For the second year in a row, the Botanical Gardens is home to some helpful barnyard friends. Seven ewes and their lambs can be found grazing near the Leslie Hancock Garden and they’re not just there for family entertainment. The sheep are keeping busy by mowing the lawn.
The Botanical Gardens is partnering with a non-profit organization called
Laboratoire d’agriculture urbaine (AU/LAB) in a project called Biquette à Montréal, which aims to educate the public on the practice of eco-grazing in and around Montreal.
Eco-grazing is a method of maintaining green spaces that is becoming increasingly popular in urban spaces. Animals such as sheep, goats, horses or cows are used to keep grass looking tidy instead of using chemicals or machines that emit noise and pollutants. The sheep will keep the grass short, fertilize the soil, and can even control invasive plant species.
Because of the sheep’s success and popularity last year, they will be around until October 1. At night, the sheep live in a mobile sheepfold in the Botanical Gardens. After their summer in the big city, they will return to their home in the Laurentians for the winter. They belong to Marie-Ève Julien-Denis, a member of AU/LAB and one of the founders and coordinators of Biquette à Montréal.
Visitors will not be able to pet or feed the sheep; however, they are welcome to go see them with the purchase of tickets to the Botanical Gardens. Admission to the gardens is $16 for adults, $8 for children aged 5 to 17, and free for children under four.
For more information, visit espacepourlavie.ca.