Monday, July 20, 2015

Urquhart Butterfly Garden

It was a perfect morning at the Urquhart Butterfly Garden (1992) in Dundas. Photographers and a couple of families with small children milled about while I chatted with Joanna Chapman, the founder of this beautiful paradise and haven for pollinators of all kinds. She tells me that the original purpose of the garden was to show people what a garden without pesticides and herbicides could look like. “It is so much more now,” Joanna comments.

"We seem to be on the right track," I say, so many people understand the importance of growing habitat.

All well and good but Joanna still has concerns: while people are growing habitat in their own spaces and naturalizing their backyards, what is required is long swaths of habitat, along side our roads and highways. This is important because of the amount of sunshine available for wildflowers to thrive in.

About Weeds
People are getting the idea that they don't need to have a manicured lawn, but they still need to understand what a weed is. "Weeds are important host plants for caterpillars that will grow into butterflies," Joanne says.

Take action
What can you do? You can write your councillor and tell them you want to see more road side pollinator habitat like they have in Highway 40 Prairie Passage in Lambton, Ontario and the Green Highway in Texas.

You can tweet them too. Use the hastag #hamiltonroadsidehabitat Let's make this thing happen!

Urquhart Butterfly Garden's awesome Summer Series of free public workshops and guided identification walks led by experts in the field continues this summer. Check out their website. I will be sure to attend the August 29th "Making the Community a Pollinator Haven" to get more tips on making Hamilton a pollinator friendly city and getting our city planners and councillors on board!

They are also offering a photo competition! Deadline is August 30th.