Beneath the snow and ice along Bowker Creek, dozens of new bulbs and seeds await spring.
Late fall saw a surprising rush of new native plantings tucked in adjacent to the waterway that crosses Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay before heading to the Salish Sea.
Over the last few years, the Learning Circle native plant bed at the Monteith Allotment Garden has been invaded by weeds and non-native grasses, according to the Friends of Bowker Creek. The weeds crowded the original plantings and deer gnawed and what few flowers bloomed.
Volunteers with the Friends of Bowker Creek tackled the problem, restoring and reseeding the bed using a sheet mulching technique – laying biodegradable cardboard to smother weeds and prevent existing seed bank from growing back, then covering it with fresh soil. They sowed bulbs of both common and great camas along with seeding 17 native species of wildflowers and grasses of mostly deer-resistant native plant seeds
Then in mid-December a whole host of free plants landed in the laps of those restoring the creek.
The deer-resistant seed mix came from from Satinflower Nurseries, while Wylie Thomas donated two species of native grass seed from Uplands Park and resident Louise Goulet donated camas bulbs and wildflower seeds.
Mid-December Satinflower also gave an biodiversity boost to another segment of the creek. The nursery is moving its native seed field from Cordova Bay to Metchosin and offered community members to come dig up plants that couldn’t make the move.
Oak Bay High teachers Derek Shrubsole and Koji Zolbrod collected a truckload of native plants and got them in the ground of on the banks of the creek near the school. The creekside there has suffered in recent years with drought, heat, trampling and overeating wildlife.
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