A Propagation Primer

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

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 about methods 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.

As my thoughts turned to propagation in my yard, I pulled out my old general propagation books and bought a new one and found some good resources online. While many plants are…

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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…

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Friday Film:: Bringing biodiversity back into cities

This video discussion took place at the recent ICLEI Urban Nature Forum in Belo Horizonte, Brazil this month and discusses the value of urban biodiversity and how to bring that diversity back to the cities. It’s presented by the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Oliver Hillel discusses how nature used to be in the cities and how we simply have to stop impeding it and let it back in. However, many of our systems are so changed that they now need to be managed to restore nature by bringing in new infrastructure. He also discusses how cities are laboratories for innovation and the importance of education by bringing nature back into cities so people are aware of biological processes and how dependent we are on them.

From the website::

Cities, ecosytems and biodiversity
Bringing biodiversity back into cities
Keith Tidball in conversation with Oliver…

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Road Ecology and Wildlife Crossings

This is the third and final post in a series looking at wildlife movement, corridors and roads. Read the first post, Ecology Lesson: Population Movements, which was followed by Corridor Ecology and Planning.


Roads crisscross the entire country covering much of the land. Highways take us through states or across the whole country, streets cover cities and dirt roads link rural areas to cities. They traverse over rivers, lakes, mountains, valleys, deserts and forests. Some highways are many lanes wide and some bridges are modern engineering marvels. They bring us commercial goods, foods and fuel across great distances. There are over 4 million miles of roads in the United States alone.

Road Ecology

Road ecology is a field that addresses the relationship between roads, wildlife and the environment. The topic has received a lot of attention over the past 30 years with a lot of focus on roads and wildlife….

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Book Review:: Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard

Discovering Moths: Nighttime Jewels in Your Own Backyard, by John Himmelman, is a truly wonderful book which I really enjoyed reading. It’s full of information about moths, written in a way that educates without feeling like a text book. While the author takes pride in writing in a way that a layperson can understand, that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in detail or scientific terms. By the end of the book I was ready to run out to start finding moths, which was unfortunate since it’s currently the middle of winter. When I was finished I felt I had learned a great deal about an area I didn’t realize I was so ignorant about.

The book begins with a commentary about a typical walk he likes to lead to introduce people to the world of moths….

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Corridor Ecology and Planning

This is the second post in a series looking at wildlife movement, corridors and roads. The full series: Ecology Lesson: Population Movements,  Corridor Ecology and Planning and Road Ecology and Wildlife Crossings.

Wildlife needs to move for many reasons which were discussed in Ecology Lesson: Population Movements. There are many barriers in the urban landscape that prevent or make movement difficult for wildlife. Among the many barriers are roads including small streets to major highways, development such as shopping centers or subdivisions, railroad lines, powerline corridors, canals, dams and non wildlife-friendly landscapes such as agriculture, golf courses or cemeteries.


“Habitat fragmentation is a dynamic process that has three main components: an overall loss of habitat in the landscape, reduction in the size of remaining blocks, and increased isolation by new forms of land use.” – Linkages…

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