Lee Boltwood Park Project
The SGHS has adopted a local Stittsville municipal park, Lee Boltwood Park, located at the corner of Malahat Way and Abbot Street. The Society's aim is to renovate and maintain the three existing gardens in this park. The renovation mission is to create an environment that will attract and support our local native pollinators (i.e., Butterflies, moths, bees, birds and beneficial insects). Every effort will be made to populate the gardens with native wildflowers since these have developed a symbiotic relationship with the native pollinators.
Who are the pollinators we are attracting?
There are over 400 species of butterflies and moths (https://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/) that can be found in Ontario (including swallowtail, gossamer-winged, sulphurs, skippers, brush-footed).
Besides the honey bee (which is not native), there are over 400 types of bees (https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/34909524/a-guide-to-torontos-pollinators-pdf-david-suzuki-foundation) that call Ontario home. The most familiar of these are: Bumble, Carpenter, Mining, Leaf-cutter, Sweat, Plasterer and Mason bees.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the primary bird species that plays a role in pollination in Ontario.
Besides bee, butterflies and moths, there are other insects that act as pollinators. These are pollen wasps, ants, bee flies, hover flies and flower beetles.
Year 1: Fall 2021
What we started with:
In the first year, volunteers from the society and the surrounding neighbourhood edged and weeded two of the three gardens, and planted spring bulbs. Work on the third garden was limited to cutting down the multitude of burdock and wild parsnip stocks. We removed over 2 dozen yard-waste bags of weeds.
Year 2: 2022
Early Spring (January to March)
The research on our native pollinators has been completed and a proposed plant list has been developed.
The list contains plants which:
can withstand some drought conditions since the gardens in the Park will not be regularly watered,
are true natives of Ontario, whenever possible; If they are non-native, they can not be invasive,
will attract pollinators or beneficial insects or provide nesting material/sites or food sources for pollinators. The pollinators considered are those that have had confirmed sightings in Ottawa as documented by the Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA) and the Xeres databases.
can be commercially obtained within Ontario as seeds or plants - no harvesting of plants or seeds from the wild,
are not poisonous for children and/or pets.
This list has been distributed to the members to solicit donations. Wildflowers seeds for less common plants, usually host plants, have been ordered from the local nurseries that specialize in native plants. Society members will be invited to help germinate and grow these in preparation for fall planting.
Arrangements have been made to have a load of topsoil delivered in the spring. This will be added primarily to the third garden to provide a good base for the plants.
Sometime in late March, we shall be surveying the gardens to identify which existing plants can be keep and which need to be eliminated; the third garden will require the most attention since at least a third of the garden contain exclusively Burdock, wild parsnip and crown vetch - all non-native, invasive plants. Notices will be sent to the membership for volunteers to help with the spring soil preparation and planting.
Year 2: 2022
April 9 10am to Noon: Further Cleanup
We arrived to conquer the berm in the park. Arlene Rowe has been leading the charge. She placed burlap over the areas where soil erosion was a concern and the volunteers arrived to get rid of the rest of the burdock, burrs and garbage. We edged the berm to help define the space and now Arlene is waiting to accept plant donations
The edging begins along with garbage pickup
Arlene Rowe and Ian Frei in deep discussion
More hard work
Hard at work
Ian Frei and Penny Horeczy looking for burrs
Year 2: 2022
May 22 - 27 : Site Preparation
The local Stittsville library branch provided a wonderful display, advertising the project to the public.
Weeds, Weeds! Despite the cleanup in April, a plethora of weeds appeared after the May rains. There were lots of Mugwort and Ragweed (the bane of hayfever sufferers), Common burdock (argh!), Wild Parsnip (eek!), Canada thistle (ouch!) and crown vetch (a true garden bully). Interspersed amongst these were a few native plants struggling to survive.
These were salvaged and the rest were manually dug up over a week - in the heat no less - to provide a clean slate for the spring planting. Although not all the berm could be prepared, there was enough area ready to plant our native plant stock. Kudos to the volunteers!
Year 2: 2022
May 28 10am to Noon: Spring Planting
Planting day! On this day over 500 plants were planted amongst the three gardens - Rudbeckia (fulgida & hirta), Evening primrose, Liatris, Bee Balm, Canada anemone - just to name a few. We were very thankful for the volunteers, especially the students that gave up their Saturday morning to plant in the heat.
Fortuntately for us, the weather changed drastically in the afternoon and provided a much needed shower to help establish the plants.
During the month of June, another 500 plants were planted.
They started small...
And then they started to bloom...
We even got some visitors!