Recommended Books

  • Gray, R. and Booth, S. (2024). The Gardener’s Guide to Native Plants of the Southern Great Lakes Region. Firefly Books, Richmond Hill, ON
  • Holm, H. (2014). Pollinators of Native Plants: Attract, Observe and Identify Pollinators and Beneficial Insects with Native Plants. Pollination Press LLC, Minnetonka, MN
  • Holm, H. (2022). Wasps: Their Biology, Diversity, and Role as Beneficial Insects and Pollinators of Native Plants. Pollination Press, Minnetonka, MN
  • Johnson, L. and Colla, S. (2022). A Garden for the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee: Creating Habitat for Native Pollinators. Douglas & McIntyre, Madeira Park, BC
  • Johnson, L. (1999). 100 Easy to Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens. Whitecap Books, Toronto, ON
  • Johnson, L. (2001). The New Ontario Naturalized Garden. Whitecap Books, Toronto, ON
  • Kimmerer, R.W. (2013). Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed Editions, Minneapolis, MN
  • Murphy, E. (2015). Building Soil: A Down to Earth Approach. Cool Springs Press, Beverly, MA
  • Pavlis, R. (2020). Soil Science for Gardeners: Working with Nature to Build Soil Health. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC
  • Tallamy, D.W. (2016). Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. Timber Press, Portland, OR
  • Tallamy, D.W. (2020). Nature’s Best Hope: A New Approach to Conservation That Starts in Your Yard. Timber Press, Portland, OR
  • Tallamy, D.W. (2001). The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees. Timber Press, Portland, OR
  • Tallamy, D.W. and Darke, R. (2014). The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden. Timber Press, Portland, OR
  • Vogt, B. (2017). A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future. New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC
  • Vogt, B. (2023). Prairie Up: An Introduction to Natural Garden Design. 3 Fields Books, University of Illinois Press

Online Resources

A Beginners Guide: How to Create a Pollinator Garden North American Native Plant Society

Bee and Pollinator Plant Lists and Fact Sheets, Heather Holm

BumbleBee Watch Help track sightings (link or free app available)

Grow Me InsteadA guide to replacing invasive plants with native plants

iNaturalist: Observe and share wild organism sightings (free app available)

Keystone Native Plants for our Ecoregion

Plant Finder Tool

Pollinator Garden Design, In Our Nature

Soil Calculator: How much soil, mulch, compost do I need?

Soil Testing: Stratford

Soil Testing: Honeyland Ag

Soil YouTube videos:

Soil Texture Triangle (use with soil jar test)

City of Guelph, Sample Native Garden Plans

Halton Master Gardeners, Native Garden Plans


A contraction of ‘biological diversity’. Refers to the variety of animals, plants, fungi, and microorganisms that make up our natural world. Each of these species and organisms work together in ecosystems, like an intricate web, to maintain balance and support life.
This happens when 2 or more species affect each other’s evolution. It can involve plants, animals, viruses, the environment. Species whose lives connect evolve together. Coevolution is one the major forces shaping the diversity of life on Earth.
A biological community of interacting organisms and their physical environment.
The natural home or environment of a plant, animal or other organism
Invasive Species
Plants, animals, insects and pathogens that are introduced (accidentally or deliberately) to an area and cause harm to the environment, economy or society. Also called alien species.
Keystone Species
An organism that defines an entire ecosystem and is critical to the survival of other species in the system. Without this species the entire system would change dramatically or disappear.
Native Species
Plants, animals, or any living organism that occurs naturally in the place they evolved
The process by which plant pollen is transferred from the male reproductive organs to the female reproductive organs to form fruit and seeds. Pollination can be done by wind, but most pollination is carried out by pollinating animals such as birds, bees, bats, butterflies, moths, called POLLINATORS.

Garden Design Tips

  • Know your site conditions
  • Make beds large enough to layer plantings
  • Plant using groupings and/or drifts
  • Use repetition to create a cohesive design
  • Think about bloom time
  • Consider mature plant size
  • Plan for four season interest