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Gardening for wildlife - help!

David R. Hershey dh321 at PGSTUMAIL.PG.CC.MD.US
Mon Sep 9 22:37:50 EST 1996

One of the first questions to consider is the type of courses that may be
using the campus plant collection, such as basic biology/botany or
horticulture courses. Many campus collections are planted with a
tree/shrub identification course in mind. For example, the Penn State
campus has many types of viburnum that are seldom seen in most landscapes.
The standard college text is Manual of Woody Landscape Plants by Michael
Dirr (Stipes Publishing, Champaign, IL). It is filled with useful
information. Trees for American Gardens, and Shrubs and Vines for American
Gardens, by Donald Wyman are two other standard references. Both are
published by MacMillan. Wyman's books have all kinds of useful plant lists.

Another major consideration is the cold hardiness zone. Most of WI is
Arnold Arboretum zone 4. Any plant with a hardiness zone rating of greater
than 4 would not be hardy. Magnolia x soulangeana is hardy to zone 4 but
quite often its flowers are damaged or wiped out by late spring frosts,
even in zone 7. Star magnolia (Magnolia stellata) is less widely used and
might be a better choice for that reason only. It also has better leaves,
fall color, more attractive branching pattern, better cold hardiness, etc. 

An important consideration is seasonal interest. Some plants, like 
Magnolia x soulangeana are valued only for their flowers. Others, like
flowering dogwood, have attractive flowers, colorful fruits, good fall
color, and attractive winter branching pattern.

In addition to trees and shrubs, it would be worthwhile to consider spring
bulbs, herbaceous perennials, and vines. Butterfly gardens have become
fashionable, and there are several books that give lists of plants for
such gardens. Sometimes a campus is planted to feature numerous species
from a particular tree genus, such as oak, maple, or pine. The types of
trees in the surrounding community can suggest plants to avoid if you want
to increase diversity, or plants to use if you want to blend in. 

David R. Hershey
Snail mail: 6700 Belcrest Road #112, Hyattsville, MD 20782-1340

Adjunct Professor, Biology/Horticulture Department
Prince George's Community College, Largo, MD 20772-2199

Email: dh321 at pgstumail.pg.cc.md.us

On 8 Sep 1996, JennPeck wrote:

> My school will be embarking on a major landscaping project soon and I
> would like to use this opportunity to add plants of educational as well as
> natural value.  I would like to hear your stories of success and link up
> to any handy resources, especially local/native (WI).  
> Thanks!
> JennPeck at aol.com

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