Fall is an excellent time of year for gardening with many native species of plants that benefit birds. Plants that are native/indigenous to our region evolved here over millions of years and are adapted to our climate. Many species produce seeds or offshoots in late summer to fall, before the plant enters a dormant state over the winter months, to emerge again in spring. These plants are commonly known as perennials and include wildflowers, vines, trees, and shrubs. Native plants are particularly beneficial for wildlife because they directly provide sustenance, such as nectar and foliage, as well as supporting the life cycles of insects that other animals depend on for food. Before settler colonization of North America a couple hundred years ago, native plants were much more widespread across the continent. Today, native plants have been replaced in many areas with introduced, non-native species, such as grass lawns and ornamental plants that are incompatible with ancient, indigenous ecologies. Native plants play important roles in adapting the landscape to climate change conditions and conserving biodiversity, generally requiring less maintenance and support from humans compared to introduced species. However, for native plants to be reestablished in ecosystems within communities, spreading seeds and improving local diversity can be a big help. Read more about the relationships between native plants, insects and birds.
Bird Friendly London, in partnership with Reimagine Co., is hosting an event dedicated to gardening with native plants, including a plant exchange program for nature enthusiasts around London and surrounding region. The event will be held on Saturday September 24th, 2022 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm at Reimagine Co, London's zero-waste grocery store found at 206 Piccadilly St near Oxford St E and Richmond St in downtown London (click here for directions). This event is open to anyone, including experienced gardeners and newcomers who wish to learn more about Ontario's native plants. The space for the event is accessible to wheelchair users.
The event will also include a brief presentation by a guest speaker about ecological restoration and gardening with native plants, a trivia contest and light refreshments. We encourage all attendees to please wear a face mask during indoor portions of the event. If the weather allows, the native plant exchange program will take place outside in the parking lot.
Please register using the form at the link below to attend the event and/or to contribute native plant materials for the plant exchange program:
Participating in the plant exchange is simple: if you have some native plants to contribute, please bring seeds, cuttings, shoots or saplings of whatever species to share with others. We ask that you ONLY use plants that are confirmed as being native/indigenous to southwestern Ontario. Information is provided below to assist you with determining the native range of your plant(s). At the event, we will use a random lottery system for participants to take turns with selecting a free plant from the remaining stock to take home. If you wish to contribute plants but not take any home, or if you wish to receive a plant but don't have anything to contribute, both are totally fine!