Native plant demo garden takes root

Manor Park greenthumb Christina Keys discusses the importance of a new garden devoted to native plans

By Manor Park Chronicle

Earlier this summer, Christina Keys, left, and Eugenie Walters weeded and prepared the soil around the Manor Park Community Council sign for the new plants. Photo by Christina Keys

The Manor Park Community Association (MPCA)’s Environmental Sustainability Committee is very pleased to introduce the Manor Park Native Plant Demonstration Garden on Thornwood Ave. at the entrance to the Manor Park Community Centre.

Last spring, committee chair Eugenie Waters of Lonsdale Rd and I, with the support of the MPCA, MPCC, Manor Park Public School, and Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Rawlson King, applied for funding from the City of Ottawa’s Community Environmental Projects Grant Program.With our successful application, we have started planting over a dozen different species of native wildflowers and grasses in the newly expanded garden space.

Native swamp milkweed is a host plant for the monarch butterfly, which was recently declared an endangered species. Photo: Eugenie Waters

The aim of the garden is to create a small habitat for insects and birds to thrive while also serving as an educational tool for Manor Park residents to create native habitat on our own properties.

By using native plants suited to the sunny and dry site, the demonstration garden will:

  • require lower maintenance,
  • attract many beneficial pollinators including the endangered monarch butterfly, and
  • support our native bird populations by providing shelter and food.

Overall, it will contribute to the local ecosystem by stabilizing soils, absorbing rainwater, cooling the area, and increasing biodiversity.

In the years to come, we hope the garden will be a thriving oasis of beautiful flowers and grasses for our community to enjoy and learn about gardening with native plants.

We are installing educational signage, and will run an iNaturalist project as well as a photography competition for kids and adults.

Do you want to plant more native flowers and grasses in your garden? The wonderful nursery Ontario Natives that is providing our plants at wholesale cost also supplies the public.

For more information, visit

A bumblebee alights on a flowering sneezeweed (helenium autumnale). Photo: Eugenie Waters