Ravine planting

(Question)

I live on the banks of the Humber River in Toronto. Last July, during the heavy rain storm, a lot of the foliage on the face of the ravine was washed away. There was also some undercutting. Are there any perennials that I could plant, that would grown there? It is a dry shade area, with sandy soil and gets late day sun only.

Thank you for your help with this.

(Answer)

Dear gardener, thank you for contacting the Toronto Master Gardeners with your query.

Erosion due to water or landslides is a problem we are facing in our ravines. Planting to stabilize the soil is always a wonderful way to avoid erosion. When you are near a ravine the key is to plant non-invasive native plants. Both the City of Toronto and the Toronto Region Conservation Authorities (TRCA) work together to help the public preserve the ecosystem of the ravines. Here is a very comprehensive article on the importance of ravine planting which you may find interesting:  Ravines and Natural Features

As a ravine owner there are a couple of things you should know, the TRCA has put a document that will help you understand how erosion affects your garden: https://www.trca.on.ca/protect/erosion-management/

In terms of native perennials for your sandy, dry shade conditions, I am attaching a document from the City of Toronto listing the best suitable plants for each area: click here

I also wanted to make you aware of invasive plants that should NOT be planted in a ravine environment. To consult the Ontario Invasive Plant Council, click here.

I know I have given you quite a bit of ‘homework’ to read but conservation of ravine is key to the preservation of our ecosystem and you are one of the fortunate people who can contribute directly to save this precious asset.

Have fun planting!