Cultivate McCauley

Edmonton’s Gardening Community.

  • A hardy magnolia flower in a McCauley backyard in 2017. Dustin Bajer

  • An urban beehive watches over a back yard food forest in McCauley in 2016. Dustin Bajer

In the fall of 2014, I was looking at a house just off Church Street – I decided on a whim to knock on the door of each potential neighbour and introduce myself. At one door, Naomi Pahl answered. Within minutes Naomi was giving me a tour of her yard. By the time I drove home, she had emailed me a list of fruit trees growing in her yard – in the event that I wanted to cross- reference it for cross-pollination purposes. I put an offer on the home, and I moved in at the end of October.

McCauley’s spirit of cultivation and community is alive and well. Everywhere I look I see gardens. Apples, pears, plums and cherries dot back and front yards. Long-skinny beans grown up long-skinny poles. A rare blackberry shrub. A yard filled with roses. A 50-year-old grape vine of unknown variety. The gardens in McCauley are as diverse as its inhabitants.

Growing A Gardening Movement
While there are a lot of fabulous gardens in McCauley, a group of passionate residents believe that there are opportunities to expand upon, stitch together, and share what’s happening in our neighbourhood.

A few weeks ago we started circulating a garden survey as a way to connect with fellow gardeners – it takes about 10 minutes and is a way for us to identify neighbourhood gardeners, resources, and opportunities. If you’re reading this, we’d love to hear from you. You can find our survey at: https://cultivatemccauley.ca/survey/

While results are still coming in, we’re starting to see common themes and opportunities. Here are a few highlights:

Neighbourhood Garden Workshops
Gardening is a lifelong passion that includes a diverse set of skills. While one gardener might be an expert in fruit trees, another gardener might grow perfect tomatoes or beautiful roses. With so many skills to learn, there are plenty of opportunities to offer formal and informal workshops throughout the growing season.

Garden Crawls & Social Events
We keep hearing that residents want to tour each other’s gardens. Half learning opportunity, half social event, garden crawls are a great way to meet neighbourhood gardeners, explore the community, and to get new ideas.

Plant Exchanges and Seed Swaps
Dividing perennials and collecting seeds is a cost-effective way to grow a garden and share in the bounty. Neighbourhood plant exchanges would offer opportunities to meet other gardeners, access a wide variety of unique plants at low (or no) cost, and beautify the community.

A Place to Connect and Share
We are currently creating CultivateMcCauley.ca as an online resource to connect gardeners, ask questions, and share. It’s also where we’ll explore, advertise, and share information about the workshops, events, and plant exchanges mentioned above.

Sharing Our Stories
Where else in the City can you find such a deep history and culture of gardening? What other community has multiple community gardens and an orchard? I believe that McCauley has something special that’s worth growing and sharing. I believe that McCauley is Edmonton’s Gardening Community.

Visit “CultivateMcCauley.ca”:http://CultivateMcCauley.ca for more information or to get involved. 

More in this issue

Neighbourhood Views

  • Mercury Opera’s La Traviata in McCauley – A scene from Mercury Opera’s production of La Traviata at one of the matinees at Studio 96 during March. The opera also played to sold-out audiences at Chez Pierre Cabaret. Cecilia Ferreyra

  • Welcoming the Year of the Dog – Lunar New Year celebrations took place in Chinatown on February 17, organized by the Chinatown and Area Business Association. Pictured with Lion Dancers, from left: Kerry Diotte (MP Edmonton Griesbach), Frankie Lee (Director with the Chinatown and Area Business Association); Brian Mason (MLA Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood; and Mayor Don Iveson. Paula E. Kirman

  • New Mural in Chinatown – A new mural on 97 Street near 107 Avenue was unveiled in February. It was created by artist Kris Friesen with the full support of McCauley Revitalization/City of Edmonton. Paula E. Kirman

  • More Music from Musical Mamas – The Musical Mamas, a group of women singer/songwriters who meet and mostly live in or near the area, released their second volume of original music in March. Pictured is performer Sylvia Khoury. For more information visit musicalmamassociety.com. Shauna Specht

  • London Villas Hub Grand Opening – London Villas Hub’s grand opening on March 14 featured food, entertainment, and the chance to experience the new space for the first time. It is located in the former church at 9620 109 Avenue. Paula E. Kirman

Around the Neighbourhood

Volunteer With Us!

We are always looking for new writers and photographers, as well as ideas for future stories. We also regularly need block carriers to help with the delivery and distribution of the paper. Email Paula with your submissions, feedback, ideas, and availability. We also ask that contributors read our Editorial Guidelines and that all volunteers read and agree to our Code of Conduct.

Next Issue . . .

Our next issue is September. Articles and photos concerning community news, events, and opinions are welcome. We also encourage submissions of poetry, and cartoons (in JPG or PDF format). Deadline: August 12. Send submissions to: editor@bmcnews.org. Articles should be 400 words or less and accompanied by photographs (JPG, in high resolution) when possible.