Plants vs Unwelcome Guests (and Zombies)

This was originally posted on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens.

If only the plants featured in Plants vs. Zombies acted as they do in the game we’d all be a lot safer. Alas, I was sad to discover this summer when I planted peas that they do not shoot from the plant and knock off zombie heads so much as simply fall off the vine. They do however taste good, so there’s that. Walnuts found in our neighbor’s yard get eagerly demolished by squirrels so I’m not sure they have much hope against zombies as in the game. The carnivorous plants I have been working hard to grow can barely handle a fly so I’m giving up hope they will ever be any use against zombies or other intruders. I’m also disappointed the Marigold didn’t produce actual gold like in the game because I was planning…

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3 Pacific Northwest Plants for Autumn

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

A few months back, the thought of a flush of new green leaves was on my mind and I wrote 3 Pacific Northwest Plants for Winter. Now we’ve come full circle in the seasons and my thoughts turn to those leaves which are now turning such brilliant and spectacular colors. Autumn is by far my favorite time of year and the changing colors of the leaves certainly plays a large part in why this season is the one I look forward to most. I have many memories of visiting the forests in the fall and seeing the most magnificent landscapes.

While I can’t plant a whole forest in my yard, I can include a few plants which provide beautiful color every year. Here are three that will guarantee you some beautiful autumn days.

Vine Maple (Acer circinatum)

This plant…

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Hedgerows From Romans to Habitat


This is a revised and updated post which was originally published on June 2, 2010.


Although not as significant in the US as in the UK, hedgerows nonetheless offer a valuable design opportunity for wildlife habitat. In the simplest terms, a hedgerow is a row of wild trees and shrubs, packed closely together. In the UK they have a very long and interesting history, dating back thousands of years. They were a mixed blessing, good for wildlife, but very bad for peasant farmers. Historically, hedgerows were the remnants of woodlands cleared to make way for agricultural fields. With the passing of the Enclosure Acts of the 18th and 19th centuries, hedgerows were created in great numbers throughout much of the UK as a fencing boundary. Prior to this farming was done in open, common fields. The result of the Enclosure Acts was that peasant farmers, or those who failed to prove…

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History and Habitat at Thomas Wales Park

Located in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood, the Thomas C. Wales park was completed in 2010 and opened to the public in October of that year. The park was dedicated in early 2011 in honor of late Assistant US Attorney and Queen Anne resident Thomas C. Wales who was tragically murdered, a case which still remains unsolved. The park’s previous life as a gravel quarry had altered the landscape, leaving a large hole in the side of the hill in the shape of an amphitheater, where an unintended wetland had formed at the center. It was later used as a materials depot and previous to being turned into a park the site was neglected, the steep slopes overrun by invasive plants.  Surrounding the site are several multi-family buildings.

Artist Adam Kuby and Landscape Architecture firm Site Workshop (collaborated to bring a new…

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On Being Misunderstood:: Dogwood

On Being Misunderstood is a feature at The Metropolitan Field Guide which will look at the variety of flora and fauna we live with which are too commonly misunderstood. From plants to wildlife, many of our daily interactions with these species are often negative or confused. Many of these reactions are based on misinformation. This new feature seeks to combat these misconceptions by bringing in guest writers to explain some of these species to us so we all have a better understanding and to set the record straight. 

If you would like to contribute to this series as a guest writer, contact me and let me know!


Back for another lesson about plant misunderstandings is Georgia Silvera Seamans, author of the very interesting local ecologist blog. Her first ‘On Being Misunderstood’ contribution was about the London Planetree.

When you think of showy flowering trees do you think of the dogwood? Many…

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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.


View the rest of the episode on PBS Video.

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