NeuroXXceptional team of gardeners

NeuroXXceptional team of students create a pollinator garden at The Neuro

NeuroXXceptional gardeners in The Neuro's new pollinator garden

There is a beautiful new pollinator garden outside The Neuro thanks to a NeuroXXceptional team of green-thumbed undergraduate students who want to create a shared community experience. Read about neuroscience student Emily Olafson’s inspiration behind the garden project.

What was your motivation for the project?

I originally reached out to McGill’s Office of Sustainability to organize a garden that would connect students on campus during the summer. Many out-of-province students spend their summers working on campus - The Neuro included - but living away from home can sometimes be an isolating experience. I was interested in starting a small garden where students could form a community and share in the joy of being outdoors and engaging with nature. I was put into contact with John McCall at The Neuro and he gave us the opportunity to install a garden in the Brain Tumour Research Centre courtyard as our summer project.

What was your inspiration behind the design and the plants that were chosen? 

We wanted to create a perennial pollinator garden that would provide a continuous succession of flowers throughout the entire season. This way, there will be a steady stream of pollen and nectar flow for the pollinators from spring to early fall and there will always be something interesting to look at on a lunch break. Plants in this garden like the Veronica ‘Royal Candles’ with flowers that bloom from early summer to September and the ground-level Geranium ‘Rozanne’ offer a long season of pollen and striking blooms. Other pollinator-friendly plants that we included were Daylily, Bellflower, Astilbe, and Foxglove. In terms of design, I wanted to draw people’s attention by using symmetry, mirroring plants by height and colour (like the Foxglove and Veronicas) and alternating even- and odd- sequences of plants at different distances from the garden’s edge.

West bed of the pollinator garden outside The Neuro's BTRC

The students involved in the garden project are: Emily Olafson, Shelly Yin, Armaan Fallahi, Hannie Gans, Mahdi Sabour, Emma Thompson

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The Neuro is a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering the highest quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.