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Oshawa’s gardens may not bloom due to pandemic

The city’s gardens may not bloom this year due to working restrictions set by the Ontario government amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. (City of Oshawa photo)

By Courtney Bachar/The Oshawa Express/LJI Reporter

Oshawa’s gardens may not bloom this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lindsay Allward, the city’s parks and waste operations manager, says the city’s Beautification 2020 plan has been paused since it was deemed non-essential as part of the province’s action to help stop the spread of the virus.

“At this time, we’re still hoping to proceed with Beautification 2020, the problem is the essential service list,” says Allward, adding she hopes they will be included in the essential services update the province is announcing on May 12.

“If it’s lifted at that time, we hope to proceed with our beautification program, but it’s all up in the air right now.”

Allward says city parks and gardens are maintained by the horticulture branch of the parks department, which looks after more than 100 annual beds and more than 200 buffer strips and shrub beds across the city.

Plants and flowers for the city gardens are all grown in the city’s greenhouse. Plans for the current year’s garden season happens months in advance, however Allward says the greenhouse is currently operating at a reduced level and city gardens will remain bare until the province’s non-essentials ban is lifted.

While the gardens around the city may not happen, Allward says there are things residents can do at their homes to beautify their own lawns and gardens.

Allward says proper watering and manually maintaining the weeds will also help to keep your lawns and gardens healthy.

“Every lawn benefits from raking and aerating, which can still easily be done, as well as improving your soil quality,” she says, noting instead raking up leaves leftover from last year, they can be mulched and added to your garden, which will add nutrients to your soil.

And, for those residents who do want to partake in some outdoor spring cleaning, while regional waste facilities are closed, residents can still leave their waste at the curb for pickup.