After 100 issues of Leaside Life, I wonder, how green is my Leaside?

The cover story that graced the first issue of Leaside Life was a green one entitled ‘Green house looking for a buyer,’ by Alison Rockwell. This was an interesting article on many levels, but it got me thinking. How green has Leaside become after 100 issues?

Some things are so subtle we hardly notice, but Leaside gardening has changed significantly over the past nine years.

Front gardens

Lawns, as we know them, are not natural to our area and yet the manicured green carpet has been the coveted Leaside look for over 60 years. But over the last decade, these blank carpets of water-sucking monoculture have slowly been taking a back seat to more responsible landscaping.

Every year I see more lawns dug up and replaced by beautiful diverse gardens filled with mixed plantings of trees, evergreens, native perennials and pollinator plants. Today the lawns that remain are looking somewhat sterile, out of place and out of touch next door to a lush garden that not only looks more beautiful (especially during a drought) but uses less water, requires no fertilizers and supports the health of our environment.

Was this just an evolving new look or a conscious choice to be greener?

The Leaside Garden Society may have had a hand in this too. Over the years, I’ve noticed a change in the guest speakers at the club. Rather than talking about how to grow roses or how to work with colour in the garden, there have been more experts talking about native plants, pollinator plants, butterfly gardens and seed saving. I’ve also noticed a change in their Gardens of Distinction selections by recognizing more diverse gardens.

Backyards

It’s not as easy to know what’s going on with Leaside backyard gardens, but I’ve been on enough Magical Gardens of Leaside tours over the years to see more than a few, and I know what’s going on in the yards of my friends and neighbours.

Unlike front yards, many backyards in Leaside still favour grass, but over the years, I’ve noticed larger decks (filled with container plants) and garden beds extended (reducing the amount of grass) to add more plants and even vegetable patches. I also notice more rain barrels every year!

It will be interesting to see how the backyards of Leaside have changed because of COVID-19.

Vertical gardening

Last month I wrote about balcony gardens and asked “What’s on yours?” This is one form of gardening that I feel Leasiders have not embraced enough and I wish they would.

I am happy to report that I received a lovely letter from a Leaside Life reader, along with photos of her beautiful garden in the sky showing her incredible collection of plants that caters to birds and butterflies. It turns out, there are sky gardeners out there – we need more of them.

I’ve also noticed more fence greening (yes that’s vertical greening too) with Virginia creeper. This is such an easy thing to do and can turn a plain fence into a lush wall that can help cool air, filter air and even feed our birds.

Time is a funny thing. It can feel like an eternity or pass like a blink of the eye. It’s all relative. But no matter how you perceive the past nine years, there’s no denying a lot has changed. And one positive change is that our Leaside gardens have become greener!

About Debora Kuchme 34 Articles
After a 30-year career as a fashion designer, Debora worked at Horticultural Design for over a decade. Now with her concerns about climate change, she hopes to help local gardeners find positive solutions for a greener and healthier neighbourhood. As a board member of the Bayview Leaside BIA, she created the Bayview Pixies, a volunteer group introducing sustainable gardening practice to Bayview.