Monday, September 18, 2017

Monarch Awards 2017 Winner: Amy Taylor's Garden of Delights.

Garden of Delights
Hamilton Monarch Awards 2017 winner, Amy Taylor has been gardening for more than half of her life. The 48 year old didn’t initially start of gardening for nature, however. What’s more, in the beginning, she gardened in pots because she didn’t have an actual garden space. As a tea leaf reader, tea enthusiast and community herbalist, Amy’s interest was initially in growing medicinal herbs, rather than for habitat or even growing food. That’s when she noticed that growing medicinal herbs correlated with growing for nature. Many Ontario native plants are also medicinal plants, like Echinacea, Bloodroot, Coltsfoot, Wild Ginger, to name just a few.

When Amy and her husband Mick moved to Hamilton from Toronto ten years ago, they counted over 140 plants that they brought over with them. “When we bought our home, we knew it was up to us to be as environmentally sustainable as we could with it and the garden," Amy says. "With Hamilton having the unfortunate reputation of being dirty and polluted, we knew better as we saw the amazing green-spaces and natural habitats for wildlife." It was partly because of the escarpment and the Greenbelt around the city that made them buy in Hamilton, Amy shares, "but it was also that we recognized that we are ultimately responsible for this planet." With that realization, they sought to make their small, 100x20 foot lot of it be as environmentally viable as possible: "We joined Bullfrog Power, we installed a composter, we recycle nearly everything and we planted those first 140 plants with a vision of a better planet."

Amy talks with captivating passion about the flowers in her garden, including the likes of bloodroot, coltsfoot, buddleia (butterfly bush, which she diligently deadheads), the red flowering crab apple tree, the milkweed, goldenrod, echinacea, obedient plant which starts of stark white, then goes purple, and yellow jewelweed that grows 8 ft tall, and hides her neighbour's garage.

What’s her favourite plant? “Probably my most favourite in the garden is the Cercis canadensis, Eastern Redbud tree,” Amy responds. “My Mum and I bought this tree together. I loved it because it has heart shaped leaves, beautiful purple pink pea shaped flowers in spring and pea shaped seed pods and lovely yellow leaves in fall. We bought it because she and I are like two peas in a pod.”

Friday, September 15, 2017

Mayor to present Monarch Awards

For Immediate Release
September 15th, 2017

Hamilton, Ont--Mayor Eisenberger to present Hamilton Monarch Awards (“for gardens that nature loves, by gardeners who love nature”) to 2017 Winners.
Amy Taylor, Winner of the Monarch Awards 2017 
Mayor Fred Eisenberger will be honouring the winners of the 2017 Hamilton Monarch Awards at a ceremony in the Mayor's chambers, (City Hall), to take place on Tuesday, September 19th at 1 pm.

Now in its second year, the Monarch Awards “for gardens that nature loves, by gardeners who love nature” was created out of concern for declining insect populations, especially Monarch butterflies and bees. The award celebrates gardens and gardeners in Hamilton for their contribution to a biodiverse, sustainable environment.

“In creating the award, we wanted to recognize people who plant habitat in their yards for pollinator species and wildlife in general," says Bev Wagar, one of the creators for this initiative. "The goal is to promote the validity of gardens that are created to be ecologically functional but may fall under a non-traditional aesthetic."

Crown Point resident and last year’s finalist, Amy Taylor, is the 2017 Monarch Awards  competition winner. Finalists include Nadia Coakley, West Hamilton; Kelly Jamieson, Crown Point; Matthew Mills, Dundas; and Katie West, Dundas.

The organizing committee for the award includes staff from the Pollinator Paradise Project (Environment Hamilton and Hamilton Naturalists' Club) along with volunteers from the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Crown Point Garden Club, as well as individual supporters who did much of the legwork. This “alternative” garden awards program had over 50 entrants this year.

"Once again, we are thrilled by the number of applications submitted in our second year, and seeing the incredible gardens across the city" says Jen Baker, Coordinator for the Pollinator Paradise Project. "The interest is there. It just keeps growing."
A volunteer committee evaluated the applications and chose the “Buzzin’ Dozen” semi-finalists, from which seven gardens were chosen for a visit by the judging team.

The five winners will each receive a beautiful hand-crafted wooden plaque by local woodworker Trisha Fraser. All entrants will receive a “We’re Feeding Pollinators” sign, a Monarch Awards sticker, and special early-bird shopping at the upcoming native plant sale hosted by the Hamilton Naturalists Club.

For profiles of the winning gardens, visit

For media inquiries, please contact:
Bev Wagar, Crown Point Garden Club

Jen Baker, Coordinator, Pollinator Paradise Project
905 549 0900