Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens Roundup

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


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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Design for Moths

Moth species outnumber butterflies in North America 14-1 and they have so many species that in the animal world, only beetles have more. There are over 142,000 species world-wide, more than ten-thousand in North America and in the Pacific Northwest there are as many as ten times as many moth species as butterfly species. They have more varied patterns and like butterflies, act as important pollinators. Their caterpillars also provide important food for songbirds, particularly breeding birds and young as well as bats and even spiders.

So why are there countless resources for designing butterfly habitat, but only a handful for moths? Unfortunately, moths get a bad rap as a pest and they’re more likely to be found in the pest section of extension service’s websites while butterflies are on the attracting wildlife sections. The truth is that less than one-tenth of one percent of moth species are the type…

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Stone Walls for Wildlife

Retaining walls are a fact of life for many landscapes, even those with only a slight slope. The majority of walls however, are constructed as a flat surface, stones bound together with mortar which don’t serve any benefit to wildlife. Stone walls however, can be quite beneficial for wildlife if designed and constructed correctly. Even if a retaining wall isn’t needed, rock shelters could be constructed in a similar manner. A rock wall, with crevices between the rocks add additional places for plants to grow and places for a variety of wildlife to take refuge in from the weather, predators, and further provide somewhere to raise young. Ground nesting bees could find space between the rocks to build their nests, cavities can be planned inside for mammals to hide or even hibernate, and small crevices can be an ideal shelter for reptiles and on lower, damper levels, amphibians. Other wildlife…

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Beyond the Hive Results

Via Animal Architecture blog, the result of the Beyond the Hive Competition (that was featured here last month) was announced this week and the winner was the Beevarian Antsel and Gretel Chalet. There are images of all of the constructed designs along with images of the structures with their designers at the British Land website. Here are images of the designs and the final constructed projects via the British Land website.

Further Reading::

Beyond the Hive Competition:: British Land

Beyond the Hive Competition:: The Metropolitan Field Guide

Animal Architecture

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Beyond the Hive Competition

The UK really does have some excellent wildlife habitat design competitions. One of the most recent is called Beyond the Hive where designers created luxury hotels for the insects of London. The competition is a joint effort between British Land and The City of London Corporation “to celebrate 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity.” There are five finalists and they will actually be building their designs for public viewing and voting. The designs are aimed at attracting a range of insects including beetles, bees, butterflies, spiders and a variety of others. The designs are very creative and have some entertaining names as well. This is really the kind of design that is so exciting because it’s a step to bridge the gap between ecology, habitat and aesthetics. Good design can be functional and artistic.

Here are a couple of the entries from the competition.

The Bumblebee City Nesters


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Design for Butterflies Resources

Butterflies are a very popular species for gardeners and there are many resources on the subject. One of the best books on the subject is called Butterfly Gardening: Creating Summer Magic in Your Garden and it’s published by The Xerces Society and The Smithsonian Institution with an introduction by E. O. Wilson.

Many books about wildlife gardening are very limited on information and they’re usually written from a specific region and therefor don’t give consideration to other regions when it comes to their plant listings or what wildlife species they talk about.

Butterfly Gardening: Creating Summer Magic in Your Garden is a very thorough book and covers a great many topics, all written by different authors, specialists in their fields. Among the highlights are a chapter on butterfly vision detailing the range of color they…

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