Growing Rivers of Flowers in the City

Whittington Park Meadow (River of Flowers North London) Photo Credit: River of Flowers

If you visit London, you may just notice trails of flowers winding through the city humming with pollinators. River of Flowers is the brainchild of Kathryn Lwin and while started in London, it now winds through much of the U.K. and is currently expanding into Europe and North America. The idea is simple and starts with the desire to create a connecting pathway of flowering plants for pollinators. Then you find and map three wild spaces in the area and finally partner with the local community to plant the areas in between with flowering plants.

In more detail however, they provide a number of guidelines on their websites which address the pollinators needs more than simply providing flowers. Among those are using “native, wild plants of known origin”, being pesticide…

Continue reading →

Interview with Julie Feinstein

Cover copyJulie Feinstein is a Collection Manager at the American Museum of Natural History. She lives in New York City and writes about urban wildlife on her blog, Urban Wildlife Guide. She has recently published a fantastic book (which I’ll be reviewing soon) titled Field Guide to Urban Wildlife. You may remember her from her guest post about House Centipedes in the ‘On Being Misunderstood’ feature. She was good enough to answer some questions about her inspiration, experience and knowledge about urban wildlife.

What does a collections manager at a natural history museum do?

In addition to exhibits and educational displays, natural history museums maintain collections of specimens like meteors, pinned insects, animal skeletons, archeological artifacts, and more, behind the scenes. Scientists visit to study the collections, or request loans from them for study. Collection managers curate specimens…

Continue reading →

Travis Beck Interview

Travis Beck is author the newly published Principles of Ecological Landscape Design, which I recently reviewed. He kindly agreed to an interview so I could ask him some questions about his book, what inspired him and his views on the current state of Landscape Architecture.

What inspired you to write this book?

For a long time I asked myself, “What would a designed landscape that was truly based on ecological principles look like?” I kept looking for a book that would answer that question. Eventually I set out to write it myself.

What ‘natural’ landscapes inspire you most?

Right now I am fascinated by the dunes along the Atlantic coast. I love their spare beauty and the tough plants that inhabit them—beach grass, seaside goldenrod, beach heather. Plus, in the wake of Superstorm Sandy we’ve seen how well…

Continue reading →

Vancouver’s Green Streets

(Photo from Gardens from the Green Streets Program)

The City of Vancouver, in British Columbia, has a successful Green Streets program where residents adopt a corner bulge or traffic circle. The gardener then designs, plants and maintains their adopted garden for as long as they like which can be a single  month or multiple years. I found this to be a fascinating project, particularly after my observations over the summer of the unexpected habitat I found in my own local roundabouts as well as the Pollinator Pathway, another local project I wrote about and recently helped to install several new gardens. I contacted Erin MacDonald, the Green Streets Coordinator, about the program, and she was kind enough to provided a lot of good information. I first asked what inspired this program and here is what she said:

The program began in 1994 as a pilot…

Continue reading →

Round Lake Area Public Library Wildlife Habitat


In the northeast corner of Illinois you can find the city of Round Lake and the Round Lake Area Public Library. The courtyard at the library has been landscaped and is a certified wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. I recently contacted the library to find out more about their habitat and Debbie Allen, the Head of Youth Services was kind enough to respond. She helps take care of the courtyard and was responsible for getting it certified. At the end of the interview enjoy a slideshow of images of the courtyard through the seasons, kindly provided by Debbie Allen. I hope more libraries follow this example. What an excellent opportunity for nature education!

How was it decided to create wildlife habitat in your courtyard and to get it certified?

I have a background in Earth Science and Conservation and do nature programs at the library so the…

Continue reading →

Pollinator Pathway: bringing pollinators to a Seattle neighborhood

The Pollinator Pathway is planned along a one-mile stretch in Seattle from Seattle University to Nora’s Woods replacing grass strips with pollinator gardens. The brainchild and creation of Sarah Bergmann, the Pollinator Pathway currently consists of two installed gardens with another 16 planned and has 20 total homeowners signed up to participate. I visited one of the gardens where Sarah was kind enough to meet me and tell me all about this fascinating project. The first garden was installed in July of 2008 after much planning and work and has been a great start with a lot learned. The gardens are created for the space between the sidewalk and the street and range in size from 4′ to 12′ wide and for the most part are currently grass.

At one end is Seattle University which has been a supporter of the project, themselves having a number…

Continue reading →