|SCC Native Plant Garden and Garry Oak Restoration Project|
Garry Oak ecosystems are one of the most threatened ecosystems in Canada; less than 5% are in natural or near-natural condition. Urban development has largely displaced the Garry Oak meadows on most of Southern Vancouver Island, and invasive plants such as Scotch Broom and English Ivy have all but taken over what remains. While mature oak trees can be found throughout the capital region, young trees are relatively uncommon, and intact Garry Oak ecosystems are extremely rare. A few relatively healthy Garry Oak ecosystems can still be found in parks such as Mill Hill and Lone Tree Hill.
The good news is that organizations, such as the Garry Oak Ecosystem Recovery Team, along with several Greater Victoria municipalities, have begun initiatives to preserve and restore Garry Oak ecosystems. Even a small restoration project such as this one can make a difference; it fits nicely into the Royal Oak Local Area Plan (2001) and contributes to the "green corridor" and the "urban forest" which the municipality is trying to conserve.
SCC Native Plant Garden
The mature Garry Oak and Douglas Fir trees on the church property hint at the vegetation that was present on the site before it was developed. Our goal is to reintroduce native plant species that would likely have grown under these trees as part of a Garry Oak ecosystem. Some of these plants have been purchased, but a large number have been "rescued" from local development sites under the Municipality of Saanich's Native Plant Salvage Program - the only funded municipal plant rescue program in Canada! These salvaged plants include the bulbs of chocolate lily, fawn lily, native onions, shooting stars, and camas. Garry Oak seedlings, shrubs (ex. Red Flowering currant), and other wildflowers will hopefully be added over time. As the garden matures, these plants will provide valuable food and habitat for birds, insects (ex. butterflies) and other wildlife.