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REAL  planted a demonstration Monarch Garden on the REAL Deal site in 2019 as a 30th anniversary project.

Significant benefits include:

  • Critical habitat for the at-risk monarch butterflies: milkweed host plants for breeding stage, other colourful native nectar plants for feeding
  • Habitat for other pollinators: other butterfly species, birds, bees, and insects.
  • Visually attraction to human residents and tourists
  • Demonstration of what others can do on their own properties to enhance the local monarch population
  • An ongoing support to monarch populations in coming years
  • Legacy project for REAL’s 30th anniversary

The garden really took off in the first year and was attracting butterflies (and human visitors) right away.  So in 2020 we planted a second garden, a little closer to to William St.   By early June the garden was shaped,  various plants and two trees added, some decorative boulders placed, and a flagstone path laid.  We added perennials, annuals and two trees and a shrub before adding some mulch.

Read a story that appeared in the Smiths Falls Record News.

Garden – July 23, 2020

Garden Year 2 – 2020

Garden Year 1 – 2019

Garden Considerations


Plants in Our Garden

Read about our September 14th, 2019  Opening and see some photos.

Links to some monarch resources.


Here is the approximate location of the garden in front of the REAL Deal Store. We already have a native garden along the front of the store and a Community Garden on the other side of the parking lot.
There were several demonstration gardens in that space that were installed in 2009.  The idea was to show you could build a little garden with scrap materials. They had become overgrown and were removed to make way for they monarch garden. 
We mowed and leveled the area, and laid out the shape with a garden hose, incorporating two existing dogwoods.  
Cardboard was laid down over the shapes to smother the grass and weeds below it.  Triple mix soil was delivered by Landscape Products Depot.  It was moved onto the cardboard and some relief created.
We had done some shopping for distinctive rocks but realized there were some nice ones in the berm alongside the property.  Bobby Semple, who plows our driveway in the winter, very generously stopped by to extricate them and help us place them.  Some were much bigger than we thought!  But we got some very nice seating rocks in the bargain.
We created two foot wide paths and laid down landscape fabric.
We took delivery of about 50 flagstones that we had selected from Landscape Products Depot and began creating the path. 
A view of the flagstone path.  We are going to be adding a feature, possibly log seating, at the end of one path.  Some lower limbs of the linden tree were trimmed to make walking by there easier.

The rocks along the driveway are from the mini demonstration garden and were temporary to make sure no one makes the mistake of driving beyond the edge. 

Some of the large plants were put in, but we  waited until some of the smaller ones were more substantial before planting.

A garden bench was added, mulch laid down, and most of the plants are marked.  Some pea stone was added in the transition from the driveway to the garden.

Our garden qualified as a Monarch Waystation by the organization Monarch Watch, so that sign was incorporated into a REAL sign at the entrance to the garden. 

Encouraged by the garden’s success, a second garden, almost as large, was added in 2020 between the first bed and William Street.