yard garden of native plants.  All except for one family group of three took plants home with them. I was able to tell event participants that if they had difficulty with their plant that they could visit the website and “Ask Al”. I also told them that if they wanted to learn more about native plant gardening that they should come to the garden on Tuesdays at 9:30 to talk to Gail Fennell or Al Bodnarchuk. They were shocked at the level of support provided by Nature Regina for free to get more native plants into gardens around the city! I expect some visitors to the Tuesday gardening sessions.

Thank you to every volunteer that spends hours in the garden each year. You made this event happen! Without your tireless commitment each week to getting this garden back to its present state of beauty we would have no way of showing people the beauty of native plants! Thank you so much to two volunteers, Lynn McCaslin and Larry Quin for bringing their cameras to capture pictures of the event for us to share on Facebook and promote future events. We couldn’t share this amazing experience without great pictures! Thanks!

A great big thank you as well to the volunteer communications team. Thanks to Daralyn for posting the event on the website and managing registration. Thanks to Ingrid for posting the event on our Facebook page. Thanks so much to Jim Elliott for sending out the event information through Mailchimp. Without the great work of these volunteers nobody would have known about the event. We had a great turn-out and a bunch of very inspired gardeners by the end of the event! This event was definitely a team effort so thank you so much for playing a part in making this happen! Many hands make light work. I am so privileged to be in the position to lead these field trips as a volunteer for Nature Regina.