A Gardener’s New Year’s Resolutions

Submitted by Candy Venning

2023 Resolutions – A different kind of new year’s list – feel good, be happy!

  1. Attend at least one event held by Environment Hamilton – whether it’s tree planting or a rally for saving the Greenbelt; getting involved is good for you! Honestly, volunteers are always needed, and it helps fight feelings of environmental despair/ ecosystem anxiety. Bonus, you meet some awesome, like minded, people!
  2. Visit Green venture’s Eco House at 22 Veevers Drive for their seedling sale, any other event or just to go for a stroll and meet the wonderful volunteers who work there (call ahead – they’re often hosting community events off site)
  3. Support an initiative via the RBG as a volunteer. This could be your first opportunity to wear waders in Cootes Paradise to monitor native water plants, or your chance to learn to remove and identify invasive species on land. The RBG is a green gem of biodiversity right on our doorstep, she’s worthy of all the support we can give, be that time or money.
  4. Host or attend a neighbourhood cleanup – often there are spring cleanups that focus on areas such as the laneways behind our homes.  Alleys, parks and anyplace with litter – get in touch with Brenda Duke, CN Track Gang or CP Rail through Beautiful Alleys for information on organized cleanups at hamiltonalleys@gmail.com. There’s ‘Team up to Clean up’ as well as trailers offered through the city’s ‘Keep Hamilton Clean and Green Programs’. They’ll supply gloves, bags and tools. Don’t think of it as picking up after others but rather preventing plastics from washing into our lakes and oceans or as cleaning up so everyone, however abled, can appreciate a litter free walk around the neighbourhood.
  5. Join The Hamilton Naturalists Club, membership is a pittance and they regularly host interesting speakers, guide folks on hikes and support cleanups, land acquisition and more – these dedicated volunteers have been around since forever and are a wealth of knowledge and resources.
  6. Join Pollinator Paradise an initiative of Environment Hamilton and the Hamilton Naturalists Club at hamiltonpollinatorparadise.org.  Help build a corridor of native plant species across the city of Hamilton that will provide food and shelter for pollinators. Together we will strengthen and enhance Hamilton’s unique biodiversity.
  7. Visit a local farm like McQuesten / mcquestenurbanfarm.ca, Branching Path, Plan B Organics or any small farm business, buy some produce and support local. Volunteer at a local Church garden that provides produce for the community. There’s a multitude of (but never enough) local community gardens. You can rent a plot or volunteer, learn new tricks or share what you know. Sink your teeth into the battle for food security and enjoy fresh vegetables.
  8. Buy yourself a ‘grabber’ (aka long stick with pincers for picking up garbage) and next time you hit the waterfront especially between Bayfront and Princess point – make a game of seeing how many items you can pick up (the variety is horrifying but helpful for keeping wildlife safe)
  9. Contact FLAP to volunteer – flap.org/ and head out early one morning to look for injured birds as a result of window collisions. Yup, this is a somewhat heartbreaking task BUT with documentation the information is now leading to changes in the building code (did you know stickers must be placed on the outside of windows to break the reflection of greenery or sky and it’s not just tall buildings that injure or kill birds?). They’ll help you learn about the perils of the built environment for birds, and how to protect migrating birds in an urban habitat.
  10. Consider ditching one habit and saving that money for monthly giving – IE – brew your own fabulous coffee to take with you (vs single use disposable ‘to-go’ coffee) and assign that monthly amount to Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge, for instance, but it could also be donated to Eco justice, the RBG, Environment Hamilton etc.
  11. Add 5 – 500 native plants to your garden or gift some to someone you know with a garden. Starting natives from seed is a great way to go – cold stratification is as easy as putting seeds outside in a pot in January (see previous articles or Google for more info)

I commend you for reading this far and If you can show me you’ve done 10 out of the previous 11 initiatives – I will design a backyard plan for you! Get in touch for details @VenniGardens on Instagram or candyvenning@gmail.com

P.S. Volunteering to plant trees, remove invasive species or look for injured birds – would each count as 2 – Happy New Year!!