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Free plants boost biodiversity of Bowker Creek banks in Oak Bay

Volunteers plant camas bulbs, wildlife seeds to burst forth come spring
While moving their native seed field, Satinflower Nurseries offered community members the opportunity to dig up and keep large quantities of plants that wouldn’t be making the move, free of charge. Some now grow adjacent to Bowker Creek in Oak Bay. (Bowker Creek Salmon Recovery/Facebook)

Beneath the snow and ice along Bowker Creek, dozens of new bulbs and seeds await spring.

Late fall saw a surprising rush of new native plantings tucked in adjacent to the waterway that crosses Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay before heading to the Salish Sea.

Over the last few years, the Learning Circle native plant bed at the Monteith Allotment Garden has been invaded by weeds and non-native grasses, according to the Friends of Bowker Creek. The weeds crowded the original plantings and deer gnawed and what few flowers bloomed.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay society shares thrill of finding fish fry swimming in Bowker

Volunteers with the Friends of Bowker Creek tackled the problem, restoring and reseeding the bed using a sheet mulching technique – laying biodegradable cardboard to smother weeds and prevent existing seed bank from growing back, then covering it with fresh soil. They sowed bulbs of both common and great camas along with seeding 17 native species of wildflowers and grasses of mostly deer-resistant native plant seeds

Then in mid-December a whole host of free plants landed in the laps of those restoring the creek.

The deer-resistant seed mix came from from Satinflower Nurseries, while Wylie Thomas donated two species of native grass seed from Uplands Park and resident Louise Goulet donated camas bulbs and wildflower seeds.

READ ALSO: Out of the streambed gravel comes harbinger of waning pollution in Oak Bay creek

Mid-December Satinflower also gave an biodiversity boost to another segment of the creek. The nursery is moving its native seed field from Cordova Bay to Metchosin and offered community members to come dig up plants that couldn’t make the move.

Oak Bay High teachers Derek Shrubsole and Koji Zolbrod collected a truckload of native plants and got them in the ground of on the banks of the creek near the school. The creekside there has suffered in recent years with drought, heat, trampling and overeating wildlife.

READ ALSO: Oak Bay woman tracks Bowker water, temperature levels to keep chum eggs healthy


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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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