Garden Ministry

We work to foster, develop, and preserve the beauty and vitality of the unique garden spaces at St. Gabriel’s as an inspiration for the congregation and a habitat for the creatures that make their home there. By virtue of the great window in the church, the garden becomes an extension of our worship space, reminding us of God’s gift of the natural world. St. Gabriel’s church architecture and the garden are symbols of our community’s care for the Earth and invite parishioners to live a relationship with other Earth communities in which we all can thrive.

The Story of St. Gabriel’s Garden

In 2017, a 3-year project was begun to renew the north garden and the garden immediately south of the great window in the church. Robert Cordy, Organic Horticulturist, was hired to design and install the new gardens. The south garden was immediately planted with cover crops of rye, radish and clover to nourish and break up the soil. These cover crops continued replenishing the soil in 2018.

In 2018, the north garden was installed as an interactive urban orchard. The three beds were prepared using a technique called Hugelkultur, which encourages moisture retention and the natural fertilization that comes from organic decomposition. The smallest bed, planted with lavender, is a sensory garden. The mid-sized bed is a blueberry patch with six varieties of blueberries that fruit sequentially throughout the summer months. The largest bed contains a variety of fruit-bearing trees and shrubs with an understory of flowering plants. Log signs identify the plantings.

The redevelopment of the south garden was largely completed in the spring of 2019 but the remaining development, slated for the spring of 2020 was interrupted by the pandemic. This garden, like the north garden, is a micro-forest of fruit trees designed to feed both the human and the wildlife communities and “meadow” beds of indigenous, herbaceous perennials and flowers that add beauty and serenity to the view from the great window of the church. Its off-set swale layout encourages retention of moisture and efficient drainage from the site and its mulched pathways entice meanderings.

The south garden also encompasses a community garden of raised beds that provides fresh produce for the Good Shepherd Ministries.

Parishioners themselves created two “donation” gardens at the north and south ends of the property and populated them with perennials from the bounty of their own gardens.

Weekly Update

Congratulations to the hardworking confirmands Alice Leung, Cassandra Victorine, Édouard Taylor, Jay Wang, Mark Viado, Richard Antigua and Ryan Jung! In devoting service hours to the care of the garden, they have improved both its health and appearance.

On Saturday, May 14, the members of the Garden Ministry built two new planting boxes, which greatly increases our capacity to grow food for the Good Shepherd Ministries. We also planted carrots, cucumber, squash, tomatoes, radish, green onions, parsley, and beans, and set up our rainwater harvesting system.

Plant growth at this time of year is staggering and that includes weeds. Help us keep them under control: one hour a day can make a difference. Join the Garden Ministry! Email us at sgpgardenministry@gmail.com

Meetings

The Garden Ministry meets on the second Sunday of each month at 1:30, after the 12:30 mass. Our meetings are held via Zoom. If you would like to attend, please email sgpgardenministry@gmail.com.

Garden Video

You are invited to take a virtual tour of the garden by clicking on the heading “An Invitation from our Garden Ministry” on the right hand side of this page. Follow it up with an in-person stroll through the gardens!

Reflective Garden Walk Guides

Companion for the Walk of the Stations of the Cosmic Earth

St. Gabriel’s Garden – Guided Sensory Reflective Walk

Thanks

The Garden Ministry would like to acknowledge and thank several partners who are generously supporting our community garden for the Good Shepherd Ministries: Woodhill Garden Centre at 320 Steeles Ave. East and Sheridan Nurseries, for gardening supplies and tools, William Dam Seeds, Dundas, Ontario for seeds, the Home Depot at 2375 Steeles Ave. West for a rain barrel and Canadian Tire at 1019 Sheppard Ave. East for gift cards.

Contact

Join the Garen Ministry: even an hour a week makes a difference! sgpgardenministry@gmail.com


St. Gabriel’s Garden Growing News

Note: The newsletter is a PDF that will open in a new tab. It several MB and may take a few moments to download.

Growing News Volume 2 – Spring 2022

Growing News Volume 1 – Winter 2021

Growing News Volume 1 – Fall 2021

Growing News Volume 1 – Summer 2021

Growing News Volume 1 – March 2021