Birds, Bees and Butterflies Garden

Toronto is home to a wide range of pollinators, including bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, beetles and birds. Threats to Toronto’s pollinators include forage habitat loss, loss of larval host plants, nesting habitat loss, overwintering habitat loss, pesticides, introduced and invasive species (including honeybees), diseases/pests and climate change.  

 

Habitat loss is a great threat to insects, which in turn threatens the food source for our many bird species. Habitat protection, creation and enhancement is key to supporting Toronto’s wildlife. This is why we included a variety of habitat features throughout this garden including larval host plants for a variety of insects. Monarch butterflies, for example, will only lay their eggs on milkweed (Asclepias spp.), the sole food source for their larva. Meanwhile if you spot a web-like nest of caterpillars on the silvery, fuzzy foliage of the Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), that means it is successfully hosting the American Painted Lady butterfly (Vanessa virginiensis).

 

The species showcased in the garden include a variety of native plants that are rich in pollen and nectar.  Some of these include Flat Topped White Aster (Doellingeria umbellata), Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata), and Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea). Hollow-stemmed plants such Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum), Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) and Grey Goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis) were important for us to include as well as they provide nesting sites for native bee species. In the winter, birds will feed on the seed of plants like Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum), alongside supplemental bird feeders.

This garden was made possible by a generous gift from John and Amanda Sherrington, who are inspired by their grandchildren’s love of nature. When you take a walk under our living willow dome and through the path, you can spot the handprints of the Sherrington grandchildren imprinted in the stones!  

 

This project is also supported by the City of Toronto through Live Green Toronto and the PollinateTO Grants Program, whose main goals are supporting and sustaining native pollinator biodiversity in Toronto.  

 

The Birds, Bees and Butterflies Pollinator Garden is open year-round to guests. Come by Evergreen Brick Works to enjoy the garden and learn more about the importance of protecting pollinators in Toronto.