Dennis Hanagan –
The summer’s dry, hot weather is causing wildflowers to wilt in a city-wide project the David Suzuki Foundation began just a few years ago called Homegrown National Park.
Some of the wilting flowers are in the greater Downtown area in Little Norway Park, Fort York and Stanley Park in the King West neighbourhood.
Native plants have been planted in blue-painted canoes that delineate the course of the ancient Garrison Creek that still flows in underground storm sewers, starting near Davenport Road and emptying into Lake Ontario near Bathurst St.
The planters not only beautify their locales, they also support bee populations needed for pollination. Also attracted are Monarch butterflies. They’re pollinators too, but to a lesser extent than bees.
Jode Roberts, with the Suzuki Foundation, welcomes residents who live nearby the canoes to help keep them watered during the dry spell.
“We’re keen to have more folks that will keep an eye on these planters. We’ve had a strangely hot summer. It would be great if folks could go in and water them,” says Roberts.
Watering cans or buckets can be filled in park washrooms in Stanley Park or Little Norway. The Fort York planter, however, is a little out of the way. “It’s a tough one to get water to,” admits Roberts.
He says Toronto has more than 360 species of wild bees such as bumble, carpenter and mining bees. Surprising to some, he says, is that wild bees are more effective pollinators than honey bees, the latter not being native to North America; they were brought over with the arrival of Europeans.