2022 Greener Greenspace Profile
Gosling Pollinator Gardens
Located in Guelph, Ontario, on the grounds of Hospice Wellington, the Gosling Pollinator Gardens were established in 2012 and have grown to almost 9,000 square feet of pollinator habitat.
Design and Process
Designed by Pollination Guelph, and developed in stages over the last decade, the gardens are planted with shrubs, grasses and flowering perennials that offer food (pollen and nectar), nesting and overwintering sites for pollinating insects. Seeds and berries attract birds and small mammals. The gardens were carefully planted to include a wide variety of mostly native plant species to support a diverse, vibrant community of pollinators (native bees, butterflies, wasps, moths, some flies and hummingbirds) and other taxa. Plant species were chosen to ensure there is continual blooming throughout the spring, summer and fall. While some of the original turf grass remains, most of it has been removed and replaced with other more pollinator-friendly plant species.
The soil on site varies considerably. Some of it is a thin layer of topsoil over gravel fill; other spots are relatively deep, rich soil. Some locations are hot and exposed, while others are moist and shady. Periodically, the soil is amended with composted manure or wood mulch. Where practical, leaves are left on the soil in the fall. A large underground cistern that retains water from the Hospice roof is used for irrigation purposes as needed.
The main purpose of the Gosling garden is to profile and protect pollinators using mostly native plants in a sustainable way. However, the garden - funded and maintained by Pollinator Guelph - also serves to beautify the Hospice grounds. Hospice residents, staff, visitors and neighbours frequently comment on how much they admire the garden. Finally, the garden offers some solace to family members who are often undergoing a difficult emotional time.
The gardens were planted and are now maintained by volunteers drawn from Pollination Guelph and Hospice Wellington. Volunteers work in conjunction with the Hospice staff, including the part-time property manager on issues such as watering. Many of the volunteers have experience in landscape design and ecological and sustainable land care practices. Signs in the garden highlight the importance of pollinators and recognize key supporters and funders. A custom-designed book on native plants, pollinators and the garden is located within a public area of the Hospice.
This garden is part of the Pollinator Guelph network of gardens. As a signature garden, each year a group of university students visits the garden as part of their coursework. In the past, the gardens were featured as part of a Guelph garden tour and highlighted on a community cable program.
In 2016, the gardens were renamed The Gosling Pollinator Gardens in recognition of a significant donation from The Gosling Foundation, which will support the further development and maintenance of the gardens for the next ten years.
SOUL is pleased to recognize the Gosling Pollinator Gardens as a Greener Greenspace in 2021 and 2022.
Watch Pollinator Guelph's presentation on the Hospice gardens on SOUL's 2023 Ecological Land Care Webinar Series.
For more information, visit: www.pollinationguelph.ca/gardens
Greener Greenspaces is a recognition program for sites from across Canada that exemplify greener greenspace stewardship. The aim of the program is to showcase examples of ecologically-focused land care as a means to inspire others and to further the movement across Canada.