It takes a neighbourhood to adopt an island

The Rideau Gardeners (among various children) during their first spring clean-up on April 29 at the Elliot-Bullock traffic circle island near Brantwood Park. Standing, left to right: Peter Croal, Stacey Wowchuk, Denis Blondin, Darren DeRidder, Danielle Pratt,  Nancy Gauthier, Maureen Bernier, Tony Glynn; Front row: Nancy Graham, Jesse Arnup Blondin, SueEllen MacGowan Credit: Marc Pepin

The Rideau Gardeners (among various children) during their first spring clean-up on April 29 at the Elliot-Bullock traffic circle island near Brantwood Park. Standing, left to right: Peter Croal, Stacey Wowchuk, Denis Blondin, Darren DeRidder, Danielle Pratt, Nancy Gauthier, Maureen Bernier, Tony Glynn; Front row: Nancy Graham, Jesse Arnup Blondin, SueEllen MacGowan Credit: Marc Pepin

By SueEllen MacGowan

You may have noticed recent activity and changes at the Elliot-Bullock traffic circle island near Brantwood Park. A dozen neighbours have joined together to ‘adopt’ the island from the city, making a commitment to clean up, beautify and maintain the plot of land.

The group named themselves the Rideau Gardeners.

It is made up of residents from Elliot Avenue, Bullock Avenue, Onslow Crescent and Marlowe Crescent.

“We want the space to look nice,” said Nancy Graham, a Rideau Gardeners organizer. “It’s a high traffic spot for pedestrians, bikers and drivers to our area and over the years it has become overgrown.”

In April, the group cleared-out dead brush, weeds, invasive plants and saplings and took note of what remained. They were pleased to find a few hardy perennials under the debris. They plan to add more indigenous plants such as hostas, black-eyed Susans and peonies.

They drew up a list that they hoped to plant and were seeking donations:
– coneflower
– milkweed
– echinacea
– anemone
– blue/green hostas
– bergenias
– coral bells
– lilies
– astilbes
– cluster grasses
– sedum
– asters
– daisies

The city granted formal approval to the group, May 19.

With the adoption complete, a city sign will be posted at the traffic circle. City workers will continue to trim the tree, but the remaining maintenance will be the group’s responsibility. The Gardeners requested an initial two-year period, with the option to extend.

“We are fortunate to live in an area where there is a lot of neighbourhood interaction, and adopting the island seemed like a great community development project” said group member Stacey Wowchuk. “Those who’ve joined the Rideau Gardeners include friends who have known each other for years and others who are meeting for the first time. It’s very rewarding to create something beautiful that everyone can enjoy.”

Anyone interested in participating or donating plants can email RideauGardeners@outlook.com.

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Filed in: Environment, FP, Front Page

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