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Butterfly & Pollinator Garden at the Dundas Valley Trail Centre

After planting

Dundas Valley Pollinator Garden

The Dundas Valley Trail Centre now has a new pollinator garden located just outside the education portable. The area was prepped in 2015 and planted this year. The garden not only makes the area more attractive visually, but will help all of our local pollinators.

 

Butterfly & Pollinator Garden
Studies have shown that pollinator populations have drastically declined.  These beneficial small creatures are under pressure from loss of habitat, loss of food sources, disease, and pesticides. Pollinators include butterflies, bees, flies, moths, other insects, Hummingbirds, and even bats!

Prepping for planting

Prepping for planting

The goal of the Butterfly & Pollinator Garden is to create an environment that attracts butterflies and other pollinators by planting native species of plants to provide food, nesting and overwintering habitat for all of their life stages. You can also include other items in the garden such as; butterfly, bat & bee houses and a shallow sandy, wet area forpuddling . Puddling is the behavior of butterflies when they sip water from shallow puddles on the ground. The water in the puddles has absorbed minerals from the soil below. Butterflies need these minerals to supplement their diet of nectar.

The butterfly population, specifically the Monarch Butterfly is rapidly declining.  Many butterflies are becoming less abundant as a result of habitat destruction and fragmentation, and they do not feed on the plants normally found in gardens.

 Benefits of Butterfly & Pollinator Gardens

  • One of every three bites of food we eat is dependent on pollinators
  • Pollinators pollinate over 90% of all flowering plants
  • Pollinators are an important food source for birds, bats and other animals
  • Solitary Bees nest in the ground, build tunnels that improve soil texture, mix nutrients into the soil, the tunnels help water to get down into the soil to the roots of plants
  • Butterflies and moths are indicators of a healthy ecosystem, like  the "canaries in a coal mine," the declining health of butterfly populations can alert people to problems in the ecosystem
  • You can help ensure the survival of Monarch butterflies by planting Milkweed in your garden, the larvae (caterpillars) of monarch butterflies ONLY eat milkweed

 

Potential Planting List for Pollinator Gardens - there are lots more!

Plant Height Flower Timing Sun/Shade Preference
Big blue stem < 2m N/A Full sun
Virginia wild rye < 2m N/A Full sun
Woodland sunflower < 1.5m July-September Partial shade
Allium (giant onion) <1.5m April-June Full sun
Bergamot < 1.2m June-September Full sun
Wild columbine < 1m May-June Partial shade
Black eyed Susan < 1m June-October Full sun
Grass leafed goldenrod < 1m June-September Full sun
Wild blue flag iris 60-90cm May-August Full/partial sun
Garden iris 60-90cm May Full/partial sun
New England aster < 85cm August-October Full sun
Butterfly weed < 75cm June-August Full sun
Allium 35-90cm May-June Full sun
White snakeroot 30-90cm July-October Full/partial sun
Wild geranium 30-70cm April-June Full/partial sun
Corepsis lanceolata 30-60cm May-July Full/partial sun
Daffodil (large cup/trumpet varieties) 20-60cm April-May Full/partial sun
Bleeding heart < 45cm May-June Partial sun
Wild garlic 15-20cm April-June Full/partial sun
Barren strawberry < 20cm May-June Partial shade
Crocus 7-10cm March Full/partial sun
Autumn Crocus 7-10cm September Full/partial sun

 

The flowers of the Wild Garlic attract pollinators. Deer and other small animals are discouraged from eating it because of its strong onion smell.

Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed plants produce lots of bright orange blooms that are attractive to a variety of butterflies. Butterfly Milkweed is a very important food source for Monarch caterpillars.

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