Vancouver’s Green Streets

(Photo from Gardens from the Green Streets Program)

The City of Vancouver, in British Columbia, has a successful Green Streets program where residents adopt a corner bulge or traffic circle. The gardener then designs, plants and maintains their adopted garden for as long as they like which can be a single  month or multiple years. I found this to be a fascinating project, particularly after my observations over the summer of the unexpected habitat I found in my own local roundabouts as well as the Pollinator Pathway, another local project I wrote about and recently helped to install several new gardens. I contacted Erin MacDonald, the Green Streets Coordinator, about the program, and she was kind enough to provided a lot of good information. I first asked what inspired this program and here is what she said:

The program began in 1994 as a pilot…

Continue reading →

Pollinator Pathway: bringing pollinators to a Seattle neighborhood

The Pollinator Pathway is planned along a one-mile stretch in Seattle from Seattle University to Nora’s Woods replacing grass strips with pollinator gardens. The brainchild and creation of Sarah Bergmann, the Pollinator Pathway currently consists of two installed gardens with another 16 planned and has 20 total homeowners signed up to participate. I visited one of the gardens where Sarah was kind enough to meet me and tell me all about this fascinating project. The first garden was installed in July of 2008 after much planning and work and has been a great start with a lot learned. The gardens are created for the space between the sidewalk and the street and range in size from 4′ to 12′ wide and for the most part are currently grass.

At one end is Seattle University which has been a supporter of the project, themselves having a number…

Continue reading →

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…

Continue reading →