Nature's Place Project

The Nature's Place, formerly the RD Lawrence Place is part of the Minden Cultural Centre focused on interactive learning experiences with a mandate to foster a love of reading, promote the art of writing, and deepen respect for our natural heritage.  Nature's Place is a 1,900 square foot straw bale building that features solar thermal heating, indoor wetland waste water treatment and over a dozen "green" construction techniques.

Project Objectives
•    Create a warm welcome to Nature's Place

•    Soften the new hardscape entrance ramps/stairs/walkway with natural plantings that provide year round interest

•    Create a low maintenance garden that reflects the values of Nature's Place which focus on appreciating and preserving the heritage and beauty of our natural surroundings in Haliburton County

Site Description

Size – 24x21x16 = 180 sq.ft Shape - roughly triangular
Topography – raised bed in front of entrance to the building; gently sloping; surrounded by asphalt entrance ramps and stairs/walkwaywith railing; grassed area and parking lot to the south
Soil Conditions – top soil; black landscape cloth to kill weeds; slope may present some drainage issues
Exposure – south facing; full sun; no other planting in immediate area

To create a hardy, low maintenance garden with year round interest that integrates with the focus and philosophy of Nature's Place suggest:

  • Perennial garden that incorporates native plants and materials of varying heights, colours and textures suitable to full sun location that will provide year round interest and attract birds and butterflies
  • Select plants that will tolerate heat and natural rainfall Incorporate natural materials such as large boulders, logs, pine or cedar mulch

The Garden
The Haliburton County Master Gardeners planned the garden to be in keeping with the principles of R.D. Lawrence and Nature's Place. The garden is a raised bed (since it was created by the wheelchair ramp access route) and in full sun facing south. So it contains plants that require very little water and are short so as to not block the view of Nature's Place. The plants reflect the nature of Haliburton County. They are not truly wild native species since you should not dig up wild plants. They are perennials, hardy to Haliburton’s growing conditions and soil so that they should endure a long time.

The focal point of the garden is the mineral containing rock placed by the Haliburton Geology Society. The secondary focus is the field stones surrounded by sedums as occurs throughout much of our abandoned farm areas. The mugho pines remind us of the mighty white pines. The backdrop is grasses and the foreground is aromatic herbs. Daffodils will provide early spring colour followed by the perennial geranium (cranesbill) and the orange and yellow “ditch” day lilies providing colour in the early summer. The Rudbeckia (black-eyed susans) and shasta daisies (ox-eye daisies) will bloom in full summer along with the Echinacea (purple coneflower). In the fall there will be perennial asters (fall roadside asters), sneezeweed and hardy chrysanthemums. The berries of the cotoneaster should be colourful in autumn too. Birds should benefit from the many seed heads left for winter interest.

Dinah Wilson,
Aug 6, 2010, 6:14 PM