Book Review:: Real Gardens Grow Natives

We're lucky to live in a region with bountiful books on creating wildlife habitat and Pacific Northwest gardeners now have one more choice to add to their bookshelves. Real Gardens Grow Natives: design, plant & enjoy a healthy northwest garden by Eileen M. Stark is the latest offering on this topic. The book is packed full of useful information and focuses not only on creative a landscape  using native plants for wildlife, but delves deeper into more detailed content such as the soil, propagation and sharing the benefits of native plants. Stark gives a useful overview on ecology and explains some...

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Pollinators and Flowers

This was originally published on Native Plants & Wildlife Gardens. In North America hummingbirds pollinate, in the southwest bats pollinate,  but most of all, insects pollinate. By far the most popular garden pollinators are hummingbirds and butterflies, but there are many other beautiful (in a less traditional way) pollinators including flies, bees, moths and beetles. Many pollinators visit flowers for the nectar, such as butterflies, ants and honeybees, however many insects, including bumble bees and lady beetles, visit for the pollen, which they consume. Many plants have evolved different shapes and colors of flowers to attract certain types of pollinators. There’s...

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Wildlife Plants:: Fireweed

Perhaps it's because the plant has bright, colorful flowers, when en masse, can look like a burning field, or simply because this plant commonly colonized areas which have been recently burned, the aptly named Fireweed is a beautiful plant with benefits for pollinators. Chamerion angustifolium is also known as Rosebay Willowherb and is a perennial growing and spreading from rhizome roots. It's fairly common and blooms during the summer reaching heights of 2-5 feet. It prefers disturbed sites, especially recent burns, as well as meadows and forests. The lance-shaped leaves are up to 8" in length and numerous on their climb...

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The Virtuous Weed:: Self-Heal

The Virtuous Weed is a 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...

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Foragings:: The latest news, resources, designs and more

 News Bees buzzing at city haven:: "A wildflower haven created earlier this year beside one of the city's main roads is proving to be a blooming success for bees." Richard Mabey: in defence of nature writing:: "Not since John Clare lambasted Keats for metropolitan sentimentality has there been such an unwarranted attack on the integrity of nature writers." Urban Habitat Project at the Central Terminal:: “We can take urban spaces, make them beautiful, and at the same time help with stormwater runoff, protect pollinators and other valuable urban wildlife.” New Orleans already taking steps to use rainwater to help residents, the environment and the city, officials...

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Growing Rivers of Flowers in the City

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...

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