Pollinators and Flowers

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

In North America hummingbirds pollinate, in the southwest bats pollinate,  but most of all, insects pollinate. By far the most popular garden pollinators are hummingbirds and butterflies, but there are many other beautiful (in a less traditional way) pollinators including flies, bees, moths and beetles.

Many pollinators visit flowers for the nectar, such as butterflies, ants and honeybees, however many insects, including bumble bees and lady beetles, visit for the pollen, which they consume. Many plants have evolved different shapes and colors of flowers to attract certain types of pollinators. There’s a great episode about flowering plants in the wonderful David Attenborough show The Private Life of Plants, and you can see a clip of that episode here.

Pollinator Flowers

Hummingbird flowers have evolved into tubular shapes so that the bird, with their long bills, can…

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Native Plants and Balconies

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

Planning a garden on a balcony is often a challenging prospect, but using native plants can both help, and cause further frustration. Balconies are a very different environment from the places native plants usually grow. In addition to the usual challenges of balcony gardens such as using containers, reflected heat and sun exposure, the weather in cities where most balconies are located is also different. The humidity is often lower in the city, precipitation is higher due to a lack of tree canopy and there’s more runoff. Temperatures in the city are also higher due to the urban heat island effect and in addition, the sun often reflects off the buildings and projects more heat onto balconies. Air quality is another factor to consider as well as the wind, which is often a…

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Hedgerows From Romans to Habitat

 

This is a revised and updated post which was originally published on June 2, 2010.

History

Although not as significant in the US as in the UK, hedgerows nonetheless offer a valuable design opportunity for wildlife habitat. In the simplest terms, a hedgerow is a row of wild trees and shrubs, packed closely together. In the UK they have a very long and interesting history, dating back thousands of years. They were a mixed blessing, good for wildlife, but very bad for peasant farmers. Historically, hedgerows were the remnants of woodlands cleared to make way for agricultural fields. With the passing of the Enclosure Acts of the 18th and 19th centuries, hedgerows were created in great numbers throughout much of the UK as a fencing boundary. Prior to this farming was done in open, common fields. The result of the Enclosure Acts was that peasant farmers, or those who failed to prove…

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Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens Roundup

Following are the last four of my posts on the Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens blog.

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A Propagation Primer

Propagation has been on my mind lately. We recently moved into a house with a very bare yard and although I brought all of my plants from our apartment balcony, they hardly make a dent in the yard. I recently visited the local native plant sale and despite spending a hundred dollars, the plants are also not going to make much of an impact. I recently wrote aboutmethods for collecting native plants, which is a great way to acquire hard to find plants, but propagating from your own collection (or friends, family and neighbors) is another easy way to get yourself some more plants.

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5 Wildlife Gardening Resources for the Pacific Northwest

This was originally was published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

Landscaping for Wildlife in the Pacific Northwest

It seems that any time I talk with somebody about landscaping for wildlife or make a book recommendation, this is the first one I mention. There is simply no better book for this region, and in fact this book contains information useful for nearly every region when it comes to wildlife landscaping. There is not a single wasted page in this book and it’s packed full of valuable information including everything from making a pond, choosing the right plants and building bat houses. One aspect of this book which puts it a head above the others is explaining why these design elements are important by explaining plant succession, wildlife populations and structural diversity. It covers…

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Wildlife Habitat Certification

Wildlife habitat certification is offered through many organizations as a way of creating, improving and monitoring wildlife habitats both nationally and regionally. They also come in a variety of settings from backyards to commercial sites to golf courses and entire communities. Some programs offer incentives and assistance while others offer tips and advice and yet others are for science. Although many are focused on birds as the main wildlife species, they all improve habitat for many species.

There are many reasons to certify a habitat, one is simply for recognition of the wildlife habitat. Another reason is to educate neighbors and create awareness of why a yard looks ‘different’ from others in the neighborhood. Certified yards may start conversations about the importance and benefits of wildlife habitat. Certification and signs also encourage others to create wildlife habitat and sets an example….

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