Monday, January 25, 2010

planning for biodiversity: mixed native hedgerow

The native hedgerow provides structurally diverse habitats that include a mix of vegetation types varying in height and form. This variation in structure provides different types of critical habitats for a variety of native wildlife species. Ecological benefits include natural fertilization of native and domestic plant material, natural pest control, provision of food, shelter and important travel corridors for native species.

planted hundreds of years ago
this native hedgerow winds its way through the English country side.

Set in an urban context, I have been asked to solve a boundary issue while providing visitors an educational opportunity to learn more about the potential of our native flora and fauna.

Below are a few species I am using on the project.
All selected plant materials have been chosen for their suitability to the sites soil and climate conditions, while offering foraging potential for both humans and wildlife.

Crataegus sp.
This thorny, vigorous grower will thrive in any soil and situation. The nectar rich May blossoms attracts 150 insect species, including bees and other pollinators, while the fruits provide food in winter for the local bird population.

Corylus sp.
The Hazel responds well to hard pruning and are known for their prolific nut production and architectural branching structure.

Viburnum opulus
The guelder rose is laden with bright red berries in Autumn and the creamy white flowers are a favorite of the hover fly.

Symphoricarpos albus
Snowberry is unlike almost any other plant in the world. The profusion of white winter berries appear to float lightly in the air and illuminate the space in which they inhabit.

Prunus sp.
Like Crataegus sp. it produces plenty of flowers and fruit to support local wildlife while thriving in neglect.

Mahonia sp.
The evergreen foliage will create shelter for local wildlife during the winter months when cover is scarce. The berries can also be harvested and eaten raw or used in preserves.

Rubus spectabilis
fruit + edible young shoots can be used in salads while attracting an abundance of hummingbirds.

native plant references
Native society of British Columbia NPSBC

The Native Plant Study Group (NPSG) is an affiliate chapter of the Native Plant Society of British Columbia


  1. What a beautiful picture of the English countryside! Is that a salmon berry in the last shot? Growing up in Ucluelet, we ate lots of berries...wild huckleberries are my favorite. The first nations kids would tell us what was good to eat.

    An instuctor/architect from school reads your's a small world.