Species Guide – What’s on site?

Black Locust (Robinia Pseudoacacia)

The black locust trees also known as robinia pseudoacacia border the property and guide you down the beach path. The black locust is a medium sized hardwood deciduous tree, unique, as it belongs to the legume of the family Fabaceae. You may recognise the word legume as it means vegetable in French but legume is also a classification of plant. Some vegetables eaten by many belonging to this family are peas and beans. The amazing thing about legumes is they have nitrogen fixing bacteria within their roots, which allows the trees to absorb Nitrogen to then convert, cleaning our atmosphere. The black locust was one of the first North American trees to be introduced into Europe at the beginning of the 17th century, as they are native to the Eastern United States. The native range of the tree isn’t known as they’ve been cultivated and are now found in all lower 48 states, Eastern Canada, and British Columbia and have thus, landed on Sorrento Retreat and Conference Centres beautiful property. Hopefully, we will see them around here for many more years as they can live for up to 80 to 90 years. We are so grateful to have trees like these here, as they help prevent soil erosion and are also great for pollinators such as bees.

Peach-leaved Bellflower (Campanula Persicifolia)

On your way to the Casita apartments you may see some peach-leaved bellflowers, scattered about. Bellflowers also known as campanula derives from the Latin word ‘Campanula’ which means ‘bell’, which accurately describes the flower due to the bell shaped head. Bellflowers are widely considered an English cottage garden classic. They are native to northern and alpine regions of Europe, known to survive high altitudes and droughts; they are a very hearty plant. Due to their high adaptability the amount of sun they need to survive depends on what climate they live in. They bloom from June until September, outlasting many of the other flowers. These flowers attract various pollinators, such as bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, which sustain biodiversity. Bellflowers are mentioned in many folklore, fairy tales, greek mythology.

Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio rutulus)

Whilst walking around the centre you may spot some Eastern tiger swallowtail butterflies, they’re hard to miss. Their wingspan is between 3-6 inches, with a brown, yellow, blue, black, and white exoskeleton. This image shows a female swallowtail. We can identify this by the blue dusting at the bottom of her hingwings, the males would be all black. 25% of swallowtail species are mimics including the Eastern tiger swallowtail, through natural selection they have adapted to look like toxic butterflies (to predators) giving them a longer lifespan of up to 7 weeks. The most amazing thing about tiger swallowtails is they can fly at a speed of 30 miles per hour.


In our memorial garden we have a white peony plant, the central petals are a pink colour. They are absolutely beautiful. There are 33 known peony species. Peonies derive from Asia, Europe, and Northwest America. Peonies plants have been around since 1400 BC, they have been flowering for over 4000 years. The plants themselves have an incredibly long lifespan, living up to 100 years! The Tang Dynasty of China began breeding peonies in the imperial courts in the 7th century BCE. Their popularity spread to Japan in the early 11th century and to France and England in the 18th century. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, they began gaining popularity in the U.S.

Black Capped Chickadee (Poecile Atricapillus)

When walking around the farm or down to the lake through the woodlands you may hear some black-capped chickadees perched. One of the most widespread year-round birds in Canada, these birds travel together in small flocks, using distinct calls for communication. Signalling potential food resources, “all clear” messages, and predatorial danger. Their call is in their name sounding like chickadee-dee-dee-dee-dee the more dees heard the higher the threat level, they will freeze and won’t resume action until they hear the all clear call. They’re great to have around the farm as they act as pest control, 90% of their diet in the summer is insects. Most adult black-capped chickadees do not migrate as they can withstand a harsh winter, so you will be able to spot them on site all year round.

Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius)

Surrounding the memorial garden there is a sweet mock orange bush and a mock orange bush, two variants of the same family that look almost identical and can only be differentiated by the leaves, closeness of the flowers, and size of the shrub . Unlike the name the flower is not orange they are white with a yellow centre. The flower is named orange because it smells like citrus plants such as oranges and lemons, and they look like the blossoms produced by orange trees. The derivative of the word mock means to deceive. Its origins are obscure but it is believed to be native to Northern Italy, Austria, and Central Romania. But somehow they landed in the garden and were happier for them as they smell absolutely delicious.

Mock orange

Sweet Mock Orange