Plants: The energy converters for the terrestrial, solar powered ecosystem.
Photosynthesis forms the basis of the food chain, converting solar energy into the energy that, stored as carbohydrates, feeds all of the other layers of the ecosystem. From hosting nitrogen fixing bacteria all the way up the food chain to carnivores, plants provide the carbohydrates that power the system. Plants manufacture soils, modify climates, store water and nutrients, cultivate and modify soil biology and form complex, interdependent relationships with fungi, bacteria, pollinators, grazers and a range of seed dispersers including insects and birds.
When we work with plants, the species we choose, where we source them, what we plant them with and how we care for them will affect the local and regional and global environment.
They are also beautiful, useful and fascinating to humans and incorporating them into our urban spaces helps to make happier, calmer and healthier and frames our experience of being outdoors.
Regenerative Planting Practices:
Degenerative Planting Practices:
Livelihoods in working with plants:
Information and online resources
Plants and People
Healing nature and ourselves through gratitude and action. A lovely article by Robin Wall Kimmerer
Why 'plant blindness' matters - and what you can do about it
Weeding, writing and arithmetic… why green fingers are good for our children Guardian article on the importance of getting children back in to the garden.
Green therapy: how gardening is helping to fight depression
NY Times article on Seed ownership
Breeding the heirloom plants of tomorrow
Research has found that organically grown apples have more diverse surface biology and and measurable difference in flavour from apples grown using conventional pesticide and fertilizer regimes.
Replacing chemical pest control with strips of wildflowers
A free discussion guide from the creators of 'Seed, the Untold Story'
A video of a highly productive suburban yard
All the things a tree does in urban landscapes: (Video)
Indigenous forest management increases, rather than decreases, ecosystem productivityA soil calculator and native tree species guide developed to help improve tree planting success in Ontario and Alberta
A video on relieving deep soil compaction prior to tree planting (this was identified as the most significant factor in success or failure of tree planting along highways)
Diverse forests store twice as much carbon as monocultures
There is a Forgotten Solution to Climate Change That We Must Invest In – Nature
Lawns / Replacing Lawns
To Nurture Nature, Neglect Your Lawn: Why poison the earth when you can have wildflowers at your feet and songbirds in your trees without even trying?
Why Lawns are not Sustainable in Ecosystem Gardening
Planting a Wildflower Meadow? Site Preparation Comes First!
Plants, insects and other life
Supporting the non bee pollinators on our landscapes
A design guide for street side pollinator gardens (Google drive document)
Video on importance of native plants to insects
What All the Affection for Monarch Butterflies Misses A thoughtful article about over simplifying our efforts to protect and preserve 'nature'
Bringing Nature Home - Regional native plant lists
Why Canada's urban spaces are critical for endangered species
Do nativars (cultivated selections of native plants) support native leaf eaters?
Pollinator Garden Plants and Practices - article on the intricate relationship between native plants and insects
Saving pollinators also saves money and reduces fossil fuel consumption
A look at the intricate relationship between plants and pollinators
Plants Can Hear Animals Using Their Flowers, And they react to the buzzing of pollinators by sweetening their nectar
Urban nature: What kinds of plants and wildlife flourish in cities?
Specialist Bees Need Special Plants
Ecozones and Regions of Canada interactive map
Ontario's Ecozones and regions
An interesting visualization of the similarity and differences in plant species between regions
Tracking Phenological change as climate changes
An extensive, searchable photo library of plants native to the north east forest
Reintroducing native plants to abandoned urban lots
Amazing diversity in limited spaces
A nursery guide to propagating native plants (ebook sold through kobo)
Wikipedia list of invasive species in North America
Ontario's invasive species act
How a popular landscape plant became an aggressive invasive species
Groups and Organizations
North American Native Plant Society, committed to preserving native plant habitat in wild areas and restoring indigenous flora to developed areas.
Seeds of Diversity seed savers from coast to coast who protect Canada's seed biodiversity by growing it ourselves and sharing it with others.
The Native Plant Study Group (NPSG) is dedicated to learning about BC native plants as wild populations and in garden settings, and supporting the conservation and their habitats.
The Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC) is a non-profit organization founded in April 2007 by a group of individuals and organizational representatives who saw the need for a coordinated provincial response to the growing threat of invasive plants.
Gaia College offers online and classroom education on organic land care and related skills.
Sustainable Landscaping Initiative Vancouver is a non-profit organization created by landscapers, which strives to improve industry sustainability.
Ecological Landscape Alliance "Advocating for responsible stewardship of land and natural resources in landscaping and horticultural practices." Based in the north eastern United States but with an extensive catalog of articles and online and recorded seminars available to members.
I Naturalist Connect with Nature Explore and share your observations from the natural world.