The Berry Prairie Blog

Native Biodiversity in a Rooftop Landscape


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Jul 8, 2013, 4:36 PM
About a month ago I planted 29 Castilleja seedlings, 19 of which are Castilleja sessiliflora and 10 are Castilleja integra. Each Paintbrush was paired with one of three different host plants: Fringed sage (Artemisia frigida), Firecracker Penstemon (Penstemon eatonii), and Rocky Mountain Penstemon (P. strictus).
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Jul 2, 2013, 4:47 PM
As you may know, a number of the plants on the Berry Prairie were grown from seed, specifically for use on the green roof. Starting wildflowers from seed can be as easy as throwing them on the soil. More often, however, it takes careful and strategic processes that range from refrigeration to scratching to freezing to burning. The post below gives an overview of the many ways we germinate seeds, including as it relates to Jenna's Indian Paintbrush project.
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Jun 28, 2013, 4:58 PM
We have spent a lot of time boasting about the native plants on our green roof, and how they're naturally drought-, wind-, and sun-tolerant, so are ideal for this rooftop setting. I've also mentioned a few times that Laramie is quite arid – we typically receive around 11 inches of precipitation (including water weight in snow!) per year – only 1 inch more than what classifies a place as a desert.
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Jun 25, 2013, 5:11 PM
Stonecrop sedum (Sedum lanceolatum) is a drought-tolerant, sun-tolerant, wind-tolerant, abuse-tolerant plant that is common found on green roofs for those reasons. In addition to is toughness, it also has beautiful flowers, shown below.
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Jun 18, 2013, 5:26 PM
Wyoming residents tend to have a misconstrued conception of sagebrush: “The brown-green stuff that grows everywhere.” Many ranchers would like to reduce its abundance because it is poor livestock food; it competes with preferred grasses for water and nutrients. However, wildlife biologists recognize sagebrush as feed for deer, elk, and pronghorn antelope during the winter. Some view sagebrush as barren land, while others appreciate its unique aroma especially after a summer rain.
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Jun 12, 2013, 5:35 PM
Penstemon virens is in bloom! It’s a lovely purple gem on the Berry Prairie, but it blooms even better on the rocks of our patio. These rocks—and those all across campus—were collected in the hills to the east of Laramie, and came with their own rock gardens!
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Jun 10, 2013, 8:07 PM
The green roof is hoppin'. With so much going on lately, this post might come across a bit scattered. Apologies for the linear-minded out there! It's been warm here (it's currently 86.3 degrees), it's field season, and coincidentally we finished a signage project.
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Jun 6, 2013, 8:22 PM
Today is survey day. Kyle Bolenbaugh, the Master's student in Botany studying survivability of the plants on the green roof, is determining which plants survived the winter (and the hectic summer before it).
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Jun 4, 2013, 8:29 PM
This post is a result of a Laramie citizen, Lindsey, sending in her question about how pollinators deal with wind. And to address her question is Scott Schell, University of Wyoming Assistant Extension Entomologist. Scott is a terrific entomologist who helps us a lot with pollinator-related topics, even though his research expertise is grasshoppers. Thanks Scott!
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May 31, 2013, 8:38 PM
The Berry Biodiversity Conservation Center, home to the green roof and the penstemon showcase garden, will be host to another botanical experiment this summer - relating to Indian Paintbrush cultivation!

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