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After spending my career on tour with circus companies around the world, as soon as I had my own garden I needed to get some dirt under my nails! Our family moved in November 2020 to a fix-er-upper in Verdun. Renos could wait, but a garden filled with native plants could not. I grew up in a family with a deep environmental commitment, but as a professional circus performer always inside theatres, rehearsal studios or airplanes, I often felt like I had “fallen far from the tree.” As soon as we moved, I knew using ALL the space I have to help pollinators, increase biodiversity and raise awareness about native gardens, was the right thing to do and it needed to happen in our the first summer.

I began planning and stratifying my seeds in November 2020, started seedlings in my basement in February to March 2021, removed all the grass and pavers in April and had a load of dirt delivered in May. Then I started planting… Monarchs, multiple generations of swallowtail caterpillars, grasshoppers and so many bees followed!

Building a pollinator garden in one season is a huge labour of love, but it is paying off with so much “buzz!” Pollinators and new neighbours are constant visitors. Our native plant filled yard is an anomaly in our Verdun neighborhood and prompts daily questions from passers by. But, often working in the garden means I’m there to answer any questions, share my enthusiasm and discuss what plants the bees seem to be most excited about that day. This garden project has certainly made these Covid times feel less isolating!

I haven’t forgotten the birds! We have two bird baths, the hummingbirds finally found my cardinal flowers, and, of course, all seeds and berries will be left for the winter! Although all our trees and shrubs are still small, because this is the first year of the garden, birds love perching on our “Bean Spiral.” I designed an upright spiral (approx 8 ft diameter by 8ft tall), to grow all of our beans, melons, tomatoes and squash. It’s also been a hit for birds and humans!

So, from grass and pavers to buzz! I’m tremendously proud of the way I transformed a forgettable yard, into one worth buzzing about! Looking forward to next years as I add native species and my plants, shrubs and trees mature.

Year One native plant (partial list): Agastache foeniculum, Amelanchier, Anaphalis margaritacea, Angelica atropurprea, Aquilegia canadensis, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, Asclepias incarnata, Asclepias syriaca, Asclepias tuberosa, Coreopsis lanceolata, Cornus sericea, Echinacea purpurea, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Eutrochium maculatum, Geum triflorum, Helenium autumnale, Heliopsis heliantoides, Lobelia cardinals, Lonicera involucrata, Monarda fistulosa, Parthenocissus quinquefolia, Prunella vulgaris , Rudbeckia hirta, Sambucus canadensis, Solidago speciosa, Symphyotrichum laeve, Symphyotrichum novae-angliae, Verbena hastata, Veronicastrum virginicum

Non-native pollinator friendly plants (partial list): various dills, sunflowers, zinnias, and Japanese wildflowers, Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Sun’, baptisia australis

Emplacement du jardin