December 7th, 2023

A lath house, made chiefly of laths (slats) spaced to reduce excessive sunlight, is used for growing plants that require some shade. GreenUP's iconic Lath House in Ecology Park has degraded and needs to be replaced. With community support, here's what a rebuilt Ecology Park Lath House would look like, showing the potential for productive garden bed design in 2024 with native gardens and space for people to walk. (Rendering: Hayley Goodchild / GreenUP)

A lath house, made chiefly of laths (slats) spaced to reduce excessive sunlight, is used for growing plants that require some shade. GreenUP’s iconic Lath House in Ecology Park has degraded and needs to be replaced. With community support, here’s what a rebuilt Ecology Park Lath House would look like, showing the potential for productive garden bed design in 2024. (Rendering: Hayley Goodchild / GreenUP)

By: Lili Paradi, Communications Manager, GreenUP

GreenUP seeks to rebuild the iconic Lath House, a cherished shade structure in Ecology Park where we grow native plants. The Little Building Company, based out of Lakefield, is poised to complete the project this winter and GreenUP is delighted at the prospect of seedlings sprouting beneath it come next spring.

A generous donor has gifted $10,000 to GreenUP in support of the project. GreenUP is asking the Peterborough community to consider contributing to the Lath House campaign to collectively match that contribution. A total of $20,000 raised will cover the cost of constructing a new lath house from locally sourced white cedar beams.

Thought to be around two decades old, the existing Lath House in GreenUP’s Ecology Park has degraded over time and now needs to be replaced. A new Lath House will allow GreenUP to return the garden beds it shelters to being productive, and would also provide an additional teaching space for climate education. (Photo: Bruce Head / kawarthaNOW)

Thought to be around two decades old, the existing Lath House in GreenUP’s Ecology Park has degraded over time and now needs to be replaced. A new Lath House will allow GreenUP to return the garden beds it shelters to being productive, and would also provide an additional teaching space for climate education. (Photo: Bruce Head / kawarthaNOW)

Tegan Moss, Executive Director at GreenUP speaks to the importance of rebuilding the Lath House for plant propagation and climate education.

“The first action area outlined in GreenUP’s Strategic Plan is to enhance GreenUP Ecology Park through the development of critical infrastructure,” she states.

“One of the specific goals in this area of work is to increase the sustainability and production capacity of our Native Plant and Tree Nursery. The replacement of the Lath House is an important project that will increase our capacity to raise notable and diverse species and create an additional teaching space.”

A lath house is used for growing plants that require some shade. Shown are laths from the existing Lath House in GreenUP’s Ecology Park, which allow dappled sunlight to reach the plants growing underneath. With a donor already contributing $10,000, GreenUP is seeking $10,000 in community donations to help construct a new lath house from locally sourced white cedar beams. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

A lath house is used for growing plants that require some shade. Shown are laths from the existing Lath House in GreenUP’s Ecology Park, which allow dappled sunlight to reach the plants growing underneath. With a donor already contributing $10,000, GreenUP is seeking $10,000 in community donations to help construct a new lath house from locally sourced white cedar beams. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

A lath house is a nursery building without walls, a specialized garden structure that resembles a combination of a greenhouse and a pergola. It consists of a framework made of wood or metal, with horizontal slats that create a lattice-like roof, allowing dappled sunlight to filter through.

The primary purpose of a lath house is to provide sheltered environment for plants. At GreenUP’s Ecology Park, this new structure will also be an important site for climate action education.

In 2023, over 4,500 visitors enjoyed and explored the five acres of naturalized space within Ecology Park year-round. Additionally, more than 655 children engaged in immersive outdoor educational programs in Ecology Park’s gardens and landscapes.

In 2024 and beyond, the youth participating in programming at Ecology Park will benefit from an additional shade structure where they can learn about the natural world. Topics include but are not limited to pollinator ecology, biological lifecycles and soil sciences.

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) growing under the Lath House in GreenUP’s Ecology Park. This native flower can grow in Ontario, and will be one of the plants propagated by Ecology Park staff in 2024. As a woodland plant, bluebells grow best in partial shade. (Photo by Hayley Goodchild, GreenUP)

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) growing under the Lath House in GreenUP’s Ecology Park. This native flower can grow in Ontario, and will be one of the plants propagated by Ecology Park staff in 2024. As a woodland plant, bluebells grow best in partial shade. (Photo by Hayley Goodchild, GreenUP)

The community of people who visit Ecology Park for workshops, recreation, and nature appreciation will also be welcomed to the new Lath House to learn about plant propagation, the importance of native plants and trees, and how to care for shade loving native species.

In addition to being a site for educational programming, Ecology Park houses a Native Plant and Tree Nursery. As a trusted source for locally grown, ecologically friendly plant stock, the nursery sold 248 trees and over 4,869 wildflowers, grasses, ferns, and shrubs in 2023. With a non-profit status, all proceeds from Ecology Park support our efforts to provide inspiring environmental programming.

Located beside the outdoor education shelter in GreenUP’s Ecology Park, the existing Lath House has degraded and needs to be replaced. A donor has gifted $10,000 to GreenUP in support of the project, and GreenUP is seeking a matching amount in community donations. Lakefield-based The Little Building Company is poised to complete a rebuild over the winter. (Photo: Bruce Head / kawarthaNOW)

Located beside the outdoor education shelter in GreenUP’s Ecology Park, the existing Lath House has degraded and needs to be replaced. A donor has gifted $10,000 to GreenUP in support of the project, and GreenUP is seeking a matching amount in community donations. Lakefield-based The Little Building Company is poised to complete a rebuild over the winter. (Photo: Bruce Head / kawarthaNOW)

Hayley Goodchild, the new Plant Propagation Program Coordinator at Ecology Park, is excited to begin propagating rare native plants from both seed and cuttings in the new Lath House.

“The Lath House is an important part of GreenUP’s plan to propagate more native plants for sale at Ecology Park. Right now, the lath house garden boasts dozens of shade-adapted native plant species, such as Virginia Bluebells, Bloodroot, and White Baneberry,” Goodchild says.

“By rebuilding the Lath House, we can ensure these and other plants will provide a reliable source of seed and cuttings for nursery production for many years to come. We also look forward to having campers and visitors tour the updated Lath House gardens, and try their hand at propagating plants or saving seed!”

The existing Lath House at Ecology Park is in serious disrepair and can no longer be used to grow native plants that require partial shade. A new lath house will increase GreenUP’s capacity to raise native plants and will also create an additional teaching space for climate education. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

The existing Lath House at Ecology Park is in serious disrepair and can no longer be used to grow native plants that require partial shade. A new lath house will increase GreenUP’s capacity to raise native plants and will also create an additional teaching space for climate education. (Photo: Lili Paradi / GreenUP)

Replacing the Lath House in Ecology Park will have positive benefits to biodiversity in our region and support local climate adaptation. Peterborough’s ecozone is changing and the demand for resilient, native species is growing among gardeners and organizations across the region.

By growing native plants and producing seed under the new Lath House, GreenUP will increase access to regionally sourced plants that are likely to thrive in our area’s unique climate. Everyone at Ecology Park looks forward to welcoming visitors to learn about the cultivation of native plants and trees as we enjoy the dappled shade provided by this structure.

Your tax-deductible donation will support GreenUP create a greener and more sustainable future for Peterborough & the Kawarthas. To donate and learn more, visit https://www.greenup.on.ca/donate-now/