Garden4Bees to curate a community garden in Exeter

By Stephanie Egelton

MacNaughton Park in Exeter will have some pollinating friends in the coming months, with a recent interest from the London Community Fund’s Garden4Bees Grant program.

At the May 2 South Huron Council meeting, Murray Hunter from the London Community Fund spoke as a delegation to council, regarding a project that he has curated in memory of his late daughter, Julia Hunter. This garden (Garden4Bees) aims to educate the public on the declining bee population, as well as provide the existing bees a pollination garden. After a staff report coming back to council at the May 16 meeting, this garden (one of 30 in Southern Ontario) was approved, and the Garden4Bees project will commence as soon as possible.

Hunter noted to council at the May 2 meeting, and reflected after the May 16 meeting, that he saw something special in Exeter.

“While driving through on my way to one of our gardens in Bayfield, I saw how beautiful and well maintained the Town of Exeter was, and wanted to contribute something in response,” he stated.

Community Service Manager for South Huron, Jo-Anne Fields commented on what the “pollination park” will provide for the community.

“This garden will enhance the green space and provide a quiet space for visitors of the trail, pavilion and park area,” stated Fields. “Residents and visitors can enjoy the beauty of the garden, as well as the other park amenities.  As families enjoy this initiative, they can also educate their children on the importance and benefits of Garden4Bees.”

The garden will be located across the bridge at MacNaughton Park, in the grassy area around the first tree to the north. It was be approximately eight feet around the tree, and include flora that bees tend to enjoy in order to attract them. The Julia Hunter Fund, whose endowment is with the London Community Foundation, has submitted a list and will donate the cost of all plantings (approximately $1,000). Community Services will pay approximately $500 for the mulch and time used.

“We hope the project can begin as soon as possible as the plans are ready to go,” Hunter said. “The Municipality of South Huron has been welcoming and very easy to work with. I hope this garden will be a special and heartwarming place for everyone who comes by.”