Mono Pollinator Garden hosts informative event for gardeners

June 29, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

All those insects crawling and flying around your garden are part of a much bigger picture that includes all of nature in one big interconnected system that keeps everything flourishing.

The Mono Pollinator Garden Festival was held at the Avalon Lavender Farm in Mono on Saturday, June 24, to celebrate the important role of pollinators in sustaining both the natural world and our food sources.

Guest speakers included Don Scallen, nature writer and former nature science teacher, and Paul Zammit, a CBC gardening guru and environmental professor at Niagara College.

The speakers discussed gardening practices that are in tune with nature and friendly to pollinating insects as well as other insects and earthbound creatures that are attractive to birds.

The Mono Pollinator Gardens are located on Hockley Valley Road and have about an acre of different plants and flowers.

“Our Pollinator Garden is designed to entertain and also educate,” explained Ralph Manktelow, Mono councillor and chair of the Mono Pollinator Garden Management Committee. “The whole idea is introduce people to pollinator-friendly practices, which includes native plants. Native bees, not honey bees, are the biggest pollinators we have. This festival is another way for us to have an educational outreach.”

The festival was sold out, with 150 people in attendance. The tent where guest speakers held talks was packed with attendees eager to hear what they had to say.

“I’ll be speaking about the ecological value of insects, in gardens and beyond,” explained Don Scallen. “I’ll be talking in part about insects that pollinate plants, but its far more than that. It goes far beyond pollination. There’s other ecological services like feeding birds, feeding bats, that are incredibly important as well. I’ll be speaking about other ways that insects are important in our gardens.”

Mr. Zammit said he wants to challenge people about what they think is beautiful and why they garden.

“Rather than aesthetics, and what you see, examine the role of the garden and what role it can play far beyond your own property,” Mr. Zammit said. “It can support bio-diversity, and how to choose plants to invite guests into your garden – and I don’t mean people. It is acting locally but realizing how the impact can be very global. There are certain flowers that we use that we think are beautiful, but they’re useless for pollinators because they don’t have the parts – the nectar or the pollen – so while we may think it’s beautiful and supportive – it’s not.”

Participants at the festival left with a lot of good information to use when reconsidering how they plant their home gardens.

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