Tag Archives: Rosetta McClain Gardens

Rosetta McClain Gardens 2019

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Rosetta McClain Gardens sits atop the Scarborough Bluffs and although it was once a private garden it is now open to the public for everyone to enjoy.  We have previously visited the gardens but having seen the pictures of hummingbirds on the Friends of Rosetta McClain Gardens Facebook page it seemed like a good idea to stop by again.  Our earlier visit contains more details about the history of the property and so it will be linked at the end of this post rather than repeating all of that here.

Monarch butterfly caterpillars go through five distinct stages of growth, molting after each one.  Each stage is known as an instar and the first stage is translucent.  By the third stage it grows longer tentacles and has the familiar yellow, white and black banding.  This caterpillar below is a third stage instar and in the next two stages it will have white patches on the legs.  The fifth instar will be 2000 times the weight of the first one.  The caterpillar then molts into a chrysalis from which the butterfly will emerge in 8-15 days.  Caterpillars that are seen in late August are the generation that will fly south for the winter.

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Hummingbirds are the smallest family of birds with the bee hummingbird weighing just 2 grams.  They get their name from the noise their wings make during flight while they beat between 12 and 80 times per second.  Due to their high metabolism they consume energy at a substantial rate.  To preserve body mass, every night they enter a state of torpor that is similar to hibernation.  Even in their state of torpor they lose up to 10% of their body mass every night.

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The gardens feature several of the ten species of coneflowers.  The coneflower is formally known as echinacea and has long been used for its immunological effects.  There are studies which show that it can be effective in treating and preventing respiratory infections related to the common cold.  The cone flower is being pollinated by a black swallowtail butterfly.

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Dryad’s Saddle is a large polypore that can grow as large as 12 inches across.  These young ones are just getting started.  They are edible but can be very tough so people will eat the small ones or cut off the outer edges of the cap on larger ones.  This mushroom is also known as Pheasant’s Back.

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The underside of butterfly wings often displays a much different pattern than the top side of the wing.  The Painted Lady below tends to be found in areas where there are thistles as the larvae feed on thistles and burdocks.

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The remains of the McClain house add an interesting atmosphere to the gardens.  Most of the roof is gone as are parts of the walls but what is left makes for some unusual photographs.

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The view from the top of the Scarborough Bluffs out across Lake Ontario often reveals pleasure boats near shore and the smaller shadows on the horizon of the larger ships.

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Rosetta McClain Gardens is one of the best places in the city to photograph birds, flowers and butterflies.  The story of the gardens can be found in our earlier post which is available at this link.

Google Maps Link: Rosetta McClain Gardens

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Rosetta McClain Gardens

Monday, July 3, 2017

Rosetta McClain Gardens is a jewel along the Scarborough Bluffs.  The gardens have been transformed into a place for all to enjoy, especially the handicapped.  Close to the parking lot is a sign showing the layout of the park.  The sign has Braille on it and is laid out in relief so that everyone can find their way around with ease.  The walkways and paths have been created out of different types of material so that the handicapped can find their way around more easily.  Cobblestone, bricks and interlocking stones each create a path that feels and sounds different to aid the visually impaired.

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In 1904 Thomas McDonald West bought 40 acres of land over looking the Scarborough Bluffs.  When he passed away he divided it among his four children with each one getting about 10 acres.  His daughter, Rosetta, and her husband Robert Watson McClain made many improvements to their property in the form of gardens and walkways.

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When Rosetta died in 1940 her husband wanted to find a way to commemorate her and in 1959 he offered the city the land for a park to be named after her.  In 1977 the land was conveyed to the care and control of Toronto Region Conservation Authority.  They’ve added parcels of land three times, incorporating other parts of the original homestead) to bring the total to 22 acres.  To add to the enjoyment of the visually impaired the gardens have been laid out as scent gardens.  There are extensive rose gardens which were, unfortunately, a little past their prime.

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The old McClain house still stands, although in ruins, on the property.  Efforts have been made to preserve the remnants by adding concrete along the top edge of some of the crumbling walls.

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Rosetta McClain Gardens have a good view of Lake Ontario from the top of the Scarborough Bluffs but there is no access to the lake.  A fence keeps people from getting too close to an earlier fence which is no longer moored to the eroding sand.  The concrete pole anchor has been left hanging high above the lake while it waits to eventually fall. Access to the lake and the view of the Scarborough Bluffs can be found just east of Rosetta McClain Gardens at the foot of Brimley Road in Bluffer’s Park.

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The extensive gardens and a wide variety of trees make it an excellent place for birdwatchers to observe their feathered friends.

Google Maps Link: Rosetta McClain Gardens

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