Initially, because of cost, the only landscaping that was done on the property was a professional installation in the front yard. This was because the 56 x 200 foot lot had not been maintained for a long period of time. Knee-high weeds were growing out of hard Bronte clay – a nightmare to try to reclaim. In addition to Dandelions, the property was infested with invasive Buckthorn and Garlic Mustard.
After less than two years, the front grass was not able to establish itself in the clay soil and it died. GREENbilt owners, Mike Manning and Catherine Marshall, decided that the whole property needed to be landscaped as a showcase of green gardening. By 2016, this massive project was complete and the sustainability and uniqueness of the garden was recognized by the Oakville Horticultural Society, which included the GREENbilt Garden on its prestigious annual garden Tour, Secret Gardens of Oakville.
Features of GREENbilt Garden include:
Water management and conservation
- Solar panels running rain barrels that water hanging baskets
- a 90-gallon rain barrel watering the front garden through an underground irrigation drip system at the plant roots
- rainbarrel/solar panel system meets the extensive water needs hanging baskets and flower pots
- a smaller rainbarrel with a short hose to water a new Butterfly garden that is not covered by the irrigation system
- permeable pavers throughout that return rainwater directly to the water table rather than sending it to storm sewers where it mixes with pollutants.
- A French well underground to drain water away from the house during a heavy rainfall
- Extensive hardscaping and mulched areas rather than grass to reduce the amount of water required
- Experimentation with hardy, drought and sun resistant groundcovers to see what thrives
- Creeping Jenny
- Creeping Charlie
- Virginia Creeper
- Selection of very hardy shrubs and trees
- Extensive use of river rocks and mulch to cover a thickly weed-infested back yard
- No use of herbicides
- Slowly reclaiming sections of the yard by planting in the mulch
- Dandelions, Garlic Mustard from abandoned house next door
- Buckthorn being slowly phased out
Support the Eco-system
- Attract and feed butterflies with a dense butterfly garden with mature milkweed and other butterfly attractors
- Have strong butterfly attractor flowers in raised gardens in front yard
- Milkweed and attractor flowers in back garden
Bees and insects
- Bee friendly habitat
- No use of pesticides
- Bee hotel (designed by Toronto bee activist Paul Dowsett of Sustainable TO)
- Birdfeeders front and back
- Special squirrel proof birdfeeder pole
GREENbilt Homes believes that GREENbilt House is a model of cost effective conservation and serves a social purpose as a Green demonstration project. Tours of GREENbilt House and GREENbilt Garden are by request. Please contact email@example.com
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