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Place, Purpose, Plants: Urban Gardening with Native Plants

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Since 1981, I've gardened in New York City. I've included plants native to eastern North America in in each garden since.

In 2005, we bought a home in the central Brooklyn neighborhood of Flatbush. By gardening with native plants, I've transformed a barren urban yard into lush gardens and wildlife habitat.

These slides accompanied my talk about these experiences at the Long Island Botanical Society on May 12, 2015.

Published in: Environment
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Place, Purpose, Plants: Urban Gardening with Native Plants

  1. 1. Place, Purpose, Plants: Urban Gardening with Native Plants Chris Kreussling (Flatbush Gardener) Long Island Botanical Society 2015-05-12
  2. 2. Place Where I garden
  3. 3. Long Island Bennington, J Bret, 2003. New observations on the glacial geomorphology of Long Island from a digital elevation model (DEM). Long Island Geologists Conference, Stony Brook, New York, April 2003. HHm: Harbor Hill Moraine My Garden op: Glacial Outwash Plain Rm: Ronkonkoma Moraine Rpm: Roanoke Point Moraine
  4. 4. Central Brooklyn My Garden Greenwood Cemetery Grand Army Plaza Prospect Park Prospect Lake Prospect Expressway Gowanus Canal B/Q Subway Line HHm op op
  5. 5. Flatbush: Etymology, Land Use History  Anglicization of old Dutch:  “vlachtebos” (vlacke bos, vladbos, flakkebos)  “wooded plain” (“flat woods”)  “Settled” in early 1600s  One of five townships consolidated into the City of Brooklyn (Kings County) in 1890s.  Primarily used for agriculture: woodland -> pasture, meadow  Railways provided access from “the city” (Brooklyn) through “the country” (Flatbush) to beach resorts, e.g.: Coney Island  1870s: Prospect Park  1880s: Brooklyn Bridge  Excursion railways converted to commuter lines  Last farms converted to residential in 1890s, early 1900s: pasture/meadow -> savannah
  6. 6. From Space My Garden Greenwood Cemetery Prospect Park
  7. 7. From the Air Prospect Park My Garden
  8. 8. Ground Truth
  9. 9. Purpose Why I garden, and why I garden with native plants
  10. 10. Why I Garden  Beauty:  More than pretty flowers!  Study:  Learn the flora, practice my id skills  Experiment with garden uses of native plants  Practice observation, learn plant-insect associations, garden ecology  Education:  Demonstration gardens  Garden tours, e.g.: NYC Wildflower Week  Community workshops on botany, weed ID, pollination  Retreat, Balance  Contrast to day job!  Connection to something larger than myself  Genius loci – the spirit of a place
  11. 11. Backyard, April 2005
  12. 12. Backyard, May 2011
  13. 13. Front Yard, April 2005
  14. 14. Front Yard, this morning
  15. 15. Front Yard, July 2014 Urban gardening: •Plus: I don’t have to deal with deer. •Minus: There is the occasional car driving through the front yard.
  16. 16. Plants
  17. 17. Plant List  Species, Family, Nativity, Habitat, Wetland Indicator  Date/Year acquired, Retail & Wholesale source  142 species native to Eastern North America  ~90 species (64%) native to NYC, 7-12% of NYC’s Flora
  18. 18. Some Favorite NYC-natives
  19. 19. Adiantum pedatum, Maidenhair Fern
  20. 20. Aquilegia canadensis, Eastern Red Columbine
  21. 21. Asclepias incarnata, “Swamp” Milkweed
  22. 22. Ilex verticillata, Winterberry
  23. 23. Lonicera sempervirens, Trumpet Honeysuckle
  24. 24. Pycnanthemum muticum, Clustered Mountain-Mint
  25. 25. Plant-Insect Associations Pollinators
  26. 26. Insect Visitors, and Residents  Hymenoptera: 36 species  Bees: 19 species  Wasps: 17 species  Lepidotera: 19 species  Butterflies: 13 species  Moths: 4 species (daytime only)  Skippers: 2 species  Diptera, Flies: 11 species  Coleoptera, Beetles: 7 species  Other insects: 4 species
  27. 27. Pollinators
  28. 28. Pycnanthemum muticum, clustered mountain-mint
  29. 29. Bombus impatiens, Eastern bumblebee, on Monarda fistulosa, beebalm
  30. 30. Vanessa atalanta, Red Admiral, on Viburnum dentatum, Arrowwood
  31. 31. Tiny NOID bee on Zizia aurea, golden alexander
  32. 32. Agapostemon, Jade Bee, on Helianthus
  33. 33. Herbivores
  34. 34. Battus Philenor, Pipevine Swallowtail, on Aristolochia tomentosa
  35. 35. Nesting and Shelter
  36. 36. Leafcutter Bee on Rhododendron viscosum, swamp azalea
  37. 37. Signs of Leafcutter Bees on Wisteria
  38. 38. Colletes thoracicus, cellophane bee
  39. 39. Colletes nest entrances
  40. 40. Closing Remarks
  41. 41. Planting is meditation. Weeding is meditation. Watering is meditation. There is spirit In leaves In insects In soil. Gardening is prayer. - June 24, 1997 waiting for F train to work, ~9:45am
  42. 42. Contact  Blog: Flatbush Gardener http://flatbushgardener.blogspot.com/  Twitter: xrisfg https://twitter.com/xrisfg  Flickr: flatbushgardener https://www.flickr.com/photos/flatbushgardener/  Email: xrisfg@gmail.com

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