The Berezan Urban Oasis
There is a yard in McCauley that has it all. If you’re tired, there’s a hammock. If you’re hungry, there are apples and carrots. If your soul is starved for peace and quiet from too much city, there are daisies blooming, butterflies flitting about, and songbirds warbling. In the winter, a blanket of snow, dotted with the tracks of rabbits and chickadees, covers the promise of spring.
Ron Berezan created this “urban oasis” on 93 Street, adding elements year by year as he brought his vast knowledge of permaculture to life. He then taught classes for beginning gardeners like me, teaching us to double dig, save seeds, and maximize our spaces. When he moved to B.C., he left this treasure in the good care of John Reilly and Kim O’Leary, who thankfully didn’t mind when walkers stopped to puzzle over the grey-water pond or sneak a fat purple Saskatoon.
Ron, also known as the Urban Farmer (www.theurbanfarmer.com), had a 6,000 square foot lot and a dream when he began working. He based every step of the transformation on permaculture principles which novices can study on his website: reconnect with your food, nurture biodiversity, conserve natural resources, save time and money, cultivate abundance, and generate the health and vitality of yourself and our community.
Every element is important and considered in this garden. Raindrops are captured to nurture the abundance of plant material, as does the healthy compost pile. Bathtub water creates a wetland alive with creatures and plants. Fruit trees are trained to form a border along a walkway. The garden not only produces an abundance of organic fruits, berries, herbs, and vegetables: it is beautiful, peaceful, and inspiring.
A new McCauley family will soon be moving into the big red house on the corner. I’ve no doubt that Ron’s dream will not only be nurtured but enhanced with the paraphernalia that come with small children. Perhaps the swing will once again host dolls and teddy bears.