The Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary encourages homeowners to use native plants in their gardens.
• provide habitat for wildlife
• are adapted to local soil and weather conditions
• require less water
• are hardier, more disease resistant
• increase biodiversity
• can restore areas to their natural state
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.
Native Plant Sale
Swan Lake Nature Sanctuary holds two Native Plant Sales a year, one in April and one in October. 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 needed. 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.
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