In reviewing the Monarch Awards' Applications for this year, 2019, we were struck by the love, care and respect for nature that the applicants showed as concerns their gardens.
In all 33 applications, there was an authentic desire to support biodiversity in the city, with thoughtful comments like, "giving the birds a place to drink," "a place for pollinators to shelter," etc. Gardeners referred to wildlife as "friends," "visitors," and "other inhabitants."
The gardens themselves were spoken about as being "peaceful," "places of enjoyment," "an oasis," "a hidden haven."
As we await the final decision from the judges, take a moment to read some of the quotes that stood out from amongst the applicants.
"Obviously biased, I am at peace in the garden. I can wander the paths and be lost – and our lot is quite small. I am lost in the smells, the textures and the life that I see. This year I sat and witnessed an American lady Butterfly laying eggs on our Pearly Everlasting patch. The rain garden, river rock created pathways to maintain and enjoy the gardens. I also love the mystery of curves and hidden spaces. Always a work in progress."
What really appeals to us most though, is not just the flowers and the fruit, but seeing the hummingbirds, butterflies and bees that are busy pollinating all around us.
"The neighbours seem happy with our more-natural-less-manicured garden, even though it is totally different from everything else in the area. It’s a lovely quiet oasis in which I spend many a contented hour.
I’ve even set up a glass-top table and stools on the porch from where I can observe the everchanging loveliness and write about it in my blog."
"Although they are both very different my gardens are very peaceful, there are places I can sit in the front garden first thing in the morning and have a coffee or sit out back in the evening and watch the birds splashing in the water. I do have a pollinator sign in my front garden – just in case someone questions why there is no grass. Mine is a very different front garden from all the rest in the survey but it has provided an opportunity to talk to some of the neighbours and teach them a bit about our natural landscapes and indigenous plants." Karen, Stoney Creek
"Time spent in a garden unwinds your soul. My garden started a short 5 seasons ago when a large maple that sheltered and shadowed my entire yard came down in the big ice storm. I missed that shade but it allowed me to reinvent my backyard and plant things never before possible. My criteria was what went in had to feed someone or something.
A beautiful garden is a living thing in constant motion. Birds, bugs and animals always coming and going full of life and supporting us all." Ann, Waterdown
"We are learning we have to garden together with the community. It is not just our garden. Gardens are for everyone and everything." James & Alexander, Hamilton
This year I feel I have an impressive variety, I worked hard over the years rescuing native plants which would have been plowed over for new housing, we have had many new developments in the area so I always make a point to hike through and save what I can and bike ride with a backpack full of plants before construction begins.
It’s a very beautiful garden, quite pleasing to the eye, many compliments from neighbours especially since it is the curved lot, every plant is carefully placed in the garden, there is a lot of detail in the garden and a tremendous amount of love and patience." Katie, Stoney Creek
I’d like to say my yard has a pleasing effect,it shows especially well with late afternoon shadows, I get a lot of compliments. …but mostly I enjoy my yard for myself and its visitors, I love the work, and the result and would love to share it with you. Lucy , Dundas
"I tried to plan my garden to provide habitat for pollinators and birds…and really anything else that wants to enjoy it. I leave the leaves to help overwintering insects, I leave seed heads standing to provide food for birds, and in the spring if I do trim back any stems I am sure to leave 30-40 cm standing for nesting solitary bees." Melissa, Hamilton
"It thrills us to see our little garden has become an extension of the ravine behind us and the ecosystem we have created supports an wonderful diversity species. Everything is done with the intention of supporting, not harming the wild inhabitants of the garden. We truly love our garden. It brings us much joy and is a wonderful respite from a busy world." Tina, Ancaster