May 092013
 
The Virtuous Weed:: Common Groundsel

The Virtuous Weed is a new feature on The Metropolitan Field Guide inspired by The Weeds in My Street on the Cryptoforestry blog. The definition of weed is a highly complicated and controversial affair as Richard Mabey discusses in his fascinating book, Weeds: In Defense of Nature’s Most Unloved Plants. Are they simply plants in the wrong place or defined as such for another reason; because they’re invasive, or toxic or disturbing agriculture, or because we disapprove of their behavior? Weeds often spark many debates on forums and blogs among various groups. What is behind all of this? I intend to get down to the basics …continue reading

May 062013
 
The Urban Garden of Keith Geller

Standing on the sidewalk, looking up a steep slope towards the home of Landscape Architect Keith Geller, you know you’re about to enter a special landscape. Over the past 30 years, Geller has transformed a bare, grassy slope into an forested urban haven. His yard has been featured in magazines, books and newspapers stories and I was excited when I saw it listed on this years Washington Native Plant Society’s garden tour. It was a cloudy and drizzly day, but despite the weather, or perhaps because of it, this was the perfect example of what a Pacific Northwest garden could …continue reading

May 032013
 
Friday Film:: What Plants Talk About

Today’s Friday Film is ‘What Plants Talk About’, an episode of Nature from PBS. When we think about plants, we don’t often associate a term like “behavior” with them, but experimental plant ecologist JC Cahill wants to change that. The University of Alberta professor maintains that plants do behave and lead anything but solitary and sedentary lives. What Plants Talk About teaches us all that plants are smarter and much more interactive than we thought! For more information about plant senses, read my review of What a Plant Knows on the Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens blog.

Apr 272013
 
Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens Post:: 5 Great Parks - Seattle Edition

This is an excerpt from my latest post at the Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens blog. Click the link below to visit the full post. Every city has parks, however not all parks are created equal. Many are used primarily for recreation, others for dogs, but some are devoted to nature. Seattle is lucky to have a lot of parks, over 400 of them (counting open spaces) and the largest is over 500 acres. Following are five of my favorites to visit for nature. Many Seattlites will very strongly disagree with my list because I’ve left off  the most obvious …continue reading

Apr 232013
 
Urban Species Profile:: River Otter

While many species may come to mind with the term ‘urban wildlife’, otters are not likely among the first to come to mind. Despite this, they can be seen in urban areas. In fact in three of the last cities I’ve called home, I’ve seen River Otters in two of them. River Otters can be found throughout most of North America in fresh and even salt water. While River Otters may be common throughout the region, they are less common in urban areas. When I saw a River Otter in Eugene, Oregon along the Millrace which runs through town, nobody believed me …continue reading