By Marnie Dangerfield (with support and input from Nathan Docksteader and Linda Petite)
Meadow Making at HCP Gardens
You may notice a new soil covered area next to the children’s food garden during your next visit to the gardens. On Friday, March 24th, 2023, with the help of some keen volunteer students from the Pacific Horticulture College (PHC), and guidance from Nathan (of Coevolve Gardening and Horticultural Services, as well as an instructor at PHC), along with support and assistance from Linda, Head Gardener at HCP, we began the first steps in transforming a lawn area to a more biodiverse and life supporting native plant meadow.
As the Meadow Habitat sign there says: “This meadow was created with native plants that support pollinators and biodiversity, including the wildlife that depends on our native flora.”
This area will demonstrate the benefits of planting native plants as well as how we can conserve and restore biodiversity. Native plants provide not only aesthetic value but support native pollinators and overall enhance the functioning of ecosystems. During this first session we worked with PHC student volunteers to begin the site preparation and procedures for smothering unwanted vegetation. In October we will plant native plants and seeds (purchased from Satinflower Nursery) to create the native plant meadow.
In addition to supplying native plants for our gardens, Satinflower nurseries also provide extensive information, planting guides, workshops and resources on their website. You can learn more here: https://satinflower.ca/
How did this all come about?
In 2022 Nathan and I, along with about 100 other people (including some PHC students), took part in the first MeadowMaker’s program guided by Satinflower Nurseries and Pollinator Partnership Canada. We were inspired by what we learned about the symbiotic relationships that have evolved here over thousands of years between plants, pollinators and wildlife.
According to Satinflower Nurseries website:
“Native plants offer nutritional diversity and a myriad of other benefits to wildlife such as breeding habitat, food, and nesting resources. Meanwhile, insect’s familiarity with native plants encourages them to transport pollen grains from one plant to another which ensures resilience for future populations”
The idea to create habitat and ecosystem resilience at HCP Gardens was sparked by a generous grant opportunity provided through Pollinator Partnership from a larger grant and habitat program they are working on with Toyota North America. We are grateful for the support from Linda and Deb Donahue right from when they were first approached about this project, along with all the staff support at HCP and the PHC student volunteers who stepped in to help as well.
As mentioned we will be back to plant in the fall and will share a blog update at that time to let you know how it is going and what we planted. Then will monitor as we go forward, and who knows, in the future the meadow might just spread, and in doing so provide a more diverse and ecosystem supporting habitat. Having more pollinators in the area may also benefit the nearby food gardens as well.
If you’d like to know more information about the Meadow Makers program, please visit this link: https://satinflower.ca/pages/meadowmakers-2023 This year’s program is underway and they have held some of their workshops at HCP.