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Bees take flight at YYJ’s new native pollinator garden

We’re buzzing about the new native pollinator garden installed at the Victoria International Airport! At 1100m2, this is our largest garden installation to date and took a huge collaborative effort to complete. We were honoured to manage this project in tandem with the Airport team and can’t wait to see how the plants flourish over the coming years.

The idea of a pollinator garden has been in the works for years. FED hopped on board last fall when we hosted a workshop for the airport team, bringing in Satinflower Nurseries to talk site preparation and plants and Pollinator Partnership Canada to teach all about native pollinators. A few design sessions, several truckloads of rocks, soil, and mulch, and many planting parties later, we’ve transformed a former field into a pollinator paradise!

What did it take to make a garden of this size a reality?

  • 325,200 native plant seeds

  • 2000 native plants

  • 114 cubic yards of soil

  • 30 volunteers

  • 15 cubic yard of mulch

  • 5 different garden design drafts

  • 1 giant deer-proof fence

About the garden

Historically, the area was a thriving and culturally-significant Garry oak meadow that supported a rich and diverse ecosystem, featuring grasslands, woodlands, and wildflower fields that would turn purple every spring when the camas bloomed.

Since the late 19th century, the land has been used for agriculture and aviation, and the Garry oak ecosystem, which supports the highest plant diversity of any terrestrial ecosystem in British Columbia, was replaced with grass. To increase the biodiversity of the area and honour the original ecosystem that dominated this land, the Airport team, in consultation with W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council, decided to create a native pollinator garden.

The native plants found in this garden - along with features like rocks, patches of bare earth, and a woody habitat zone - support the native pollinators they have co-evolved with over millennia. The plants rely on pollinators for reproduction, and the pollinators rely on the plants for food and shelter. These relationships create a healthy and diverse ecosystem, which helps create a healthy community.

A collaborative effort

FED’s work relies heavily on community collaboration to create real change, and this project was no different. It’s only through our partnership with YYJ’s amazing team and support from Satinflower Nurseries, Pollinator Partnership Canada, W̱SÁNEĆ Leadership Council, Peninsula Landscape Supplies, Peninsula Rock Products, Vancity Credit Union, Synergy Enterprises, Stantec, Island Earth Landscape Services, Garden City Tree & Landscape, Listco Landscape & Irrigation, and Graphic FX Signworks that this dream garden became a reality.

The garden is located along Willingdon Road near the digital billboard. Visit it throughout the year to see how it supports pollinators from season to season!


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