Gardening Guide: Hamilton Edition

Spring is officially here and that means a lot of us will have gardens on our minds. Here’s a quick guide to gardening and gardens in Hamilton, whether you’re a pro or just getting started.


Find Your Zone

Hardiness zones are a North American system that divides geographical regions by an average minimum temperature and helps guide gardeners on what plants are able to thrive in each climate. Hamilton falls within Zone 6B, as per Agriculture Canada. Most plants you find at local garden centers will grow here, but if you’re shopping online for seeds, ensure your plants are suited to our climate.


Create a Pollinator’s Paradise

Hamilton is an area of great biodiversity and you can help support our pollinator’s by planting native trees, shrubs, and flowers in your garden. Hamilton Pollinator’s Paradise Project is run by Environment Hamilton and the Hamilton Naturalist’s Club. Check out their toolkit for everything you need to get your pollinator garden started. Looking to buy native plants? Most local greenhouses will carry popular perennials like coneflowers and black eyed susans, but Ontario Native Plants has an incredible selection of native flora. While they are based in Hamilton, they don’t have a physical location open to the public, so you can get them delivered directly to your home. 


Get Started From Seed

If you’re feeling super ambitious, you might consider starting your garden from seed. Sure, most grocery stores and garden centres carry seeds but it’s worth checking out William Dam in Dundas for a mind-blowing array of organic and heirloom varieties. They do trial plots of all of the varieties for sale and have notes on flavour, harvest, heat tolerance, and more. 


Where to Buy Plants

Skip the big boxes and support your local garden centers. Check out Wear’s in the east end (PSA: they have goats), Satellite up on the mountain, Harper’s in Ancaster and Terra in Waterdown. For species native to Hamilton, as mentioned above, shop online at Ontario Native Plants


Community Gardens & Greening

Don’t have space to garden? You can find (or start) community gardens across the city. Neighbour 2 Neighbour runs a community garden program, you can find all the details and a garden map here. McQueston or Victory gardens, both aimed at reducing food insecurity in the community, have volunteer opportunities available. You can also check out Green Venture, who run a gardening club, urban forest project, educational programs, and are responsible for some of the beautification you see at places like the Barton library. 


For the Non-Green Thumbs

Serial plant killer? It happens to the best of us. If admiring is more your thing, check out the Gage Park Tropical Greenhouse (free!) and Royal Botanical Gardens all year round. In the warmer months, Gage Park and Sam Lawrence Park have beautifully landscaped gardens you can enjoy at no cost. 


Happy gardening!