The Garden at Lucas House

About the project

In December 2022 I completed a course with the University of Guelph on naturalizing and restoring landscapes. My final project was a proposal to create a naturalized garden at Lucas House, in Haliburton, Ontario. Introduction Lucas House is a Century home in the centre of Haliburton, Ontario. It is co-owned by myself and is currently…



I always knew the first year would be weedy. Until the plants are established and because I didn’t put a thick layer of mulch down (here’s why), weeds will pop up. I’m taking a pretty relaxed attitude towards them. In the main, I want to stop them seeding and creating more weeds, so I’ll keep…

Monarch butterfly on Swamp Milkweed

A Monarch

This is what makes it worthwhile. A monarch butterfly on the Swamp Milkweed planted in the garden.

Lance-leaf coreopsis

You’re going to need more plants!

Someone passed by the garden the other day and said: you’re going to need more plants. Not true – mostly. It’s true, the planting looks rather sparse right now. The thing is, we’re used to instant gardens – big plants, already flowering. Boom, you’re done! This garden was planted with smaller plants – they’re called…


Planting 1,200 plants was daunting. Fortunately, I had two people to help me. We had it done in three days. I used a powerful drill with an auger attached. This made making holes much easier.

Laying out the plants

I did a detailed planting plan, which I mostly stuck to. The plants are in drifts and groups of up to 20 individuals, with the little bluestem grasses filling in between them. I chose plants that have a variety of blooming times, so there is always interest throughout the growing season. I used spray paint…

Plants arrive

I ordered 1,200 plants from Grow Wild! native plant nursery in Omemee , Ontario. They came as plugs – so quite small. But they will grow quickly and within two years will densely cover the ground. Buying plugs is more cost-effective. They’re much cheaper than bigger plants, but soon catch up with their more mature…

Adding a mulch

I decided to use a wood-chip mulch. I don’t believe a mulch is strictly necessary, but I chose to do so for aesthetic reasons because the garden is in a prominent position. I only put 1-2 inches down, which is less than recommended for most garden projects. However, for a native plant garden, less mulch…

the lawn

Removing the lawn

The first task was to remove the lawn. There was 1,200 sq ft of it around the south, east and west sides of the building. There are several ways to remove the lawn: solarizing (covering it in plastic so the grass bakes), layering (covering it in cardboard so the grass is starved of light), removing…

The plants

Picture of interpretative sign showing plants at Lucas House
The plants at Lucas House

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