Monday, April 13, 2009

The Coming-Out of the Home Bug Gardener

This is the inaugural posting for the Home Bug Gardener. The theme of this blog will be how a small plot of urban land can be changed from a sterile and mindless conformity to an oasis of biological diversity. Well, perhaps not everyone’s cup of biological diversity, but the essence of biodiversity: lots of species living together.

This project started about 6 years ago in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Edmonton is an urban island of relative warmth (Zone 3b in a good winter – i.e. rarely going below -40C/F) in what used to be Zone 3a Aspen Parkland, a transition zone between the prairie and the boreal forest. The area in which we live used to be a slough (i.e. a wetland, not quite a lake and not quite a marsh), but it was filled in after World War II and covered with black clay and small houses for returning soldiers (our house was built in 1951). Eventually, the streets were planted with boulevard trees, primarily green ash and American elm. Weeping birch and other drought-intolerant Betula were soon adopted as specimen trees. Apple-crabs, crabapples, and a variety of mountain ash (rowan) also made their appearance. In the early 1960’s, the Girl Scouts arrived with a variety of conifers (white spruce, Colorado blue spruce, and a few black spruce) to celebrate Arbor Day. As a result, even with a southern exposure, sunlight can be limited.

That is the background. Time, energy, and enthusiasm permitting, the story will follow.

Suggested Reading:

Owen, Jennifer. 1991/2005. The Ecology of a Garden: The First Fifteen Years
Cambridge University Press
ISBN-10: 0521018412
ISBN-13: 978-0521018418

Tallamy, Douglas W. 2008/2009. Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, Updated and Expanded
Timber Press
ISBN-10: 0881929921
ISBN-13: 978-0881929928

Relevant web visits:

Biodiversity in Urban Gardens in Sheffield

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