What we're doing
OWEN SOUND HOSPITAL NATURALIZATION
We're been busy this past spring and summer in spite of restrictions placed upon us by the pandemic. And we're going to be busier than ever in October.
October 2020 Plans
Starting the first of October we will be planting over 200 trees both in the Forest of Hope and Healing and along the south west portion of the Healing Path. The trees we are planting this fall will vary in height from 2 to 10 feet.
We also need to prepare trees previously planted for the winter. Last year we had some tree destruction by rodents so we need to make sure the trees are protected with wraps. Mulching around young trees helps to stabilize ground temperature around the trees, preventing damage from ground movement or any freeze/thaw cycles.
We are earnestly seeking volunteers to assist with this work. Should we have more volunteers available than the current outdoor gathering numbers permitted, we will split into groups and work on distant areas of the hospital grounds. If you are available any Thursday or Saturday morning in October, please let us know here.
The Healing Path
Plans for the Healing Path are well under way. Professional trail developer Zane Davies has been consulted and the trail mapped out around the entire hospital. The dotted line on the map opposite gives you a rough idea of the path layout. Although we did not get the southwest corner of the path excavated as we hoped, it is delineated by the mowing pattern. Some trees have all ready been planted in this area but we will be planting many more due to a generous donation from TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. The donation will also allow us to purchase smaller trees and shrubs in the spring.
In addition to the trees we will be preparing two areas for spring planting of a perennial meadow-garden. Not only will the meadow garden provide esthetic variety and habitat for wildlife, it will ensure proper sight lines for the helicopter landing pad, an important safety consideration. These areas are represented by the pink flowers on the diagram.
The Welcoming Garden
The Welcoming Garden on the island at the main hospital entrance is well underway. Early this summer the ground was excavated, new soil deposited, and mulch laid in preparation for the dwarf pear trees and perennials planted by our Garden committee. This fall we are adding shrubs and will be planting several hundred fall bulbs. The first plantings are September 24 - 26. All help appreciated!
To realize our vision of hospital grounds which can be enjoyed by hospital patients, visitors, staff, and the general community means we are in this for the long haul. It means not only planting but caring for what we plant. This is one reason we ask for help. Not only do we need more hands, we want to ensure the hospital naturalization project belongs to the community.
In 2017, NeighbourWoods North met with staff at Grey Bruce Health Services to discuss the possibility of naturalizing the hospital grounds to improve the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of patients, visitors, staff and community. In 2018, planting of The Forest of Hope and Healing was begun. Additionally a spruce windbreak was planted across from the Emergency Room entrance and flowering crabapples to line the laneway.
Last year we continued to care for the Forest: replacing trees that didn't make it, planting more trees, mulching, watering, and mowing. We continue to work on the Forest in 2020 although on a smaller scale due to the pandemic. We've added a Welcoming Garden at the hospital entrance and begun planting trees in the southwest area of the grounds, across from the helicopter pad.