Native Plant Gardening

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The Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary encourages homeowners to use native plants in their gardens. We sell native plants year-round and often supply native plants for large projects. Contact June Pretzer at grounds@swanlake.bc.ca or 250-727-0653 for more information.

 

Native Plants
• provide habitat for wildlife

• attract birds, butterflies and other pollinators
• are adapted to local soil and weather conditions
• require less water
• are hardier and more disease resistant
• increase biodiversity
• can restore areas to their natural state

• connect children with nature

 

Native Plant Gardening Workshops
The Nature Sanctuary and CRD Water Department have teamed up to offer an introductory course on gardening with native plants. The programs run during the spring and fall - the current schedule can be seen at Adult Programs and at Workshops. We recommend that you reserve a space early as these workshops always fill up quickly.

 

Native Plant Sales
Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary sells native plants all year round and holds the big Native Plant Sale every spring. You can purchase native plants for your garden, attend workshops, and support the Sanctuary all in one weekend.

 

Native Plant Garden
The native plant garden that surrounds the Swan Lake Nature House provides a living example of over 80 species of plants native to southern Vancouver Island.  The garden is maintained by volunteers and plants are added as habitat is restored. The garden is used by the Sanctuary as an educational display for the public. To view some of the native plants found in the Swan Lake garden, go to the Plant Gallery.

 

History of the Swan Lake Garden
In 1984, with assistance from a Federal Government Summer Works project, the Swan Lake area garden shrubs and gazebo were removed, a swimming pool was filled in with soil, and a trail system was created.  Planting began with many native plants rescued from development sites in the Victoria area. 

In 1988 the Swan Lake Nature House was built and the garden area expanded.  A large lawn area was removed to expose the bedrock underneath.  A decaying rock wall became reptile habitat.

 

In 2000, the Capital Regional District Water Department provided a $10,000 grant to install a water-conserving irrigation system into the native plant garden. This method of irrigation included a pond and a drip fountain that were built to receive water from the nature house roof drains. 

 

Future of the Garden
Future plans for the Swan Lake native plant garden include more plants around the teaching shelter and a butterfly garden on the north side of the nature house.

 

Recommended Books

 

Native Plant Identification:
• Plants of Coastal British Columbia including Washington, Oregon and Alaska: Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon

 

Gardening with Native Plants:
• Native Plants in the Coastal Garden A Guide for Gardeners in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest: April Pettinger and Brenda Costanzo
• Attracting Wildlife to your Yard: The New Gardening for Wildlife • A Guide for Nature Lovers: Bill Merilees

 

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