Landscaping being added to the Permaculture Garden

A set of gardens in the University of Guelph Arboretum will be revitalized and expanded through a $100,000 gift from the Gosling Foundation.

The gift will support the renewal of the Arboretum’s Gosling Wildlife Gardens and expand their infrastructure, plantings, signs and features.

“A garden is to learn and love nature,” said Philip Gosling, who established the Gosling Foundation to protect biodiversity.

Revitalization has already begun and will include re-roofing the garden shed in the collector’s garden, creating a permaculture garden and enhancing water features.

“We are grateful to the Goslings for their legacy commitment to revitalize the Gosling Wildlife Gardens,” said arboretum director Justine Richardson “Year-round, these popular gardens serve so many people — students, photographers, homeowners looking for garden ideas. This gift will increase the impact of the gardens for all visitors.”

Sean Fox, manager of collections, said the multi-year revitalization will increase plant diversity, which will enhance opportunities to support more wildlife and biodiversity in the gardens.

“We aim to inspire our visitors by utilizing garden micro-habitats to cultivate unique and important species of plants they may be keen to try in their own gardens,” he said.

The Gosling Wildlife Gardens were built 32 years ago, transforming an open field into a sheltered patchwork of ponds and glades that offer diverse habitat for wildlife and learning opportunities for arboretum visitors.

The collection of five gardens creates a “neighbourhood” showcasing trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants suitable for backyards in Ontario.

As the arboretum celebrates its 50th anniversary, Richardson said the maturing gardens provide new opportunities for the space.

“Those first little cedar plantings have grown into a thick hedge, changing the microclimate and drawing more wildlife. Given the increasing urgency of conserving biodiversity, we understand that spaces that connect people to nature are more important than ever.”