Ecological Restoration: A Butterfly Garden at Mystic Vale, Victoria, B.C.

  • Meara McIntosh University of Victoria


The sump house at Mystic Vale is a heavily eroded site that straddles a mature forest on one side with heavily used walking path on the other. The area is part of the University of Victoria’s campus, but the sump-house belongs to the municipality of Oak Bay, B.C. It is a large cement structure with some planters on a veranda at the top, a middle section with a large circular green space, and a lower section that extends into Hobbs Creek. The banks and the grounds, including the riparian area of Hobbs Creek, are heavily compacted. Pedestrian and dog traffic has made it an inhospitable environment for fragile plant species which have left an open niche for invasive species. Sections of the area are thick with Himalayan Blackberry. This project builds on previous restoration and attempts to enhance native plants and pollinators in the semi-urban setting.

       Restoration activities include: building a phenologically timed garden to support plant pollinators; soil conditioning including vermicomposting and utilization of bokashi fermentation methods; and construction of a fence to redirect foot traffic and installation of niche habitat for bees, birds, butterflies and bats. Native species plantings grew to unexpected proportions. Pollinator surveys need to be conducted in subsequent years to determine how utilizing native species impacted pollinator populations and a watering system needs to be installed to help support the plants through the summer drought.

Technical Papers