Join the McKellar Park Community Butterflyway

This year I’m volunteering with the Butterflyway Project, a David Suzuki Foundation initiative to establish community pollinator corridors across Canada. Ideally, each Butterflyway consists of at least 12 plantings that will provide food and habitat for native bees, butterflies, and other wildlife.

Looking for Butterflyway participants

I’m encouraging my neighbours to create our own local Butterflyway corridor in the McKellar Park community here in Ottawa. Would you like to help bees and butterflies, boost urban biodiversity, and provide natural food sources for birds? Here’s your chance to join this project by adding native plants to your yard, place of worship, or school grounds. If you live nearby the McKellar Park area, you’re also welcome to participate.

Getting you started

To help Butterflyway gardeners get started, I created optional garden plans for sunny and shady plots, and I’m growing native plant seedlings for these plans that I can provide for free. Now, I need places to put the plants.

Of course, you can also design your own planting using other species, and acquire plants from different sources. You can also add native plants to an existing garden, instead of creating a new garden. To qualify, a Butterflyway planting

  • can be any size,
  • must include native plants,
  • must be maintained in ecologically-friendly ways.

To create my garden plans, I used the 3 x 3 x 3 formula. I chose 3 native plant species for each of the 3 growing seasons — spring, summer, and late summer/fall. I included 3 plants of each of the 9 plant species. My garden plans are for an 8 x 4 area.

The sunny garden plan includes native plants about 2 1/2 feet tall or shorter. It’s based on my front sidewalk garden that I wrote about in a post called Short and Sweet. To see a plan that includes taller plants, read my blog post the Two-and-a-half hour pollinator garden about creating a new pollinator garden in a neighbour’s front yard in only a few hours.

The shade garden plan was tricky to come up with because many native woodland shade plants that bloom in the spring are also challenging to grow from seed. I chose species that I have grown in the past and am reasonably confident will germinate successfully. Substitutions may have to be made depending on my ultimate success.

While I can provide a plan and seedlings, you will need to

  • plant your own garden,
  • water the plant seedlings during dry spells, and
  • maintain your garden in the future. Naturalistic garden maintenance practices are less work than conventional maintenance — you don’t cut back, rake and bag leaves in the fall, and you only do minimal ‘cleaning up’ in the spring. (To learn about this ‘less is more’ maintenance, see my Pollinator spring clean-up page.) Besides that, you will need to weed; but weeds are reduced by using mulch/leaves.

There is also an optional bilingual sign that you can add to your planting to indicate that its part of a Butterflyway.

A Butterflyway sign in a Vancouver Unitarians garden.

Extra support for participants

To ensure participants’ success, I intend to provide some extra support. I’ll host two Zoom webinars – one to introduce native pollinators and pollinator gardening basics, and the second to demonstrate the nuts-and-bolts of planting and looking after your garden. (On Youtube, you can watch my February 2021 webinar, Pollinator Gardening in Ottawa, that I presented to the McKellar Park community during the pandemic.) You’re also welcome to attend a tour my front and backyard gardens to see mature pollinator plantings, as well as the insects and birds that visit them.

Call for volunteers

To create this McKellar Park neighbourhood Butterflyway, I’ll also need volunteers to transplant seedlings into pots, to babysit seedlings until they’re distributed for planting by the end of June, and to help novice gardeners.

Email me if you’d like to participate in the McKellar Park community Butterflyway to plant a garden or to volunteer? I look forward to hearing from you.

2 thoughts on “Join the McKellar Park Community Butterflyway

  1. Fabulous Berit! Thanks for leading this project in McKellar Park area. I miss the Monarchs and hope this brings a few back to the neighbourhood . Looking forward to participating & learning more.


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