Garden Club of London EcoTrail | Carolinian Canada

Garden Club of London EcoTrail

A Natural Oasis along Busy Wonderland Road

Visitors can enjoy and learn about the many native species found throughout this urban oasis in the heart of London. It’s an opportunity to discover over 250 native trees, shrubs, grasses and plants - each tagged with its common and scientific name. Meandering woodchip pathways offer the chance to get close to each specimen, while numerous benches provide places for contemplation and rest.

A Meadow Transformed to Showcase Carolinian Forest

Bringing back the glory of a Carolinian Forest to an old Springbank Park meadow doesn’t happen on its own. Since 1992, the Garden Club of London, with the City’s help, have been planting trees, removing invasive species and introducing wildflowers. This unique site is now important for teaching future generations about responsible stewardship, conservation and the creation of natural urban habitats. Student groups have been involved in spring clean-up and planting so that they can, in turn, carry on our legacy as caretakers of urban forests.

More about the site:

Location: The woodland is located in Springbank Park along the Maurice Chapman Walkway across from Wonderland Gardens (205 Wonderland Rd., S.)

Accessibility:  wide wood chip paths, benches, seasonal washrooms

Special Features: naturalized forest garden; pollinator plants, school group opportunities, volunteer training program, plant labels, self-guided tour, adopt-a-plot program

EcoTrail Partner: The Garden Club of London’s motto is “Fun with Flowers” with a focus on education in the areas of design, horticulture and conservation. The woodland restoration area is dedicated to London’s former director of Parks and Recreation, Maurice Chapman.

Outside Voices, Please!

"Our hope is to enable as many people to learn as well as to fully experience the joy of simply being in nature"
#ecotrail #gardenclubecotrail

If you are member of Garden Club of London or a visitor to the trail, this is an opportunity for you to share your experiences and photos. Stories, quotes or photos can help others see the world with new eyes. They offer a stepping stone to learn more about local nature.

Sharing is easy: Just tag your photos, tweets or updates on any social media platform with #ecotrail #gardenclubecotrail

Cardinal Flower (cr. B. Buck)

Gems of the Thames

The Woodland Restoration Project EcoTrail is adjacent to the Thames River. This prominent water body is a Canadian Heritage River and the defining feature of the Thames River Conservation Action Plan area. In addition to the Carolinian forest and meadow plants along the trail, this area is home to some rare species, such as the Spiny Softshell Turtle and Black Redhorse. These species are highly dependent the health of the waters, woodlands and wetlands associated with the Thames.

How to Help? Start with Native Plants

Simple actions, such as planting with native plants or creating a buffer between a path and a stream can make a big difference for Carolinian wildlife. You don’t have to be an expert! Our woodland habitat action menu and aquatic action menu offer some inspiration to begin:

Know Your Plants

To Weed or Not to Weed . . . That is the Question

Sneezeweed. Butterfly Weed. Thimbleweed. These are just a few of a long list of native plants with bad rap because of their names. Yet ecologists would be happy to have these so-called weeds grow. Conversely, many common garden plants can wreak havoc in natural areas. They are adept at out-competing their native cousins. Learning about what plants to keep and what to pull is a critical skill for gardeners interested in helping biodiversity.

Explore the EcoTrail and connect with the Garden Club of London to help you learn what is “native or not” before you head out to the garden.

Take a Tour: This urban EcoTrail offers opportunities to participate in guided and self-guided tours. Discover the benefits of a mature tree canopy and how planting hardy native plants can be cost-effective and benefit the environment as well. The restored area is host to many shade plants, but there are also locations where sun-tolerant plants, like Butterfly Milkweed, attract Monarchs and other pollinators.

Challenge Yourself: Check out the tree inventory of the Woodland Garden. Can you find the trees in summer? How many can you identify in winter?

Case of Mistaken Identity: Some plants are posers. These ten invasive plants are dressed up to look like their native counterparts. Do you know who is who? [coming soon]

Adopt a Plot: Join the Garden Club of London and use the opportunity to adopt a plot of land in the Woodland EcoTrail. You will receive training on how to identify native species and rid the garden of unwanted invaders.

Grow Wild! Use the following resources to make better decisions how to help habitats in your own backyard.

Grow local, native plants
Use our Species at Risk in Action Education Kit
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