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Volunteers help with wetlands pond at the Sunriver Allotment Garden

Volunteers help with the planting at the wetlands pond at the Sunriver Community Garden. - Pirjo Raits
Volunteers help with the planting at the wetlands pond at the Sunriver Community Garden.
— image credit: Pirjo Raits

Dozens of people were scrambling around the far end of the community garden at Sunriver last week pushing wheelbarrows, planting shrubs and mixing dirt.

Sixteen horticulture students from Camosun College were at the garden volunteering their time and getting some hands-on experience at the same time. They were there to help prepare a wetlands pond and build a fence.

The wetlands pond will provide another aspect to the community garden which already has garden plots and an orchard with heritage fruit trees.

“A good garden takes a long time,” said Phoebe Dunbar, one of the original people to propose an allotment garden in Sooke. The land was an amenity provided to the District of Sooke by the Sunriver development.

The plants being planted on Nov. 7 were bought through fundraising efforts, like the annual Lily Walk up to the Kludahk Trail. The wetlands pond project at the community garden received a $3,500 grant from the District of Sooke and an unsolicited donation.

“People loved what we were doing,” said Dunbar. “Good ol’ Sooke.”

Lisa Greig, a Sooke resident and instructor at Camosun, said “This is one of the most beautiful community gardens I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen beauty and progress just before my eyes.”

Grieg is no stranger to gardens, she is one of the horticulture instructor at Camosun. She has toured community gardens in many places in North America and what she says she noticed at the Sooke garden is “a huge warmth and throughtfulness.”

The Sunriver Allotment Garden had over 65 volunteers last season and as the popularity of gardening grows, so will the numbers who come out to help.

The Sunriver Allotment Gardens is a initiative of the Sooke Food CHI and the District of Sooke.

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