Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pat asked me to read and forward (giving me her okay to change anything I thought needed changing ... and the only thing I changed was her dates, which she had wrong (close, but wrong, all of them...).
Anyway: The next work party is Sunday May 2nd -- sorry I won’t be there; I’ll be in Portland -- and the following one is Sunday May 9th, where we will discuss the New and Improved Greenway!! Both Sundays, 3:00-4:30!!
Cheers, Penny

Begin forwarded message:

Below is the report on gardening Sunday in the greenway, and my very modest proposal for rehabbing it. There is a short form for people who are very busy or who have short attention spans, and a longer, more expositional account for people who like to read War and Peace. Whichever, or both. Cheers, Pat

Hiya Brit Neighbours -- Next work party: Sunday, May 2nd at 3 p.m. to 4:30 -- just a few more weeds to remove, and a garden to re-evaluate *

A small report on weekend gardening, and a greater vision for Napier Square: Part One: The Proposal (short form): Aim: to make Napier Square Greenway a stunning, extraordinarily beautiful garden (the tour buses are already lining up in anticipation).

*Informal, individual walk-throughs of the greenway (over the next ten days) when you all have time and inclination, thinking about what might be improved

*Sunday, May 9th, a walk-about to begin to form ideas about how to spruce up the various garden areas -- from 3-4:30 p.m.

*A small garden planning committee forms -- to co-ordinate the ideas and make a schedule, a garden map/blueprint and identify good plants, access to extra soil, pavers, whatever

*Followed by a bunch of us digging and piling up soil, and moving rocks, and planting new plants and debating about where things should go, etc
Should keep us engaged for the next decade, eh?

Part Two: The Proposal (long form):

1. Takako and Pat, for the most part, were the happy gardeners on Sunday, although Ann D. came later and would have thrown herself into whatever, except that we were in the process of quitting. Takako and I had cleared out some of the weeds behind the blue screen on the Sweet Cherubim side and planted the flat of golden marjoram that we received at the Greenways party in the fall. The plants look very beautiful; they are a bright yellow-green and match the feverfew also growing in that area. An unintended consequence but lovely nonetheless. So when Ann arrived, the three of us sat around and talked a bit about the garden and how it might be improved (an interesting event, since we usually don’t have time to do that).

2. It’s not that it isn’t a beautiful garden: it is. But we could see several ways that it could be made outstanding, and now is the time to start thinking and planning to upgrade from good to better to best.

3. Ann made the point that it would be more interesting if there were some changes in grade, and we agreed. She mentioned that North Van recycling centre (I think that was it, or was it the dump?) sells regular garden soil and compost for $31 a yard, and also sells augmenters for soil (maybe at the same price?). I immediately thought about the Drive Organics side of the greenway, with its underlying hard-pan (about 6 inches down), and realized that we could bring in more soil (both Ann and Wayne have trucks), build that side up, contour the ground and have much better possibilities for growing and showing off the plants. This would necessitate lifting plants and resettling them after the soil is mounded, but that wouldn’t be all that difficult (and we usually do have enough hands to make the work light).

4. Then on my way home, I thought about maybe scheduling a walk-about to seriously consider how we could make each of the beds more engaging -- thinking about the different seasons, the amount of light available, contoured landscapes, and a larger array of plant material. This wouldn’t be done all at once, obviously, but I think it’s time we had an overall plan for making Napier Square spectacular, or at least the start of one!!! And yes, I think we can do it!

5. So, I am proposing that we schedule a time to look and get ideas, perhaps the weekend after next (Sunday, May 9th) in our regular Sunday time slot at 3 p.m. for anyone who wants to take part in the discussion and the planning, or who just wants to be there, weeding and listening.
(People are encouraged to walk through the greenway before May 9th and think about how it might be improved, it’s called getting a head start!) Then maybe one or two of us could translate the ideas generated into a planting plan and schedule (since we’d have to plan first on getting more soil -- maybe the City could help us with that), perhaps buying some new plants/shrubs this year, certainly getting more bulbs to put in this fall, and etc. It could be as much as a three to five year plan, to make it more do-able.

6. I know this sounds a bit over-the-top, but I was amazed at how neat and tidy the greenway actually is already, especially because we have started earlier this year, and I really think that it’s time to envision where we are going with it, and defining where we want to go -- and then, going for it! Creating a jewel in the heart of East Vancouver. What could be wrong with that?

7. All comments and responses cheerfully accepted; whaddya think? There it is, kids. Let’s put on a show!

Cheers, Pat

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fwd: Vancouver East end house available for 5 weeks for low rent - summer 2010

Forwarding for Eva...

Begin forwarded message:

From: Eva Sharell <>
Date: April 24, 2010 7:25:56 PM PDT
To: Penny Street <>
Subject: Fwd: Vancouver East end house available for 5 weeks for low rent - summer 2010

Hi Penny,  This is not related to Brit. Neighbours at all, but could you send it out to everyone please ...

 Our House:  2 bedrooms  plus den with double futon is available from June 21 - July 28 .  Available for low rent to responsible person(s).  Please phone Eva or email

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Notes from Britannia Neighbours Meeting 15 April 2010

Sorry it took me so long to get these notes out to you, but I've been dealing with a fractured knee cap!

First of all, we decided that instead of scheduling and announcing every work party separately, we will just have one every Sunday, starting next week, April 25th, 3:00-4:30 … and whoever is able to come, great. How does that sound? I'll be a bit out of commission for a little while because of my knee, but the tools are down there and there is always litter pick-up and weeding to do!

We have stored a lot of our tools in the Info Centre but we should store them in our storage area instead so they aren't in the way in the Info Centre. I have a set of keys if anyone needs them.

We have $9,477.91 in the bank — of which $5000 has been promised as a contribution to the new Britannia sign & "clock tower" which will go in the greenway — but we were talking about what we might want to buy.

Pat suggested that we provide nice snacks for our work parties.

We want to have a sandwich board made that advertises "Britannia Neighbours in Action" and invites people (who are strolling through the greenway while we are working) to join us. It will have a little rack for flyers/brochures which will describe our group and give the URL to our Web site and blogs. Jane will provide plastic racks for the sandwich board for brochures (4) and flyers (1). There's a good print shop on Powell at Victoria near JJ Bean who might be able to make us our sign. Ann has a kids' chalkboard that we could use that would be the perfect size. Helen volunteered to work on the sign design.

I suggested we buy a Lee Valley curly hose, but I was talking to Katherine the day after our meeting and she says we have a couple of perfectly adequate curly hoses in our storage area, so we probably don't need one. Katherine will be back in the neighbourhood and will be watering again this summer! Yay!

We will want to buy some new plants. Pat says no pernicious plants! Herbacious! It seems that most of our hostas have been stolen. (The ones at Florida Market have been stolen too.)

Pat will contribute a "Nine Bark" which the bees will like.

The bees are back, by the way. Ann and I met with Hartley in the greenway on April 7th and reinstalled the bee condo and populated it with cocoons.


We decided that we would fund a Britannia Elementary School Field Trip to Van Dusen Garden ... We agreed that I would talk to the Britannia Elementary principal Greg Barnes and that Jane would contact Van Dusen to find out what the procedure is and what the cost would be. I talked to Greg on Friday and he was quite delighted. He suggested a grade 3 class whose teacher is very keen about teaching science. I think he said there were about 15 kids in the class. He said the Britannia lunch program would provide lunches for the kids (but maybe we could put together 15 gardening packages for the kids or something??). And I said that if there weren't enough chaperones, that a Britannia Neighbour or two might well be able to go along to help out. We would pay for transportation and for Van Dusen entry fees. So we left it that Greg would get in touch with the teacher and would then get back to us — me and Jane — to make more specific arrangements. It's not an easy time for the folks in the schools right now with the huge funding shortfall, so this was a good time to make this gesture! (Pat has since suggested that because the class has only 15 kids, maybe we could send two classes. To be continued…)

Plans for this year's garden tour are going ahead nicely. Ann has started publicity (Gardens West, Gardenwise, store newsletters, the Straight, The Sun, the Artery, etc.) We have the Library display case reserved for the week before the tour and we will be having a table at the Trout Lake Farmers Market on June 12th (Jane).

Janet says we have an artist working on our brochure and it will be somewhat flashier and Glen is happy. The tour this year is Victoria–Lakewood on 6th and 7th.

Pat will give me a list of e-mails so we can send reminder message to people who have gone on the tour in previous years. The first one will be soon and will just be a "save the date" message and reminding people to check the blog.



Monday, April 12, 2010

The Environmental Youth Alliance is sponsoring a Seed Swap at Strathcona Community Garden on Saturday, April 17, 10:00-1:00.
Bring your seeds to swap ... or, if you have no seeds, no problem! There will be plenty o' seeds to go around.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Brit Neighbours Meeting Date Changed! Thursday April 15th, 7:00.

Hi folks,
Pat can't meet on April 13th (because it turns out that she has a Brit Rink Committee meeting that night) so she and I decided to move the Britannia Neighbours meeting to Thursday April 15th, 7:00. Boardroom at Brit. Please come if you can.
We'll make plans for spring (planting flowers, sandwich board for our work parties to tell passers-by who we are and invite them to join us, etc.) ... and also, we've been offered ongoing compost from the people at Drive Organics, so we should think about the best places to put it when the time comes.
Cheers and hope to see you.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Greenway cleanup and meeting...

Hi folks,
We've scheduled a short work party for this Sunday (April 4th) from 3:00-4:30 in the Greenway.
And a Brit Neighbours meeting for Tuesday April 13th at 7:00 in the Brit Board Room (or meeting room if the Board Room is not available).
Please come -- both or either -- if you can.
At the work party, we'll tidy up and weed, and at the meeting, we'll make our plans for the spring, which the weather people are predicting will be warm and lovely for April, May, and June!