An Oakville garden, and the landscaper who designed it, have been given special recognition by the prestigious Perennial Plant Association (PPA). Sean James of Fern Ridge Landscaping 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 provided for all of North America in 2016 by the PPA, highlighting the increasing importance of biodiversity focused gardening throughout the continent as well as the exceptional work produced by Sean James and his team.
The Anderson Parkette Biodiversity Garden – ‘ A Garden for Life’ – was spearheaded by Kathy Kavassalis, co-president of the Oakville Horticultural Society, with help from the Town of Oakville and guidance from Conservation Halton. Why did so many work together to create this garden? In the words of Mrs. Kavassalis, “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.”
According to Mrs. Kavassalis, "The garden now contains over 50 plant species native to North America. 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 jewellike 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.”
Mr. 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 believes 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. Apparently the public and the PPA agree!
Anderson Bridge Parkette supports biodiversity while providing citizens with a place to relax and appreciate nature.
PPA Award photo.