Friends of Uplands Park Kevin Webber

Bushwhacking to better Uplands Park

Participants can learn to lop at Broom Bash

Enthusiasm abounds around the annual Broom Bash, despite the mostly absent Scotch broom in Uplands Park.

Scotch broom was eradicated in the park through a Girl Guides program in the early 1990s, explains a co-chair of the Friends of Uplands Park that spearheads work in the Oak Bay greenspace.

“The Garry oak ecosystems are the natural ecosystems of Greater Victoria and they are one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada and globally,” said Margaret Lidkea.

The ecosystem is also culturally important, she added, as the original garden for the Songhees Nation.

“Our volunteer hours last year allowed Parks to apply for a federal grant of almost $35,000,” Lidkea said. “Oak Bay Parks was able to hire trained people to go into parks and remove some of the bigger invasive plants.”

The annual Oak Bay Broom Bash in Uplands Park on Oct. 18 and 19 will focus on the smaller remaining invasive plants.

Friends of Uplands Park will work with residents and volunteers to hand-remove invasive plants alongside the Greater Victoria Green Team.

With the broom gone, now volunteers focus on demolishing Daphne laurel, European ash and especially the throttling English ivy.

“It climbs up the trees and constricts the tree growth, it essentially girdles the tree,” said Kevin Webber, of the Friends of Uplands Park.

Rain or shine, the annual Broom Bash runs Saturday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 19 from 1 to 4 p.m.

“We want families to come. It’s important to connect people with their outdoor areas,” Lidkea said. “We want people to bring their friends and family but tools as well.”

Dress appropriately for working among the trees and tools such as loppers and saws will be put to good use. No experience is necessary, they will train on proper removal of the plants.

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