2022 Greener Greenspace Profile
Created and cared for by a group of volunteers, the Peace Garden at Knox Metropolitan United Church in downtown Regina is an urban oasis supporting bees and other pollinators and cultivating peace.
Design and Process
The Peace Garden at Knox Metropolitan United Church is a place of beauty and reflection in the heart of downtown Regina. The garden is over two decades old but until four years ago it was badly in need of rejuvenation. The success of restoration by avid gardeners inspired the Church to triple the garden space. The extensive lawn was replaced with perennials and shrubs and a large separate area that had never been gardened or maintained was cleared and planted. The garden is layered with groundcovers, annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees. Appropriate plants were chosen for the zone and climate and are primarily natives or cultivars of natives. Non-native plants were chosen for their value to pollinators. Selections were made so that flowering occurs throughout the season.
The garden is tended with the approach that healthy soil grows healthy plants. The gardeners use organic alfalfa pellets as fertilizer occasionally, and gypsum in areas where salt from the street is a problem. They compost all of their green materials, and mulch between plants. Plant diseases are treated with compost tea or Effective Microorganisms. The diverse plantings welcome predatory insects and birds into the garden to keep pests under control. Organic Master Gardener/SOUL Practitioner, Phil Johnson, is on site during work bees to provide hands-on advice, guidance and instruction.
The garden is in a very public location in Regina's downtown core. Members of the public routinely stop and speak with volunteers about the garden, how beautiful it is, and to learn about the methods used in caring for it. Homelessness is a problem in downtown Regina, and several people sleep in the garden and church entrance. Last year, one homeless person regularly assisted with watering the new plantings during the hot, dry summer.
Not only is the garden an oasis for bees and other pollinators, it also provides an opportunity to cultivate values that are important to those involved in its care - values such as peace and justice - in a symbolic way but also through community building. The garden is a place to rest, to reflect and to provide an example of human interaction with nature that is built on harmony and respect.
The City of Regina has slowly begun to recognize the importance of biodiversity and is using more native plants in certain areas. Regina has "Tree City" designation and is planting both native and non-native trees and perennials in street medians and has reduced its use of pesticides.
SOUL recognized the Peace Garden as a Greener Greenspace in 2021 and 2022.
For more on the Peace Garden, click here.
Phil Johnson's Presentation on the Creation of the Peace Garden
Recorded on February 8, 2022
as part of SOUL's 2022 Year of the Ecological Garden Series
Greener Greenspaces is a recognition program for sites from across Canada that exemplify greener greenspace stewardship. The aim of the program is to showcase examples of ecologically-focused land care as a means to inspire others and to further the movement across Canada.