2022 Greener Greenspace Profile
C.R.E.S.C. Pollinator Meadow
Located in Guelph, ON, the C.R.E.S.C Pollinator Meadow is a pollinator garden on the site of an emergency services centre. The meadow is an example of a beautiful low-maintenance landscape that provides habitat for wildlife and inspires residents to create similar habitat at home.
Design and Process
The one-acre site, which was formerly turf, was first planted in 2014 with native plants and drought-resistant shrubs. Since then the diversity of species has evolved. In June 2022, volunteers from the non-profit organization Pollination Guelph and others in the community participated in a planting day. Approximately 350 plugs of native grasses and forbs were planted. At other times, additional species were installed, with varying degrees of success, largely due to drought conditions. Plants were donated by the City of Guelph, by Pollination Guelph from other projects, and in some cases from home gardens. Altogether, at least 700 plants were installed, providing a new level of diversity.
Some beneficial native species such as Canada Goldenrod, Common milkweed and Evening Primrose have colonized the site. However, other aggressive non-natives such as Crown vetch are firmly established on the site and will take years to control. Non-native invasive species are removed by hand, and weeds are controlled using cardboard and mulch. Although the site is surrounded by concrete and asphalt, the relatively large pollinator meadow provides diverse resources for wildlife throughout the seasons. The diversity of plants supports a wide variety of insects, particularly pollinators, and other species such as birds and small rodents. Once, a Northern Leopard frog was found.
Pollination Guelph volunteers maintain the meadow portion of the site from spring until late fall. City of Guelph staff maintains an adjacent portion of the site, though there is an overlap between the areas. Both the volunteers and staff have varying levels of knowledge and expertise on ecological and regenerative land care practices, but knowledge is shared freely, and guidance is provided by Pollination Guelph.
The community benefits by having a landscape filled with a diversity of beneficial native plants that attract a wide range of pollinators and other taxa. The meadow represents an opportunity for the local community and others to observe plants native to southern Ontario. The site is located in an area with undeveloped land that is scheduled to become largely developed in the near future. The site represents a model for homeowners and others to learn about native habitat to support threatened pollinator species.
The C.R.E.S.C pollinator meadow was created by Pollination Guelph with the support of the City of Guelph’s Health Landscape Program and funding from TD Friends of the Environment, Guelph Community Foundation and the RBC Blue Water Project. The City of Guelph has been a strong supporter of the project since its beginning in 2014 since it provides native habitat and reduces maintenance costs. This greenspace aligns well with the City's Natural Heritage Strategy and Action Plan.
For more information on the meadow, visit their website.
Photos c/o Pollination Guelph
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.See the full list of 2022 recognition recipients here