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Pollinator Pathways Garden at Western Fair and Museum London

One of the roles of P3 (Pollinator Pathways Project) is to prepare habitats for native pollinators so they can access nectar feeding stations, seasonal shelter areas (for species regeneration), and develop travel pathways for brining pollinators through existing urban areas.

P3 focuses on developing selected touch-points that act as habitat stations for pollinators as they travel along pathway corridors. Dundas Street forms one of these corridors where the pathway acts as an ecological stitching tool for generating greater diversity within the urban environment for local native pollinator populations.

We recently begun a pollinator garden installation at the Western Fairgrounds, on the western side of the Arts Building on the south side of Dundas Street. This project is a component of a larger pathways corridor that connects a series of pollinator gardens along Dundas Street, from Museum London to Western Fair!

Garden Design

This garden includes wildflower meadows, urban planters for native flora, small garden displays, pollinator hotels and different types of ground treatment. In essence, the project seeks to provide food (nectar), shelter (gardens and pollinator hotels) and habitat diversification for pollinators in urban areas. What makes this garden unique, is the design focuses mainly on plants native to SouthWest Ontario, thus allowing the project to lean more towards helping native pollinators!

The garden shows plant management techniques, species selection, timeline processes, matching plant species with different pollinator populations, shelter options, strategic planting clusters (like daisies + milkweeds) presented for increasing pathways diversity. In addition, the garden promotes a slow-gardening approach so as to reduce installation and maintenance costs while extending sustainable techniques.

The curved layout of the planters is a response to the timeline concept that presents the seasonal emergence of flowers through the pollinator season, so visitors can see what species flower in different months. In part, this arc seeks to highlight the limited timeframe for pollinators within a years cycle, which begins with a cluster of hazel shrubs at the south entrance of the Arts Building and stretching over a six month timeframe through to November plantings beside the north entrance to the Arts Building.

The hazel shrubs are offered as a connection with the food forest and the early floral display (in February March) where plants do not use pollinators, but instead, are pollinated by the winds.

The design employs certain design features that can be used in other pathway projects so that planters can make design statements through simple incorporation of site features. In the case of this project, the dripline of the large central maple tree delivers the context for a semi-circular planter shape, while three existing young specimen trees, reinforce the arced shape and anchor the Phase-2 planter. The use of the diagonal pathways serves to connect the different phases of planting and the interpretative display in the existing food forest collection.

Museum London Project 2021

These photographs, taken June 2021, show the installation of the Pollinator Garden at Museum London. This Museum project acts as the western book-end for the Dundas Pollinator Pathway, and is complemented by eastern book-end of the pathway at the Fairground project.

Installation Methods

(1) The first stage is to upcycle existing cardboard which acts as a base to new top soil and a barrier to weed growth from the grass layer below.

(2) Once the cardboard has been placed over the designated planter area, top soil is then spread throughout the planter area.

(3) Wood chips are then spread on top of the imported topsoil.The wood chips act as a mulch that will keep the soil moist and reduce possible weed growth.

(4) Select species, grown as plug plants and germinated until root growth are then planted. These plugs will mature over the summer and eventually grow through the cardboard sheet mulching.

Thank You to Our Volunteers!

Thank you to all P3 volunteers who planted with us in 2021! It is because of people like you that pollinators are able to thrive in the Forest City!



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