A public garden in Oakville, Ont., and the landscaper who designed it, have been given special recognition by the U.S.-based Perennial Plant Association (PPA). Sean James of Fern Ridge Landscaping in Milton, Ont., was on hand in Minneapolis for the annual PPA symposium to receive an honour award in the landscaping category. Only five of these awards were made in 2016 by the PPA, a trade association of growers, retailers, landscape designers and contractors, educators, and others who are professionally involved in the herbaceous perennial industry.
In making the award, the PPA emphasized the increasing importance of biodiversity-focused gardening throughout North America as well as the exceptional work involved in the garden.
The Anderson Parkette Biodiversity Garden was spearheaded by Kathy Kavassalis, co-president of the Oakville Horticultural Society, with help from the Town of Oakville and guidance from Conservation Halton.
“In 2010, the United Nations General Assembly challenged the world to take action to protect the great variety of life on our planet by safeguarding regional species diversity,” Kavassalis says.
“The garden now contains over 50 plant species native to North America,” Kavassalis says. “In the spring, painted lady butterflies flock to the pearly everlasting to lay their eggs and hummingbirds seek the delicate red columbines for their precious spring nectar (so important after their long journey across the lake). Rabbits start trimming the blazing star as it emerges, making the plants grow bushy and improving their stunning summer display of blooms. From our eastern bumblebee to the iridescent sweat bees and jewel-like syrphid flies, pollinators abound throughout the summer season. In the fall, goldfinches can be seen dangling from coneflowers as monarchs float from flower to flower preparing for their journey south. When winter comes, signs of mice and deer finding refuge can be seen. Bundled children sit on the bench and enjoy the beauty of grasses glazed with ice swaying in the chilly breeze. It is truly an oasis for life here in Oakville.”
Sean James designed the garden, entirely of native plants, to attract as many different species of life as possible, focusing on pollinators and other insects as well as birds. He say that any garden designed to provide a solution – such as a biodiversity garden, rain garden, edible garden or habitat garden – shouldn’t look like a solution, but rather be as beautiful as any other type of garden, if not more so, because of the different palette of plants that can be drawn from.
Learn more about the garden
PPA recognizes Garden Making editor
At its Symposium, the PPA also recognized Beckie Fox, Garden Making Editor-in-Chief.