Under the direction of Maria Breton, (owner of Well-Grounded Gardens and a Mac Johnson Friends’ member), other Friends are learning how to create a new pollinator garden. Maria’s approach focuses on balancing the relationship among soil, insects and plants, while limiting harmful additives. Garden design begins with knowing your soil and what it needs to nurture plants. At the Mac Johnson site, soil is sandy with a narrow layer of “construction soil” that suits mostly grass. Cataraqui Conservation staff removed the grass and Maria created a bermed bed with a nutrient dense mix that mimics forest soil: heavy soil including clay particles, well composted manure and some fine natural mulch - this retains water and slowly releases nutrients while being mould resistant. This site-specific mix was freshly prepared by a small local landscape company (preferred over bagged product of uncertain age and content from major suppliers).
For plant selection, Maria recommends species that are truly “indigenous” - they originated in this country and may have been “mildly" modified for commercial use. Further posts on the Mac Johnson Pollinator Garden will illustrate examples.
By means of this project, Maria hopes to encourage gardeners to rethink how they approach garden design and implementation.
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