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Champlain Park Native Pollinator Garden

Why we started a Native Pollinator Garden

Native pollinators (native bees such as bumble bees, sweat bees, and leaf cutter bees, wasps, hover flies, butterflies, etc.) and their native host plants are important to healthy ecosystems. Native pollinators are also critical to agriculture, for example by pollinating fruit trees, food crops and shrubs.

Native pollinators and their host plants are in decline because of invasive plant species, pesticide use (neonicitinoids for insects, roundup for wild plants), climate change (especially drought) and loss of wild habitat.

A native pollinator garden requires less maintenance than an ornamental flower garden and provides ecosystem services beyond pollination such as providing food plants for butterflies and insect food for songbirds.

How we created the garden

  1. With support from the Champlain Park Community Association and Councillor Jeff Leiper, we depaved Pontiac Avenue between Carleton and Cowley. The Association’s ‘pit crew’ then removed fences, stumps and landscaped the site with soil and a rock border.

  2. We chose different native plants that flower at different times. This supports pollinators throughout the growing season, and provides food for caterpillars.

  3. We selected different flower shapes and colours to help different pollinators.

  4. We obtained some plants from the Fletcher Wildlife Garden and grew others indoors from wild seed.

  5. Dedicated student volunteers watered all summer.

Representative species we planted are:

  • Spring flowers: Columbine, Wild geranium, Prairie Smoke, Prairie Crocus, False Indigo, False Solomon seal, Hairy Beardtongue

  • Summer flowers: Cup plant, Compass plant, Wild Lupine, Red Beebalm, Queen of the Prairie, Goats Beard, Cardinal Flower, Echinacea, Giant Hyssop, False Sunflower, Brown-eyed Susan, Mountain Mint ,Yarrow, Mad Dog Skullcap, Evening Primrose

  • Fall flowers: Blazing star, Turtle Head, Goldenrods, Asters, Great Blue Lobelia (white & blue variants), Pearly Everlasting

  • Cultural and exhibition plants: Ceremonial tobacco, Heather, Sunflower, Cosmos, Canna, Catnip

  • Shrubs: Bush Honeysuckle, Redbud, Shrubby St john’s Wort

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