Jacqueline Hamilton's picture
Posted by Jacqueline Hamilton /
A small selection of the native species Susana has planted through LEAF over the years
Stepping in to her lovely yard, it’s clear to see that Susana champions a healthy urban forest. She truly leads by example! In a typical GTA neighbourhood surrounded by houses with vast lawns and few native plantings, Susana’s yard looks like a refuge for native wildlife.


On how she became an urban forest champion:

Growing up years ago when Scarborough was still quite rural, Susana remembers being able to dig up small trees from the bush on her family’s rural property to plant in her yard. With a family history of agriculturalists, it’s no wonder that Susana’s inherent attraction to local and native plants eventually led her to LEAF. 

Susana’s husband had quite the green thumb and after he passed away Susana tended to his garden as a way to cherish his memory. Finding the work and the outdoors therapeutic, she has kept with it (and obviously has quite the knack!) 

Hackberry Leaf


On why she got involved with LEAF:

A few years back Susana had to remove a dying ash tree on her property and replace it. With an interest in native plant species that would help support the bees and butterflies that Susana loves to see in her yard, it was a great fit when a City of Toronto employee let her know about LEAF’s planting programs. One hackberry tree and twenty shrubs later, the bees and butterflies are certainly happy in her yard. 


On inspiring others:

Susana inspires and encourages her neighbours to catch her gardening bug by being a present fixture in her front yard working away when her neighbours get home from work. She’s always happy to chat about plants and discuss the many benefits of her native trees and shrubs.

Susana incorporates her respect for the natural world and the urban forest in much of what she does. As a sewing teacher for adults with special needs, she often speaks about the plants in her yard and the importance of the environment.

Susana’s sharing doesn’t stop at just knowledge. She has shared plants with neighbours new to the world of gardening in Ontario and passed along information about LEAF’s planting programs.

A small selection of the native species Susana has planted through LEAF over the years

A small selection of the native species Susana has planted through LEAF over the years. Clockwise from left: black chokeberry, northern wild raisin, St John’s wort, pasture rose, pussy willow


We at LEAF are so grateful for urban forest champions like Susana.  With her help, and that of many other property owners, we’re adding essential wildlife habitat to backyards across the GTA.  

Thanks Susana!  We could not do what we do without you!

Jackie Hamilton is an ISA certified arborist and LEAF’s Residential Planting Program Coordinator.


The Backyard Tree Planting Program is supported by York Region, the City of Markham, the Town of Newmarket, the City of Toronto, Ontario Power Generation, Toronto Hydro, and the Town of Ajax.




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