July 15, 2010
Two Ontario projects are part of an international pilot project to evaluate a new rating system for sustainable landscapes. The Sustainable Sites Initiative announced the selection of the Humber Arboretum Centre and Wildflower Farm.

The new landscape rating system will be used in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, used in both Canada and the U.S. Presently, the LEED system contains only basic landscape requirements.

Over 150 other pilot projects were approved to take part in the Sustainable Sites program, 34 from the U.S., Iceland and Spain. One other Canadian site — the Alderwood Rest Home, Baddeck, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia — was named to participate in the program.

Wildflower Farm

The pilot project at Wildflower Farm in Coldwater will include the establishment and growth of a native plant nursery, demonstration gardens and seed production fields to help demonstrate the low maintenance and sustainability of native wildflowers and grasses on a large commercial scale without the use of irrigation.

Miriam Goldberger and her husband Paul Jenkins launched the Wildflower Farm (see Member Profile article, Horticulture Review, October 2008) with her husband in 1997.  They grew to specialize as a leading native plant nursery and natural garden centre.  This led the couple to Eco-Lawn, a blend of fine fescues as part of a sustainable lawn.

Humber Arboretum

Humber Arboretum was selected because of its existing environmentally friendly elements, as well as its potential to implement and model new sustainable technologies.  

Established in 1977, the Humber Arboretum is a joint venture of Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning, the City of Toronto, and Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. The arboretum features 250 acres of land and more than 10 kilometres of paths and trails through public gardens, meadows, forests, wetlands, wildlife corridors and waterways.

The program runs through to June 2012, with the final rating system and reference guide issued by early 2013. More information is available at www.sustainablesites.org.