Gosling Wildlife Gardens 3
Garden Three: The Native Plants Garden
Generous financial support for this garden came to The Arboretum through a bequest from Phyllis Oughton and was enhanced with additional donations by family and friends. This garden differs from the other gardens within the Gosling Wildlife Gardens in that it uses only plant species that are native to southern Ontario; horticultural varieties, garden hybrids and exotic or naturalized species are not be used. The Native Plants Garden includes many features commonly found in a backyard; a lockstone patio, a wheelchair accessible picnic table, composters, informal seating for gatherings, trellis and screening alternatives, shade trees, a stream water feature, floral and decorative plantings and fruit bearing vines, shrubs and trees - all showcasing native plants. A commemorative plaque to honour the life of Phyllis Oughton is installed.
As you enter this garden you will notice the house location to your left with a brick path leading from the back door to a patio area. Adjacent to the house and path there are a number of woody and herbaceous species that have wildlife value: the birch trees offer food and shelter to a wide variety of birds; the acorns of the dwarf chinquapin oak are a favoured food for squirrels and chipmunks; the various sumacs feed rabbits throughout the winter. The native shrubs flanking the stone dust path create a living arbour that provides nectar to butterflies, fruit for small mammals and a larval food source for caterpillars. Continuing along the brick path to the patio area you will notice a fence that supports a trumpet vine to attract hummingbirds and grapevines to provide fruit for the homeowner as well as resident and migrating birds. To your left is a young woodland and forest edge planted with a wide variety of shrubs and herbs to provide not only an aesthetically pleasing backyard planting design but also food, cover and nesting sites for wildlife. At the edge of the patio area near the large sitting rocks is a Kentucky coffee tree to offer light shade in the afternoon. In time, the Bur oak at the rear of the garden will provide shade, acorns for food, cover and nesting sites for both birds and mammals. Water is an essential component to wildlife gardening and a shallow meandering stream can be found adjacent to the patio. This attracts many species of birds for a bath. Bathers seen here include Indigo Buntings, Eastern Bluebirds, Baltimore Orioles and Cedar Waxwings.
For more information about the Gosling Wildlife Gardens or to make a donation, please contact Dr. Shelley Hunt, Director.