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HIGH PARK NATURE is a joint project of the High Park Natural Environment Committee and High Park Stewards. We welcome your feedback, suggestions, articles and photos. Please contact us at mail@highparknature.org

ABOUT THE PHOTOS: Most of the photos on this site were contributed by local photographers and taken in High Park. Please do not copy or reproduce them without permission. If you would like to contribute photos (low resolution) for this website, please contact us at mail@highparknature.org

  HPNature is a member of Ontario's Nature Network


Volunteer Opportunities 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Greenbelt in Toronto: Ravines, Water, and Smart Growth

Speakers: Felix Whitton and Erica Woods

View Pingg invitation

Directions (1st light S. from Keele Subway)

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Howard Park Tennis Club, 430 Parkside Drive M6R 2Z3.

12 years after its creation, Ontario's Greenbelt is growing to include urban river valleys across the region. In Toronto these include the Don, Humber, and Rouge Rivers, and Morningside and Etobicoke Creeks. These green-blue corridors provide critical connections for water and wildlife, and between urban and rural residents.

They will become increasingly important places as our region attempts to cope with the impacts of climate change while accommodating an estimated 2.8 million new residents by 2031. Join the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation as we try and unravel what all this means for Toronto and the Greater Golden Horseshoe region.

New GreenBelt book (some will be available for $25 at the talk) and Friends of the GreenBelt


Erica Woods, Communications Manager

Erica joined the Friends of the Greenbelt in spring 2016, with over 5 years of communications experience in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, she was at Toronto City Hall in the office of Councillor Paula Fletcher working to build a green, inclusive and vibrant city. full bio

Felix Whitton, Senior Program and Engagement Lead

Felix joined the Foundation in November 2013. Originally from the UK, he brings with him more than five years’ experience in philanthropy, international conservation and ecological research. full bio

Sunday April 9, 2017

Nursery and Boulevard Beds Spring Maintenance

View Pingg invitation,


10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Meet in front of the Grenadier Restaurant

We plan to be doing a cleanup in the Boulevard Beds and in the Nursery, cutting down winter's growth and raking to uncover the plants that have survived the winter.

At the Nursery, please use the East Gate, the one near the green Stewards shed.

The Boulevard Beds are getting an exciting make-over this year. The group will be working in front of the Grenadier Restaurant parking lot uncovering the existing plants, removing old stalks and transplanting new native plants from the Nursery if weather allows.

All tools will be provided, but dress in layers and be prepared for muddy ground as the temperature is unpredictable.

Please bring anything you may wish to drink or snack on with you as there is no kitchen available.

Getting a jump on spring cleaning
Spring 2014
There's lots of hands needed in the Nursery
Spring 2014
Native plants awaken in the Boulevard Beds
April 22, 2012
Stewards Cleanup and Transplanting
be part of the Boulevard Bed redesign
Stewards work in rain or shine
April 10, 2011
April is for planting in the Boulevard Beds
April 22, 2012

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Gardening with Native Plants

Acclaimed author and native plant advocate Lorraine Johnson will show us ways to connect our own gardens with High Park by growing native plants, and best practices and growing techniques.

View Pingg invitation


10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Howard Park Tennis Club, 430 Parkside Drive M6R 2Z3.

Speaker: Lorraine Johnson

Lorraine will bring copies to purchase of 100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants ($26.95), City Farmer ($20 ) and some big encyclopedic gardening books she recently edited ($40).

There is a biography and list of books on her publisher's Douglas & McIntyre website. http://www.douglas-mcintyre.com/author/lorraine-johnson-2. See longer biography below photos.

Douglas & McIntyre and Good Reads books by Lorraine Johnson

One of many of her books on this topic
Published March 1st 2001 by Whitecap Books
Add some native plants to your own garden
Black Oak Savannah plants 2015


Lorraine Johnson is the author of numerous books on environmental issues and gardening. Former president of the North American Native Plant Society, her areas of expertise include gardening with native plants, urban agriculture, biodiversity conservation, and urban forest protection.

Some of the books she’s written include: The New Ontario Naturalized Garden; Grow Wild!; Green Future; The Real Dirt (which she co-authored with Mark Cullen); Tending the Earth; and City Farmer. A new edition of her book 100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants has just been published.

Along with the books she has written, Lorraine is also the Canadian editor of the What Plant Where Encyclopedia; Garden Plants and Flowers: A-Z Guide to the Best Plants for your Garden; Canadian Gardener's Guide; and The Natural Treasures of Carolinian Canada.

She regularly teaches in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University, edits the magazine Ground: Landscape Architect Quarterly, and is a Patron of the Toronto Botanical Garden.

Lorraine lives in Toronto, where she is active in the community garden movement and the effort to legalize backyard hens.


Sunday, March 12, 2016

Transplanting in the Greenhouse

View Pingg invitation, Directions


10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Meet at the High Park Greenhouse, Greenhouse Road

DST: Please set clocks ahead 1 hour on Sat. night.

For all current Stewards by invite

Greenhouse work is very popular, but due to space limitations we must restrict the number of participants to those who are currently on our email list.

It's finally time to begin the seeding process and transplant the seedlings that have been growing over the winter in the greenhouse. These will be used for plantings in different parks and for our native plant sale. Due to the cold weather please meet us in the main greenhouse first and we will go to the cold frame if necessary. All tools will be provided, but dress in layers as the temperature is unpredictable.

Please bring anything you may wish to drink or snack on with you as there is no kitchen available.


For more information on planting for restoration projects. See page 20 in particular for growing techniques: - Planting the Seed (pdf) Environment Canada

Getting a jump on spring
Some of these plants may be available at our native plant sale
Repotting the new seedlings
These are started early from seeds collected in the park

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Biological Control Programs for Invasive Plants

W.D. (Bill) McIlveen will speak on the introduction of insects, and sometimes plant diseases, to control invasive plant species

Sometimes they work, but sometimes there are complicating factors...examples include purple loosestrife (right).

View Pingg invitation


10:30 am to 12:30 pm

Howard Park Tennis Club, 430 Parkside Drive M6R 2Z3.

Speaker: W.D. McIlveen

W.D. (Bill) McIlveen has been involved in Ontario’s ecological land classification, rare and introduced species studies, terrestrial toxicology projects, the Breeding Bird Atlas, and the Ontario Tree Atlas. After a career with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, he served on the executive of the Field Botanists of Ontario and the Toronto Entomological Association, among other organizations. He is currently working on a new and comprehensive Flora of Halton.

Articles on this topic

Purple loosestrife beetles used as a bio-control, 2013, River News, Wisconsin

Ontario Invading Species Awareness Program

Common invasive species in High Park

Garlic Mustard
Dog-Strangling Vine aka Pale Swallow Wort
related to milkweed, poisonous to Monarchs
Asian Bittersweet up close
High Park September 2010
Hedge Parsley
A problem all summer
Himalayan Balsam
one of the prettier invasives we remove in mid summer
Common Buckthorn
a very invasive shrub in wooded areas

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Seed Cleaning in the Greenhouse

for Active Stewards

View Pingg invitation TBA

Greenhouse Directions

10:30 am to 12:30 pm

High Park Greenhouse, Greenhouse Road

By Invite - Updated: the session is full. We work even in snow, it's inside.

Seed Cleaning in the Greenhouse is very popular, but due to space limitations we are only sending invites to those on our email list, especially to those who have braved the elements and assisted in planting, invasive species removal, at our native plant sale, or are working on special projects. This special activity is a benefit for helping out during the past year.

RSVP to invitation is required.

Seed Cleaning is the separation of the usually tiny seeds from the dried flower heads, collected in High Park in the last year. Planting these separated seeds has proven to be very successful in cultivating as many rare and limited back oak savannah plants as possible.


For more information on using seeds in restoration projects. See page 23 in particular for seed cleaning: - Planting the Seed (pdf) Environment Canada

Some low-tech tools of the trade
Greenhouse, Winter 2014
Separating the seeds from the flower pod/head
Butterfly Milkweed is one of the easier seeds to separate

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Content last modified on April 23, 2017, at 11:28 PM EST