Rose wins ‘civil’ War of the Roses; Oshawa re-launching Adopt-a-Giving Garden program

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Published May 25, 2022 at 2:03 pm

After considerable debate on the committee floor and somewhat less so at Council, Oshawa has decided to keep the Rose as its official flower, despite a campaign by the Oshawa Garden Club to change it to the Peony.

The War of the Roses was decided at committee eight days ago when the Rose – first adopted as the City’s Official Flower in 1953 – was chosen to hold its honoured place, despite the wishes of the Oshawa Garden Club and despite the will of the people who voted overwhelmingly in a recent survey to adopt the Peony as the official flower.

Staff asked the people what they thought in a series of public engagements between March 14 and April 11. The response was clear: of 284 people who responded to the survey, 83 per cent were in favour of changing the official flower to the Peony.

The Peony is the flower that put Oshawa on the national horticultural map because of the award-winning and wildly successful Peony Festival. And it is because of the success of the Peony Festival, which attracts gardeners and flower lovers from across Ontario each year to see one of Canada’s largest contemporary Peony collections in bloom at the Oshawa Botanical Gardens, that the Oshawa Garden Club petitioned the City in December to change its official flower status from Rose to Peony.

But the poor Peony had little chance in a Council who were mostly wearing rose-coloured glasses. Even the council agenda seemed stacked against the Peony, with the summary citing staff as ‘recommending’ Council stick with the Rose, when in fact they had simply put the ball in Council’s court and said choose.

Which the Development Services Committee did last Monday, choosing the Rose.

The vote at Tuesday’s Council meeting was 6-3.

In other Oshawa floral news, the Adopt-a-Giving Garden program will take root for a third season at Oshawa City Hall with the City partnering with the Oshawa Garden Club and Feed the Need in Durham.

The Adopt-a-Giving Garden Program was launched in 2020 to address food insecurity caused by COVID-19. Since then, a total of 1,400 pounds of fresh produce has been harvested from select annual garden beds on the north side of City Hall – all in support of Feed the Need in Durham. These garden beds were converted from flower gardens to vegetable gardens, which have been adopted by Oshawa Garden Club volunteers, with support from City Operations staff.

This will be the third season that volunteer gardeners have planted, maintained and harvested the giving gardens which will produce more fresh vegetables for donation to Feed the Need Durham.

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