Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Where to see what to plant in a wildlfe habitat garden.

Area nature centers and restoration projects are very good places to go and get a feel for what certain habitat should look like. Not only the plants but the feel of the whole.
Woodland edges, deep woods, meadows ,fens,bogs, prairie remnants, all abound in most states.

Here in Chicago there are many places to go. Recently we took the children for a walk at the Little Red Schoolhouse. It has a pond and woods with marked trails and a Center building where one can arm oneself with ideas of what to look for on your hike.

Little Red Schoolhouse

If you are looking for more open areas like meadows and prairies remnants those can be found as well.
Here in Chicago the Chicago Wilderness group puts out a magazine and have a website to help locate these areas.


Explore More

Current issue

In the shade of several mature trees I like the look of a woodland so nature centers have been helpful in deciding what to plant that would feed the creatures and give that airy cool feeling one gets walking in a woods.

For pictures to get an idea of what I am talking about check out the website for biodiversity on the upper east coast. It shows pictures from a nature center called Cranberry Lake.... in NY state.


Baneberry is a favorite


Christmas ferns

Osmundo fern

mianthemum canadense

Nature Center Website

Cranberry Lake is a 190-acre nature preserve comprised of forest, wetlands, and a 10-acre lake that was carved by glaciers thousands of years ago. There are three miles of trails, including a loop around the lake, and others that traverse the predominantly northern oak-hickory forest. The area is part of the Kensico Reservoir watershed, which provides drinking water for residents of Westchester County and New York City. The name Cranberry Lake is derived from the growth of wild cranberry, which still exist in various parts of the fen.

On a couple of federal websites I found information about the percentages of various ground covers on wooded sites where studies were taking place. This was interesting as deep woods have very different amount of cover than woodland edge. While being exact is not important having an idea to work with helps.

Federal publications

We documented the range of percent cover for dominant ground-cover structural components in burned and unburned habitat (stand ages 7-23 y) occupied by Kirtland?s warblers. The mean percent cover for the dominant ground-cover structural components was

lichen/moss (12.1%),

blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium) (9.5%),

bare ground and litter (5.6%),

sedge/grass (5.2%),

deadwood (4.3%),

sand cherry (Prunus pumila) (3.3%),

sweet fern (Comptonia peregrina)(2.3%)

coarse grass (1.8%)

and bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursai) (1.2%).

Burned sites had significantly more deadwood, sweet fern and lichen/moss cover, while unburned sites had significantly more bare ground and sedge/grass.

Prevalent in the understory were Bebb's willow (Salix bebbiana);

bog birch (Betula pumila) (var.);

red osier dogwood (Comus stolonifera);

and speckled alder (Alnus rugosa).

The other three intensively studied nests were in the fir- spruce-pine habitat.

Ground cover included

blueberry (Vaccinium an- gustifolium);

sourtop blueberry (V. myrtilloides);

arrowwood (Viburnum rafinesquianum);

serviceberry (Amelanchier humilus);

spreading dog bane (Apocynum androseamifolium);

and the common bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum var. latiusculum).

Dominant shrubs were honeysuckle (Lonicera canadensis),

and wild sasparilla (Aralia nudicaulis).

Black spruce (Picea mariana) were dominant in the bog study areas and ranged from 17- 20 m in height.

Tamaracks were primarily around the edges of the bog.

There are other ways to go about finding out what to plant and you may have a more traditional garden in mind but nature centers are still a good place to start...


Blogger I said...

Thanks so much for leaving your comment on my blog :) I love your pictures -esp this one of the old tree.

I think that we can marry the natural and the traditional cultivated garden as you are doing. As caretakers of our gardens we are making choices that impact far more than we realize and I think sometimes it is a matter of gently introducing different aspects and viewpoints to each other that makes the most progress in nurturing the environment.

I appreciate what you are doing here on your blog- it is a different kind of gardening than I do, but we have lapovers in interest and we all gain by taking our stewardship of the earth. seriously.

9/8/07 11:40 AM  
Blogger Gloria said...

i, did you take a look at the Lurie pictures?

While New Wave or New American style are different from my own garden habitat, it is a movement toward gardening that takes nature into account, working with rather than trying for total domination.
As people see the beauty in a broader plant palette home gardens reflect this change. Not for everyone for sure, but enough to keep local weed patrols at bay.

I love old interesting trees even those downed and decaying. If my property were big enough I would allow many downed limbs and trunks to remain to become part of the habitat. As it is,large sections are used to place bird baths and planters, to line paths and beds,or to just sit and look cool as they age.
Thanks for checking out Pollinators-Welcome.

10/8/07 1:19 PM  

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