Denley: Let's (finally) get behind a botanical garden for Ottawa

By Randall Denley, Ottawa Citizen, June 18, 2019

Why do good ideas have such a difficult time in this city? Too often things that are the norm elsewhere are considered beyond the scope of our civic imagination. For example, botanical gardens are featured in cities around the world. Many have been in place since the 19th century, and yet Ottawa is still struggling to get one started.

Determined community volunteers have been trying to create a botanical garden at the Central Experimental Farm for more than 20 years, and that’s only the latest effort. The original plan for the experimental farm called for a botanical garden to supplement the Fletcher Wildlife Garden and the Arboretum. That was back in 1886. We don’t do things in a hurry here.

Finally, the group championing what they call “Canadensis: The Garden of Canada,” is making real progress, but there is a long way to go. The volunteers are unveiling an arty sun shelter this Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the experimental farm site, where they hope to eventually build a 34-acre garden. It is an attempt to draw attention to an idea whose time has come, and then some.

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