Articles and Resources
Native Plants for Your Garden
To get you started, our links includes several native plant lists from the Upper Thames Conservation Authority, including lists of trees and shrubs, wildflowers and grasses, and prairie plants.
The attached list of native plants from Niagara Penninsula Conservation Authority has excellent descriptions and photos of native plants. 14047-NPCA-Plant-Guide-Jan-2015
Where to Buy Native Plants
The attached list shows Ontario nurseries that sell native plants and seeds. NativePlantsRetail
Upper Thames Conservation has prepared this list of local nurseries that sell native plants. SWOntario-Nurseries
This interactive Google map shows native plant nurseries throughout Ontario. Those marked with a green star sell native plants.
Invasive plants do untold damage to Ontario’s natural areas, displacing native plants and overtaking sensitive habitats. These invaders wreak havoc and the removal cost is high . Many nurseries still sell invasive plants exacerbating the spread.
The list below from Credit Valley Conservation Authority has been approved by the Ontario government. If you have plants in your garden that are listed under Category 1, Transformers or Category 2, Highly Invasive, they should be removed immediately. cvc-appendix-guide-to-invasives
The CVC document above also includes helpful control methods for many invasive species.
The Ontario Invasive Plant Council has an excellent booklet, Grow Me Instead, which can help gardeners find alternatives to invasive plants. Southern-Grow-Me-Instead
“Keystone plants are native plants critical to the food web and necessary for many wildlife species to complete their life cycle. Without keystone plants in the landscape, butterflies, native bees and birds will not thrive. 95% of our terrestrial birds rely on insects supported by keystone plants.” National Wildlife Federation
In the native plant community 5% of native plants support 75% of our native insects and birds. They include our native oaks, cherries and willows. Among perennial species, goldenrod, aster and perennial sunflowers are keystone species.
How to Plant a Tree
Doug Tallamy, an entomologist and educator, has several excellent books on the importance of native plants. His recent book, Nature’s Best Hope, is a recommended read. Tallamy outlines how native plants support our local ecosystems and how our home gardens are important to preserving native species.
Check out our attached lists of the best plants for pollinator gardens, including an excellent list from Credit Valley Conservation and a list from the Xerces Society.
As well as providing nectar, a pollinator garden should include host plants for the caterpillars of butterfly and moth species, as well as pollen for our specialist bees.
Identifying Trees in Winter
If you’ve ever wished you could identify trees in winter, here are some tips from Nature Conservancy Canada to help you hone those skills. It does take some practice, so don’t get discouraged. This can be a fun family activity while hiking in the woods.