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Pollinator garden for the bees

Sep 09 2012
Rainey Hopewell shows off some fireweed at a pollinator-friendly garden on Haultain Steet, between Avebury Avenue and Asquith Street. The garden contains plants that bees, butterflies and other insects that pollinate flowers, vegetables and fruit trees can feed on. 

Rainey Hopewell shows off some fireweed at a pollinator-friendly garden on Haultain Steet, between Avebury Avenue and Asquith Street. The garden contains plants that bees, butterflies and other insects that pollinate flowers, vegetables and fruit trees can feed on.

Photograph by: Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist , Times Colonist

Bees, bats and butterflies can use your help. The Life Cycles Project Society, a group dedicated to food production and sustainability, is out to show the public just how easy it is to get involved in creating habitat to help these and other pollinators thrive.

It comes through a society initiative known as Growing Biodiversity in the City, which has been underway since the spring.

Individuals and community garden groups have shown considerable interest, said the society's Jill Dalton.

"What we're hoping to do is build a corridor throughout Greater Victoria, so that there's enough pollinator-friendly gardens in the city for the pollinators to actually move throughout the region."

Pollination is a vital natural process, and is a necessity for 90 per cent of flowers, about onethird of vegetables and almost all fruit trees. Joining bees, bats and butterflies as pollinators are a number of types of flies and other insects, Dalton said.

She said homeowners can do their part to boost pollination by encouraging the growth of native species such as elderberry, Oregon grape and salal. Non-native plants that help pollinators include chrysanthemums, lavender, sage and sunflowers.

"It's fairly simple," Dalton said. "It's just knowing what types of plants are for different pollinators."

Making a difference can also be as easy as clearing small patches of dirt and compacting the exposed earth. That can turn into a prime nesting area for bees, since 70 per cent native bees make their nests in the ground.

Funding for the project has come from the City of Victoria and a provincial gaming grant, and a dozen community partners have been part of the effort.

"We're wrapping it up for this year but we're hoping to expand in 2013," Dalton said.

Call the Life Cycles Project Society at 250-383-5800 or email info@lifecyclesproject.ca.


Kibby Evans and Daman Milsom plan to have a two-wheeled entourage in tow as they pedal the final kilometres of their cross-Canada cycling trip today.

The B.C. residents began their journey, called Trekking 4 Transplants, by packing up their gear in late May for a flight to Newfoundland. From there, they pointed their bicycles west and began a 9,000-kilometre ride that is scheduled to end at Mile Zero at 3 p.m.

As many as 30 cyclists are expected to join them.

Evans, a 24-year-old Duncan resident who was a student-athlete at the University of Victoria, and 25-year-old Kelowna resident Milsom, a veteran of the B.C.

Hockey League, both have sporting backgrounds that served them well on their trip. They were set for a triumphant arrival in Dun-can Saturday, and today's plan is to leave Cycle Therapy in Duncan at 10 a.m. with a number of extra riders, then meet up with more at Victoria General Hospital.

The goal of the cross-Canada effort has been to inspire people to become organ donors, and to raise money for the Transplant Research Foundation. More than $22,000 has already been collected, Evans said.

"The biggest thing was spreading awareness for us."

The inspiration for the ambitious trip has been Evans' father, Brian, who had a liver transplant last year that saved his life.

Evans said there have been plenty of challenges along the way, from the tough hills near Lake Superior to strong winds in Manitoba.

In a trip full of highlights, she said, one of the biggest was making it to the top of Kicking Horse Pass on Aug. 20 and seeing the "Welcome to B.C." sign as they crossed into their home province.

"It's been amazing," she said of the trip. "It's been the experience of a lifetime, it's such a unique way to see the country."

After their arrival, Evans and Milsom will head to Clover Point for a wind-up event and barbecue. Everyone is welcome.

To make a donation, go to trekking 4 transplants.ca.


The Friends of Shelbourne Valley meet today to talk about renewal in the neighbourhood.

The community group cites sustainability and a balanced transportation system in the Shelbourne area as key goals.

"We aim to expand and deepen the community discussion about positive changes in the Shelbourne Valley," said group chairman Soren Henrich in a statement. "The Shelbourne Street area has great but unrealized potential."

Today's meeting, 1: 30-5 p.m. at St. Aidan's United Church, 3703 St. Aidan's St., features a presentation by transportation planner Todd Litman.

Public input will be passed to Saanich council and staff. The municipality is working on the Shelbourne Valley Action Plan.


The Victoria Immigrant and Refugee Centre Society extends an open invitation to a Sept. 15 Multicultural Food and Health Fair.

The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at CDI College, 950 Kings Rd., with 30 exhibitors, free food samples, cultural performances and a children's area.

Visitors can also enjoy interactive displays showcasing food and health topics.


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