Native garden plants seeds for path to unity in Colwood – Saanich News

Spirits of unity and growth echoed clearly and clearly in the song and prayers shared by Elder Sit-a-luk Raymond Peter at the official opening of the Native and Pollinator Garden at Colwood Town Hall.

“It’s exciting to open the garden because it will root us in our past and guide us to our future,” said Peter, or Elder Rick, known for his work as an Indigenous education advisor for the school district. by Sooke.

“It’s pretty impressive to see the garden work get to this point. It is the culmination of a lot of hard work. The closest translation I can make into our culture is that the good feelings that have evolved are part of this work. We have been taught to never be stingy with our teachings because we have to give it back for the unity of all to come together.

Peter, a Cowichan First Nation member who lives in Beecher Bay, thanked volunteer garden coordinator Jay Ruryk for his dedication and research in helping to run the garden.

“I have always enjoyed the days I spent with Jay,” added Peter. “His influence and hard work are truly inspiring. “

“The garden means we can use native plants native to the island and coast of British Columbia,” said Ruryk, a recent Royal Bay High School graduate with a predominantly Cree Aboriginal heritage, but also includes Métis and Haida. “Many of these plants are edible and have medicinal value. There are a lot of good uses for them.

After acknowledging that everyone is standing on traditional Coast Salish lands, Colwood Mayor Rob Martin said city council and staff have been inspired by the growth of the Colwood Community Garden over the years. Last 10 years.

“I remember the energy that went into starting this garden,” recalls Martin. “The new native and pollinating garden will anchor us in our past and guide us into the future. It is a blessing to be able to share this land and to raise our families together.

Barbara Sibbald, past president of the Colwood Garden Society which oversees the community garden, is thrilled to be a part of the project and thanked Colwood’s board for helping fund the project through a Community Spaces Grant.

“The native plants in the garden will support a greater variety of insects,” she said. “Some species are completely dependent on specific native plants for survival, such as the endangered Karner’s blue butterfly. Over the next few years, we hope to see these plants grow and spread, and more road signs and a path will be added. “

Sibbald also thanked volunteers and sponsors Josh Driver of Clear Sky Yard Maintenance and Chris Sibbald of Bedwetter’s Irrigation for their support.

Lindsay Lockhart helped Ruryk with her makeup after the remarks were over.

Lockhart, an indigenous Na’tsa’maht and ESD education teacher with SD62, explained that white sage was used during the cleansing ceremony to cleanse the garden of any negative energy.

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Town of Colwood, West Shore Native Gardening

Colwood Mayor Rob Martin speaks on July 2 at the official opening of the Indigenous and Pollinator Garden, which has been added to the Colwood Town Hall Community Garden. (Rick Stiebel / Press staff)