Bradner Gardens Park

The history of Bradner Gardens Park goes back to 1971 when the 1.6 acre lot was purchased by the City of Seattle along with 19 other lots in the city to be used for parks. For many years however it was leased out, first to the school district and then social services. In 1987 a P-Patch was established for Mien immigrants from Laos and along with a basketball court, left over from the school days, the lot provided a community space for the diverse neighborhood. In the mid-90’s neighbors discovered that the city had plans to sell the lot without ever building a park on it. The community sprung into a fury of action by making calls, talking to the city and the mayor who was on the side of the proposed development. They then held a couple of design charettes with landscape…

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Unexpected Habitat:: Alleys and more Community Gardens

I continue to be  surprised as I walk around the city by the tiniest of patches and pockets of habitat. As I mentioned in the first Unexpected Habitat post, these areas are perhaps not perfect, they’re not all native plants, they don’t offer all of the necessary elements, and yet they are being used by wildlife. Recently I walked through an alley with an unexpected row of plants alongside a building. There was the most minimal space for soil and some harsh afternoon sun, but nonetheless, many plants were growing and the bees were visiting them. Despite being an alley I found it a very nice space. The plants along the brick wall and the interesting architecture of the windows and hobbit-size, wooden door were rather enchanting.

In the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle a new community garden is currently under construction called Seven Hills Park. It consists…

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Unexpected Habitat: roundabouts, vacant lots and community gardens

Once in awhile habitat just happens. It’s not always planned or intended, but there it is. In the city, these habitats can occur just about anywhere, in the tiniest of spaces, often where you least expect them. Sure they’re not a good as a carefully planned landscape with water, shelter and the works and the plants may not be all natives, but nonetheless, there they are providing some habitat element. In Seattle I happened upon a couple examples of these unexpected habitats, the first in the middle of an intersection in a roundabout.

I visited three roundabouts with my camera this week and stayed to watch the variety of bees visiting the many flowers. I don’t know if they were planted by the city or a neighbor, but whoever planted them with flowers certainly has the appreciation of a good number of bees. There were easily half a dozen different…

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Urban Bees

Over at Cities and the Environment, the electronic journal for the Urban Ecology Collaborative, the current issue features urban pollinators, specifically bees. There are some interesting articles ranging from the question of green roofs being valuable habitat for bees to enhancing community gardens with bees.

Can green roofs provide habitat for urban bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae)? (PDF) is an interesting paper that discusses the challenges of increased urbanization and the potential role that green roofs can play in supplementing patches of habitat. In addition to cooling the “heat island”, reducing storm water runoff and improving air quality, it’s been suggested that the roofs of buildings that have replaced habitat such as shopping and industrial complexes could serves as replacement habitat for pollinators. Green roof studies in Europe have found positive evidence that green roofs can…

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