Published April 2013 Village Vibe Newspaper
As I once heard from one of my favourite eight year olds, it was a day that looked like a big wool sock had been pulled over the sky. Nonetheless, spring is fast approaching, and by the time of print, it will have already sprung. As I write, the Damson Plum is in full blossom. The bees are not quite buzzing yet, and while the early bird may get the worm, in this case, the patient buds get the pollinators. Before long I am greeted by Sean Newton, Linda Chan and Brent Howard. These Sunday regulars have been faithfully visiting the Commons for the last 8 months. They come bearing hot water, tea cups and a few extra pairs of work gloves to share. As friendly discussion and tea-preparation continues; Sean comes to the frightful realization that he has forgotten the tea at home.
Fortunately, we are only steps away from the freshest tea one could ever hope for. After a few moments of foraging, Sean returns with a bounty of freshly picked herbs, and in beautiful clay pot he brews up a soul-warming blend. As we discuss what we would like to co-create at the Commons, passersby meander through the park. Some join us for tea, others politely decline, and a wonderful weekly tradition is revealed to me. This weekly event is known as ‘Bee in The Garden’, and takes place every Sunday at 1:30pm-3:30pm. All members of the community are encouraged to bring their garden tools, favourite instruments and help out and celebrate in the garden. It’s a great way to have fun, meet new friends, and receive hands-on experience at one of Canada’s most established urban food forests!
The rhythm of the seasons is a gift we often take for granted in this part of the world. The seasonal variation provides beautiful expressions, and each transition offers unique gifts from the Earth. The fruit tree blossoms entice the senses and hint of harvests to come, and new life is breathed into our bodies after months of winter weather. There is nothing quite as nourishing as new life. Here at Spring Ridge Commons, Mother Nature is providing us with a wonderful opportunity to nourish our bodies as well.
Stinging Nettles in Spring Ridge Commons. Photo: Mila Czemerys
Rosemary in Spring Ridge Commons. Photo: Mila Czemerys
The tea we are sipping today is a blend of Stinging Nettles and Rosemary. The hardy Rosemary plants have weathered the winter and offer more nutritional benefits than could ever be listed in this article. Stinging Nettles are just emerging from the earth now and will continue to flourish through the summer. Stinging Nettles are herbaceous perennials. They have been used as a cleansing tonic for thousands of years. Harvesters beware the stinging, hair-like spines on the underside of the leaves and stems!
Plant of the Month: Miner’s Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)
Miner’s Lettuce is the plant of the month at Spring Ridge Commons.
Photo: Mila Czemerys
Miner’s Lettuce is one of the only salad greens native to North America, though many view this wondrous plant as a weed. According to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 100 grams of miner’s lettuce—about the size of a decent salad—contains a third of your daily requirement of Vitamin C, 22 percent of Vitamin A, and 10 percent of iron. Miner’s Lettuce is delicious added to salads, or eaten on its own. While most of our “weeds” are of European origin, Miner’s Lettuce is one of the few plants that has returned the favour and moved to Europe!
We’re asking you:
What would you like to see at Spring Ridge Commons? Do you have an awesome idea for a community art project? What would improve your experience of the Commons?
If you are have an answer to these questions or would like to find out more about how you can help, please email email@example.com. Find out more about the Friends of Spring Ridge Commons at springridgecommons.ca & facebook.com/springridge.commons. Look for this new column ‘Commons Corner’ in the next issue.
© Copyright 2013