Honey bee populations in Canada are at an all-time high, according to Statistics Canada. With more honey bees buzzing around it’s important to make sure there’s enough pollen and nectar for them and other pollinators. To raise awareness and help support honey bee health, Bees Matter designated June 5-12 as National Planting Week and Canadians nation-wide were invited to plant pollinator-friendly gardens.
One community was especially productive during National Planting Week: Stratford, Ontario. The community received the Communities in Bloom Pollinator-Friendly Community of the Year award in 2016 in recognition of the honey bee-friendly initiatives already in place. During National Planting Week they continued to build on these efforts by planting new pollinator-friendly gardens and ongoing educational programs.
“Stratford is proud to be a bee friendly city,” says Barb Hacking, member of Stratford’s Communities in Bloom committee. “Honey bees and other pollinators are important to our ecosystem and we want to do our part to help them thrive.”
To kick off National Planting Week, the Nature Ontario Youth Council and local residents began planting the Ted Blowes Memorial Garden. Affectionately known as “Mr. Stratford,” the former mayor was a life-long advocate for Stratford, a city he truly loved and he was loved by the residents as well. The new garden will expand an existing pollinator-friendly garden, spearheaded by Mr. Blowes, into the shape of a butterfly. Four new flower beds‒which include seeds from Buzzing Gardens seed kits‒will create the butterfly’s wings, and the Confederation Bridge will create the body.
The Nature Ontario Youth Council gets their hands dirty planting the Ted Blowes Memorial Garden.
The community has also provided residents of The McCarthy Place Retirement Residence with Buzzing Gardens seed kits to plant on the grounds. The Grade 3 class at the Avon Public School also plants a garden every year as a project, and this year they included Buzzing Gardens seeds to make their garden pollinator-friendly.
The Avon Public School’s Grade 3 class and their new pollinator-friendly garden. Look at all those green thumbs!
In addition to these activities, Barb Hacking spoke to students at the Shakespeare Public School about the importance of pollinators and how everyone, including students like themselves, can help. After the talk, Ms. Hacking helped the students put their new knowledge into action by planting a pollinator-friendly garden of their own.