Watch “Green Fire,” Aldo Leopold film trailer here

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John Kohler helps all of us garden. Let’s encourage his free video service!

growingyourgreens |John from http://www.growingyourgreens.com/ shares with you a view of his urban homestead from the roof in Northern California. In this episode, he talks about the uproar in the Urban Homesteading community that has been created by Jules Dervaes. Learn more about the uproar and how we can turn this experience into a positive one. Click and like the facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Take-Ba…
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GreenSpacesTV video: Protecting mature trees during construction

GreenSpacesTV | February 01, 2011 |  Unless there is some incentive to not do damage, contractors/developers/builders have a tendency to just run their massive machines everywhere and damage plant life in the area. In fact, the normal way of doing things seems to be to bulldoze everything and start with a blank slate and plant dinky little trees that take 20 years to actually benefit the area with size and shade.

In this Built Green Certified Community in West Seattle preservation of old trees is REQUIRED. During phase on construction supposedly the protective fences had price tags hanging from them in the $100,000 range for each tree. If a builder damaged the tree or it died then they would have to pay that amount in restitution and penalty.

Preservation of large trees should be arranged in any new development – it adds a lot of aesthetic appeal and actually improves home values.

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Building Inside Nature's Envelope: How New Construction and Land Preservation Can Work Together

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Manzanita species, native only to San Francisco area — from feared extinction to treasured revival

KQEDondemand | January 19, 2011 | With their reddish bark and bell-shaped flowers, manzanitas are California’s iconic plants, adapted to the state’s many ecosystems. One of the two manzanitas that grew exclusively in San Francisco’s foggy climate, the Franciscana, was thought to have gone extinct in the wild until it was rediscovered in 2009. QUEST explores how the San Francisco Botanical Garden is toiling to give one of the city’s rarest native plants a second chance.
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The psychology of gardeners and environmentalists studied

Happy ecologists

American Society for Horticulture Science January 15, 2011, press release:

Taiwanese researchers Hui-Mei Chen, Hung-Ming Tu, and Chaang-Iuan Ho published a study in HortScience that explored an array of attitudes toward horticultural activities. The results showed that people engage in gardening and related activities for both psychological and environmental reasons.

The researchers used qualitative and quantitative methods to explore participants’ attitudes toward horticultural activities. In the first study, seven themes and several subthemes of attitudes were induced from open-ended interviews with participants. Based on interview results, a questionnaire was designed and a quantitative survey was conducted to identify the dimensions of attitudes toward horticultural activities. The researchers extracted five critical “dimensions of attitudes” toward horticultural activities: increasing positive mood, improving the environment, leisure belief, improving social relationships, and an attitude the researchers label “escaping.” Respondents rated the dimension of “increasing positive mood” highest, indicating an emphasis on psychological benefits such as feeling glad, pleased, optimistic, relaxed, tranquil, and comfortable as the essence of their attitudes toward horticultural activities. The researchers also found that that engaging in horticultural activities can provide people opportunities to forget worries, transfer attention, or experience another way of life, or “escape.” That the respondents rated the dimension of escaping so high emphasizes the importance of the restorative benefits of contact with nature, observed the scientists.

Participants also rated “improving the environment” as a critical dimension of their attitudes toward horticultural activities. This is a notable change from the well-known Leisure Attitude Scale (LAS), a 1982 model widely used by researchers in the leisure field; the LAS does not include “improving the environment.”

“To further promote horticultural activity as a form of leisure, it is crucial to first ascertain participants’ attitudes about it. Our research shows that horticultural activities are beneficial not only for individuals, but also for the environment,” the researchers wrote.

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Horticulture science recognizes five outstanding plant species for green roofs

Green roof module planted with blue grama grass in the first season of the trials. Photo by Jennifer Bousselot.

American Society for Horticulture Science January 16, 2011, press release:

Used throughout the world to lessen the environmental impact of urbanization, green roofs can offer a wide range of ecological and aesthetic benefits. A new study from researchers at Colorado State University’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture published in HortScience evaluated six plant species to determine the plants’ ability to thrive on extensive green roofs in Colorado. Five plants that survived the two-year experiment are recommended for use in semiarid regions.

Extensive green roofs are characterized by shallow-depth (typically less than 15 than centimeters deep) growing media. Previous research on species that can survive and thrive on extensive green roofs has shown that succulents outperform most non-succulents. Jennifer Bousselot, who led the Colorado study, noted that other green roof studies conducted elsewhere in the United States evaluated nonsucculents that were “typically native to areas with high annual precipitation and relatively deep soil profiles.” The CSU researchers postulated that plants native to the Rocky Mountain region, especially those that inhabit areas with shallow, rocky, well-drained soils, may be better suited for use in extensive green roof systems. According to Bousselot, until this study extensive green roofs have not been scientifically evaluated in the high-elevation, semiarid climate of Colorado.

Though visual assessment and visual ratings have traditionally been used for measuring plant success on green roofs, these methods are usually subjective and not quantitative. To obtain more accurate data, the Colorado State University scientists compared digital image analysis data (DIA)—a process that incorporates periodic photographing of plants and digital analysis of the images—with manually collected converted two-dimensional data (C2D). The team determined that DIA and C2D are both useful for quantifying plant cover. “The DIA analysis appears to be a reliable substitution for the less accurate C2D method. Additionally, DIA can be used to estimate biomass accumulation, specifically for groundcover species.”

The researchers examined plant area covered for six species. Plant cover increased for all six during the 2008 growing season, but one species, Kannah Creek Buckwheat, experienced low winter survival and was removed from the study in 2009. Of the remaining five species evaluated, blue grama and hardy ice plant outperformed small-leaf pussytoes, brittle pricklypear, and spearleaf stonecrop. Bousselot noted that because five species survived over the two years of this study, these species should be considered for use on extensive green roofs in semiarid regions.

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The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortScience electronic journal web site: http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/45/8/1288

Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education, and application. More information at ashs.org

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Community program builds gardens in low-income homeowners’ yards

NeEddra | January 18, 2011 | Check out this brand new video of a free garden installation for a low-income family in east Oakland, California. This video was made to commemorate the Innovation in Philanthropy Award Planting Justice recently received.
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