A few hundred feet from Peterborough’s Tallwood Towers, there’s a bilingual sign in English and Arabic. The sign invites community members to enjoy and maintain a beautiful pollinator garden. Planted by twenty-five volunteers in 2017, the garden brought Syrian families who had recently moved to the area together with long-term community members to do the hard work of planting the garden and building new relationships.

Supported by a $2,000 grant from the Community Foundation, neighbours worked together to prep the site, remove overgrown brush and invasive species, till the land, and enrich the soil with compost. More than forty species of perennial and drought-tolerant native species of plants were planted in the soil, along with two fruit trees, before mulching the area to support water conservation and manage weeds. The volunteers were guided by a collaboration between three local organizations: Peterborough GreenUP, Peterborough Pollinators and the Nourish Project.

After the planting was complete, the group shared a celebratory meal with all of the community gardeners and volunteers who had helped with the project. Today, the 40 gardeners who have plots in the neighbouring community garden will benefit from a healthier and more robust pollinator habitat that is attracting more bees and butterflies to their veggie plants. And more than 400 people who live in the nearby Tallwood area are enjoying a more inviting, beautiful and sustainable neighbourhood.