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Mono Pollinator Garden

Bee on a flower
This is your friend! [Photo Credit: Jon Sullivan, obtained from Wikimedia Commons]

The purpose of the Mono Pollinator Garden is to protect and increase the number of wild pollinators.

Contact the Garden

By the example of our garden our GOAL is to reverse the decline of pollinators.  Our garden is designed to encourage our community to create pollinator friendly gardens.

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Bee balm (Monarda didyma)Close up of a bee balm

Flower of the Week

Scarlet Beebalm (Monarda didyma)

This native plant blooms from mid-July for many weeks. If the rain is plentiful it will bloom for months. It prefers moist soil and a bit of afternoon shade is appreciated. The brilliant colour is a welcome sight in the garden.

It is used as a nectar source primarily by hummingbirds and butterflies and is also visited by bumblebees, many smaller bees and other kinds of insects.

Monarda didyma was given the common name of Oswego Tea. It was noted that the Native Americans of northern New York into Ontario used the leaves for a medicinal beverage.

Its leaves can be used as a balm for insect stings, to make teas and several other uses.

The Undies Test

In May of 2020 the Mono Pollinator Garden volunteers buried cotton undies in various places around the garden. The concept is that over time the soil microbes would eat away at the cotton. Eight weeks later the undies were dug up and were graded for their levels of degradation. The "undies test" helps indicates for the levels of soil microbes and overall soil health. Try it in your garden!

What is the Problem?

The problem is a worldwide decrease in the number of pollinators - by at least 50% in the last century.  

As pollination is necessary for the production of many of our foods the loss of pollinators threatens our food supply.  Furthermore, survival of our natural spaces by new growth from seeds is dependent on pollination.  

Pollination occurs by wind and by pollen transport by insects.  Although bees, wasps, flies, moths and butterflies some birds all pollinate, the most effective and important pollinators are wild/native bees.

The causes of wild bee decline are habitat loss, pesticides and diseases.

Panoramic view of the Pollintor Garden. Photo Credit: Kevin Tipson
Photo Credit: Kevin Tipson

Come and See Mono's Pollinator Garden in Action!
Learn What You Can Do! 

The Pollinator Garden is located on Town of Mono land at  246366 Hockley Road, just west of Hurontario St. beside the Dufferin Board of Trade offices.

The design, construction and maintenance of this garden has been done by local community volunteers.   The Garden’s costs are covered by the financial support of the Town of Mono and by donations from interested citizens.

Designed to attract all types of pollinators, there are plantings of pollinator friendly perennials, bushes and trees.  The plants are selected so that there are blooms to supply nectar and pollen throughout the growing season.  In addition to the plantings for bees, moths and butterflies the garden includes pathways, seating and educational signage.

Mono Pollinator Garden Sign

Our Objectives

  • provide habitat, food, and protection for all types of pollinators
  • create an educational environment and create programs that teach adults and children how to create their own pollinator habitat
  • To show what is possible with a living experiment

Pollinator Garden From Above

Aerial Photo of the Mono Pollinator Garden

What is Pollination? 

Pollination occurs when pollen grains from a flower’s male parts, (the anthers) are moved to the female part (the stigma) of a flower.  For fertilization to occur this transfer must occur between plants of the same species. The healthiest seeds are produced when this occurs between different plants.  Once on the female part, the pollen grain grows into the ovary and fertilization occurs, producing a seed or fruit.  

About 75% of the world’s plants and 40% of our crops depend on insects to transfer pollen. Other plants depend on wind and water for pollination.
Insect pollinators are attracted by flowers the flowers colour, scent, and sugary nectar.  Both the Nectar and pollen are a major food supply for many insects.  Transfer of Pollen is often incidental to the collection of nectar.  As an insect collects nectar from a flower, it brushes against the flower’s pollen, some of which sticks to the insect’s body. When it moves to the next flower to collect nectar, some of the pollen will break free and be left on the second flower.  Sometimes the insect is searching for pollen to carry back to its nest.


There are many organisms which transfers pollen from one plant to another including beetles, flies, moths, wasps, birds and butterflies. However our most effective pollinators are wild bees.

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What is The Problem

World wide, the number of pollinators has decreased by at least 50% in the last century. The culprits are habitat loss, pesticides and diseases. This is a common problem throughout the world and particularly in Ontario and Dufferin County.  We lose land that used to support pollinators by growth and development, and by farming practices that eliminate pollinator-supporting plants.

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The Solution (is not complicated)

1. Provide good habitat,

2. Stop/reduce using pesticides,

3. Control diseases.

4. Provide the educational tools for the community to support pollination

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What Do I Need to Know?

Bees require nectar, pollen, water and a nesting site, and they require this throughout spring, summer and autumn.  By providing proper habitat for insects to forage for food, to find shelter and to create nesting sites, we can help the pollinator populations to grow and survive. Your solution to the pollinator problem is to provide these needs by planting a Pollinator-friendly Garden.   This type of Garden has trees, shrubs and perennials each of which supply good quantities of nectar and pollen over many weeks.  Usually native plants are most useful to insects as their nectar flow and availability is often better than non-natives.  By selecting different plants whose blooming periods span the spring, summer and fall seasons, bees are assured of food sources throughout their life span.

By involving many of our community in good planting practices in their own gardens the net effect is a very significant for support of pollinators.  

We want to educate every person who visits the garden and convince them of the importance of planting a variety of pollinator friendly plants. We want to provide the tools & resources so that this becomes simple practice for everyone to apply in their own gardens

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What Is a Go-to List of Reliable "Pollinator" Plants? 

  Spring Flowering Summer Flowering Fall Flowering
Shrubs and Trees
  • Maples (Acer species)
  • Serviceberry (Amelanchier species)
  • Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
  • New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)
  • Eastern witch hazel (Hamamelis Virginians)
  • Red Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
  • Eastern Pasque flower (Anemone Patens)
  • Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica)
  • Wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata)
  • Foamflower (Tiarella cordifolia)
  • Beardtongue (Penstemon hirsutus)
  • Blazing star (Liatris spicata)
  • Beebalm (Monarda didyma)
  • Culver’s root (Veronicastum virginicum)
  • Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
  • Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
  • Common boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
  • Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnal)
  • New England aster (Symphyotricum sp)
  • Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinals)
  • Bugbane (Actaea simples)
   Very early:
  • Glory of the Snow
  • Snowdrops
  • Crocus
  • Winter aconite

  • Borage
  • Cosmos
  • Sunflowers
  • Calendula
  • Bachelor buttons
  • Sunflowers
  • Calendula

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Can I Volunteer?

We are very interested in new volunteers.

Community volunteers who have a passion for gardening and pollinator protection do the work at the garden.  Each volunteer sits on one or more committees.  

Our Gardening Group works two mornings every week.  These mornings are a good social time, a mix of fun and work. Please come and work with us for half day a week or as much as you are available.   

What will I get out of volunteering? You will become a better ecologically focused gardener. From some of our experts you will learn choices of plants and habitat and how to help your plants to survive and grow.  And most importantly you will be making a difference for the preservation of our ecosystem.

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Join Our Volunteers

If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out the online Pollinator Garden Volunteer Form.

 Or you can contact any of our seven working groups directly for information or to join the group. All of the groups have separate functions.

Working Groups

Plant Selection and Planting

The workloads are variable depending on the time of year and what you time that you have available.

Volunteers at Work at the Mono Pollinator Garden

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Our Educational Programs

We have on site interpretive signage, identification signage and information brochures. Interpretive signage will tell you about the pollination process and suggest perennials shrubs and trees that you might like to grow on your property.

We have an educational outreach program that is done in partnership with the local schools.  Children are taught and work in our garden.  We believe that if children understand the importance of pollinators and their problems that there is real hope for our planet.

We also have corporate workdays with local businesses.  This allows adults to take part in the maintenance and planting process and learn about the importance of pollination. (See Sponsoring an Event)

We also encourage visits by any local group who wishes a garden tour.

Kids enjoying educational programs in the Pollinator Garden

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Garden Governance

The management committee for this garden is composed of representatives from the Town of Mono Department of Public Works and the Council of the Town of Mono and the Leads of each Working Group.

The Working Groups are:

                  1. Planting and plant selection,  

                  2. Gardening

                  3. Construction

                  4. Fundraising

                  5. Education

                  6. Communications

Pollinator Garden Management Committee Meeting Agendas, Minutes, and Documents

View more of the management committee's agendas and minutes online

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The History of the Mono Pollinator Garden

Hayfield that was transformed into the Mono Pollinator Garden
This was a hayfield

In October 2015, the Council of the Town of Mono approved the concept of the garden, and in 2016, the Council designated the property and donated the start-up funds. Since then the garden was designed, created and maintained by about 25 local volunteers.

The initial development was in the north part of the designated 1½ acres of land.  


As the site was an old hayfield, the spring and summer of this year emphasized weed control by cutting and tilling.  

An architectural plan was created.  The site was laid out with walking trails and raised mounds for growing some plants.  Boulders logs and stumps were placed. We developed a management plan and an organization plan for volunteers.  


This was the first year of planting. We planted on the three mounds and in the hedgerows on the western and northern boundaries.  Perennials, shrubs and trees were planted – a total of about 2000.  Major construction included a cedar rail fence to demarcate the garden from the entrance laneway, a compost bin and grass swales for drainage.  

Digging weeds by hand and the use of cedar mulch accomplished maintenance weed control.  This became a weekly activity by a group of dedicated weeders.  For further weed control the flat areas were repeatedly tilled. In the fall we hosted a group of TD Bank staff that planted over 100 trees in small groves in the south third of the plot.  


In our second year of planting, we extended into the flat areas and did some in-fill planting on the mounds and the hedgerows.  The work of our group of dedicated weeders was extended to two days per week as we worked hard to keep ahead of the weeds.  This was assisted by a major cedar bark mulching program.

An information kiosk was built, carved garden signage was created at the entrance and we installed a portable toilet.
Three custom benches were donated, one of granite and two made of birch slabs.  Through a generous donation we were able to create permanent walking trails and a parking area by removing the wood chips and replaced them with fine gravel.

We were excited to begin the educational program.  This is the prime reason for the garden.  We constructed our own messages and graphics for the interpretive signage, made plant name signs and began the visiting educational sessions.

The official opening, held on a beautiful Sunday in August was attended by over 100 persons.


This was our third year and we continued to in-fill with plantings in sparsely covered and new areas. We also changed our approach to weed management. Manual weed control was continued, followed by mulching for our raised mounds and other selected areas. The rest of the garden was maintained by soil protective weed cutting, a change designed to protect possible nesting sites for pollinators.        

New projects included the installation of a buried water line with two hydrants in the centre of the garden. This has made it much easier to get water to thirsty plants.

Two new trial plots were established, one for a wildflower meadow, and a second one for regenerative soil health recovery.

To help with the eradication of Canada thistle in the southern half of the garden, a competitive planting of Sorghum Sudangrass and Millet was completed.  When this area's soil is ready, we are planning to plant a wild flower meadow.  

We continued with our educational program which has been particularly strong with the public schools. The children come to the garden to learn about pollination and help with planting pollinator friendly plants.

Two Horticultural /Garden Clubs were hosted this year, and more and more community members are visiting the garden to photograph the blooms and collect ideas for their own pollinator gardens.

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Other Sources of Information

  1. Bee Basics - An Introduction to Our Native Bees
  2. Pollinators’ Best Hope: A New Approach to Pollinator Habitat That Starts in Your Yard, presented by Doug Tallamy from the University of Delaware
  3. Creating Pollinator Gardens: The Role of Plant Choice and Design, presented by Harland Patch, Penn State University
  4. Creating and Managing Habitat for Native Bees, presented by Heather Holm, Author and Biologist
  5. Deciding To Create a Pollinator Garden Is the Easy Step — What To Do Next? Presented by Matthew Shepherd, The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
  6. Getting Started with Wildflower Patches, Flower Strips, and Meadows, presented by Shana Byrd, The Dawes Arboretum

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