Seed libraries are germinating across Simcoe County.
It was Bridget Indelicato who introduced the concept to the Innisfil ideaLAB & Library of a “library” of seeds that residents could “borrow” in the spring, plant, and then “return” in the fall.
The idea landed on fertile ground, back in 2016. Now Innisfil has seed libraries at both the Lakeshore and Cookstown branches of the ideaLAB, and the Innisfil Seed Library has inspired other communities in Simcoe County, even schools, to launch their own.
A seed library has also launched at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library.
Through partnerships with groups like the Innisfil Garden Club, the Seed Library has also hosted workshops and an annual Seedy Saturday at the ideaLAB – a day of speakers, crafts, vendors and seed exchanges.
The third annual Innisfil Seedy Saturday on March 30 was a day geared toward gardeners, as well as anyone interested in growing-your-own, starting a pollinator garden, learning more about butterflies or harvesting wild edibles. Visitors could order rainbarrels for the garden, purchase bird feeders, and talk with master gardeners to get expert advice.
It will be weeks before the ground thaws and the danger of frost is past, but Seedy Saturday offered plenty of ideas for the season ahead.
Innisfil Coun. Donna Orsatti was gathering information for her plan to replace a garden dominated by greenery and hostas with something more enticing for pollinators.
“Now, because we care about the bees, we’re re-introducing flower gardens, to ecologically help nature,” Orsatti said, before donning a bee hat and posing with Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin and fellow Coun. Carolyn Payne in front of a green screen.
Kids could pose for photos in the photobooth, plant "funny face" cups with grass seed that will grow into what looks like green hair, and check out the 3D printer, while their parents were listening to guest speakers that included Kimberly Parry, known as the Butterfly Whisperer.
Parry enthralled her audience with butterfly lore and “powerful mariposa moments” – mariposa being the Spanish word for butterfly.
“Nobody really took the Butterfly Whisperer title seriously,” said Parry, but the idea of butterflies as carriers of spiritual messages is a concept steeped in history.
Once in the corporate world, Parry now specializes in ceremonies and butterfly releases for a range of occasions.
“Do you have a wish, a prayer or a blessing you want to send to the spirit world?” she asked, offering "Monarch messengers” to carry “positive, high-energy messages… bridging worlds, connecting souls, connecting human hearts.”
Parry also provided a glimpse into the world of the Monarch butterfly – its life cycle, migrations, and the flocks of butterflies, numbering in the millions, that overwinter in Mexico.
“A close encounter with a butterfly is a very personal experience,” she said. “It can fill you with wonder. It can fill you with joy. It’s connecting, it’s transformational, and it’s magic!”
Innisfil’s Seedy Saturday was a promise of things to come – the warmer weather ahead, the start of gardening season, enjoyment of the out-of-doors – especially since the weather on the weekend included another taste of winter.
It was also a reminder, as edible wild food expert Karen Stephenson put it, to “work with nature, not against nature. Nature will win!”