Sunday, August 5, 2012

Urquhart Butterfly Garden – A Treasure in the Valley

As if the endless trails and waterfalls weren’t enough, Dundas is also home to the Urquhart Butterfly Garden. Named after pioneering entomologists Dr. Frederick and Norah Urquhart, who after forty years of patient research solved the mystery of the migrating monarchs, construction of Canada's first municipal butterfly garden began in 1994.
Located in Centennial Park on the banks of the Desjardins Canal, it is heavily planted with nectar and foliage plants needed by butterflies and their caterpillars. It is maintained without the use of pesticides, many of which are detrimental to butterfly populations.

The garden now consists of six large raised beds, each approximately 75 × 35 feet, as well as the adjacent bank of the canal. All are planted with shrubs, perennials and annuals.

On any given day as I walk the meandering paths of the garden, I will spot a variety of butterflies and other insects. The selection seen depends on the season and so is always changing and interesting. There is a kiosk on site which houses a number of interpretive panels identifying many of the butterflies and plants you will see here, illustrating butterfly metamorphosis and explaining how to create butterfly-friendly yards at home.
According to their website, the garden is the brainchild of local businesswoman Joanna Chapman, who in 1992 catalyzed the formation of a group known as the "Butterfly Coalition". Members of the Coalition secured funding, identified an appropriate site, solicited contributions in kind from many local businesses and individuals, gained the support of the Town of Dundas and devoted many hours of their own time to planting and maintaining the garden.
Being at the site of the canal, there are always opportunities to spot ducks, swans and other waterfowl as well. Quiet and peaceful, it is well worth a visit.

Interested in more information on the Dundas Valley? Visit my Facebook page at: Happy hiking!!

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