The millennium year was highlighted by the planting of our maple/beech forest. In July 2006, a tornado tore out an adjacent area of mature cedar and poplar trees. Although this was a devastating loss it presented new opportunities for expanding our native gardens. A small natural outcrop under dense shade evolved into an expansive sunny rock garden after 100 trees were blown down. The latest transformation has been a bog garden developed along an ephemeral stream.
Pathways now link each of the ten habitat gardens and feature many species of wild flowers and ferns in combination with shrubs and trees typical of that environment. Over 300 labeled species can be identified within the 1 ha. main site. For the more ambitious, a longer trail is available for exploring the remaining 43 ha. of woods and wetlands.
Our long-term goal is to develop our property into as complete a representation of Ottawa Valley flora as possible. We feel that maintaining, enhancing and protecting this resource for teaching, research and restoration will be invaluable for present and future generations. When one can experience the beauty and diversity of our native plants first hand, it is perhaps a much easier decision to preserve the plants and the land that sustains them. Beyond the obvious environmental benefits, growing plants which have evolved in our backyards allows us to celebrate our local and regional identity.
As any gardener knows, one is never done a garden. In the future we hope to continue our on-farm restoration efforts, increase our stock beds and develop successful propagation for additional varieties as we are able to access them.
There is a great deal of overlap between our display and demonstration gardens and our propagation beds. Many serve dual purposes. Some of our older plantings of trilliums and hepaticas are now self-seeding and can be thinned out. Others such as ladyslipper orchids take at least seven years to reach a dividable size clump and will likely always be in short supply. Still others, such as our rare encrusted saxifrage, an ice-age relic plant, can be multiplied rather quickly by seed, cuttings or division.
We will have a selection of our many native plant varieties available for sale each year, however not generally all in the same year.