Millennium Project ofThe Dutton/Dunwich Horticultural Society
In the early spring of 1999, D.D.H.S. was approached by our Municipal Council and asked if we would like to develop Buttermilk Bog which is ¾ of an acre in the area at the northeast end off Strathcona Lane, and also 1 ¼ acres of land abutting this which had ben deeded over to the Municipality by West Elgin Mutual. Of course, the Horticultural Society was very honoured by this request. After many discussions and meetings with “people in the know”, we decided to create a wonderful park for all to enjoy by adding a Savannah Prairie and Carolinian Forest to the Bog area.
With the guidance of Wm. Preiksaitis of Rodney and Eunice McKishnie of West Lorne, we began our project. The area was mowed, thanks to Stan Champ, and we marked the placement of our trees, pathways and Savannah Prairie. We also left an area of approximately 40’ by 50’ for a future butterfly garden. Wm. Preiksaitis is the expert on Carolinian Trees. These are our native trees such as Black Gum, Dogwoods, Kentucky Coffee, Tulip, Cucumber and the list goes on and on. Eunice McKishnie is the local expert on the Savannah Prairie Plants. This list is also huge and contains Liatrus, Swamp Mallow, Compass, and Gray Headed Cone Flower. One point of interest —Dutton contains the last remaining “Garden of the Compass Plant” in all of Canada. Naturalists and Environmentalists come from across Canada to view this species along the railroad tracks. We should be very proud and definitely guard this from destructive forces.
In our first year we noticed flowers such as Trilliums, Jack-in-the-Pulpits, etc. were not growing in the Bog. Something was wrong! A professional soil tester was engaged and there is an excess of salt in the land. This is probably due to the “whey” being dumped there over the years. (Read about this in the “History of Buttermilk Bog”) An ongoing project will be to find salt-tolerant native plants to rejuvenate the vegetation in the Bog.
This is a huge, but exciting undertaking. We are very pleased to be given the honour to develop this Park. Strathcona residents have been most helpful and encouraging. Special thanks to Mr. Terry Heeney for allowing us to use portions from his book, West Elgin Mutual for making it possible to have something special for our village and the Council of our Municipality for offering us this wonderful opportunity.
Directors of the Dutton/Dunwich Horticultural Society