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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A Tale of Two Courtyards

These two courtyards are in my neighborhood in Seattle and present dramatically different landscapes. One is in the center of a U-shaped, tall building and faces north while the other is a short building with an L-shaped courtyard and opens NW. The first one has minimal trees, only small ones in the courtyard and entrance while the second has large trees that cast heavy shadows over much of the courtyard. The first is full of flowers, some native plants and some minimal structural plants of hedge-type plantings. It’s a really lovely space that most people may miss because it’s elevated from the street level. The second courtyard is also elevated, with a locked gate, but it’s not at all lovely. It seems very barren, with only a few varieties of plants, nothing of color and most the plants are heavily trimmed.

From a design perspective there’s no competition, the first…

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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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