On Mother’s Day, The Land Conservancy of BC co-hosted a BBQ event that saw approximately 75 people attend Welland Legacy Park and Community Orchard. TLC partnered with the Greater Victoria Green Team and LifeCycles to bring volunteers together for the start of the summer season, as well as celebrating LifeCycles receiving a $12,500 grant from TD Green Streets for orchard programming. Congratulations LifeCycles! This incredibly useful funding will help Julia (JJ) Ford, orchard coordinator, develop workshops and maintain the orchard. TLC holds a covenant on Welland Orchard and is very happy to partner with LifeCycles to bring energy and attention to this productive site.
“The Welland Legacy Park is an incredible local resource for community and backyard-scale fruit growing in our region,” said Maurita Prato, LifeCycles executive director. “(It’s) completely unique in Canada in terms of the diversity and quantity of established fruit trees in a public space.”
The afternoon started with a tour of the orchard, given by the orchard coordinator herself. JJ described how Rex Welland, previous owner of the property and the one who started it all, planted varieties of apple, pear, plum, hazelnut, fig, grapes, kiwi, paw paw and other trees over the course of his life. She also told participants that Rex was one of the first people to build mason bee “hotels”! These solitary bees do not live in hives like the well-known honeybee. Instead, they prefer to seek out small, tube-like crevices that their larvae hatch in, stuffing tasty pollen and nectar in for the newly emerging bees to feast on before joining the world. They do not build their own cavities, so rely on being able to find suitable places. Thus, Rex developed the mason bee “hotel”, comprised of paper rolled into tubes about the shape of a pencil, and stacked on top of one another. Providing housing to these important pollinators greatly improves the chances of them sticking around to pollinate your fruit trees, so this was not completely altruistic! However, everyone wins when a mason bee decides to stick around. Although they don’t make honey, they also hardly ever sting – only the female has a stinger, and she prefers not to use it. Three cheers for mason bees!
After the orchard tour, a short thank-you ceremony was held to appreciate the generosity of TD Green Streets. After a few cheers, the music began! Chikoro Marimba, a local marimba band, entertained the crowd for two hours with beautiful music that one participant described as sounding like “fairies were having a party”! They even brought along additional instruments so children could play too, and somewhere along the way bubbles appeared which only added to the fairy-like atmosphere.
Food and drink were generously donated by Hoyne Brewing Co. and Thrifty Foods, so everyone left with a full belly, and maybe a sunburn from relaxing on the grass in the warm sunshine.
Thank you to everyone that came out – it was a beautiful way to connect with the community, and we hope your mom enjoyed being there too! We can’t wait to do it again.