Presenting the Naturalized Garden

Youth Rain Action Storyboard

Post 15: Presenting the Naturalized Garden

By: Cynthia Acuna

Participants working on the natural garden design

Participants working on the natural garden design

This week we were very lucky to have Chris Ulcar, an architect who will be formalizing our garden design. All three groups presented to Chris Ulcar, and to the other two groups.

During the presentation we had to justify why we had chosen the plants and the placing of those plants in our garden. We utilized all the information we had learned from the first four workshops. Our group talked about the importance of the trapezoidal shape of the garden. The narrower part of the garden would face the river so that the water can go into the lawn.

We talked about the colours of the plants and their position in the garden. The colours we chosen attract bees. They include, purple, orange, and green. The other two colours of flowers we chose for our garden are pink and white. These will attract different kinds of pollinators. Our group really liked the way the colours of the flowering plants would look together. We also picked the plants so that something is flowering from spring to autumn, thereby supplying various insects and animals with food. For the winter we chose a fruiting shrub, that way the birds will have something to eat.

In the presentation we also talked about creating habitat for various pollinators. Since the plants are native to southern Ontario and they have co-evolved with native pollinators, they will be the most suitable for the soil conditions present and for the insects in the area. Having a diversity of plants will attract a diversity of insects and animals which in turn will enrich the biodiversity of the surrounding area.

After the presentation we had an opportunity to talk to Chris about the specifics of our garden plan. Chris pointed out that the drainage for our garden should travel along the path of least resistance. In this case, the excess water coming into the garden will simply be draining into the nearby swale located along Burhamthorpe Road E. He applauded the shape of the garden which our group member Bradley came up with. Chris also praised the decisions regarding our plant choice which Eninna and I researched. The other member of our group, Singh, kept reminding us about the purpose of the rain garden and what it would mean to the community to have one nearby. Singh kept us grounded. Luke, our youngest group member, was impressive in his knowledge of rain gardens and gardens in general. It was his idea to have gravel paths so that the water can travel to different parts of the garden and they could also serve as footpaths. The other two members of our group were newcomers but they made valuable contributions throughout the final stages.

The end was bittersweet. We are done with the workshops which is sad, but the sweet part is that we will be installing a garden that will be both beautiful and functional. Though I do not know which garden will be chosen by community members, whether it is the Native Garden Group, or the Pollinator Garden Group, or the Formal Garden Group, I know that in the end I have gained so much valuable information about teamwork, nature, and the connection of humans to nature and the role and responsibility we have towards nature.


Visit the Youth Rain Action project page to learn more or contact Emily Dutton at

The Youth Rain Action Project is led by Ecosource in partnership with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, the Burnhamthorpe Sustainable Neighbourhood Retrofit Action Plan (SNAP), and Sheridan Nurseries, and is generously supported by the Government of Ontario’s Great Lakes Guardian Community Fund.