The Berry Prairie Blog

Native Biodiversity in a Rooftop Landscape


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Aug 4, 2011, 6:37 PM
This morning Dorothy and I planted the Penstemon glaber v. alpina (Smooth Penstemon) that Dorothy had started from seed from Pumpkin Vine Pass (catch up on Operation: Globemallow-Penstemon Switch here). Filling in some of the gaps left when we removed the sneaky Sphaeralcea munroana, we planted 20 patches of penstemon - a total of 67 plants. When they bloom, they'll have sky-blue flowers.
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Aug 1, 2011, 7:41 PM
This past Friday, a group of children from Children's Discovery Center - a day care in Cheyenne, visited the Berry Center to learn about plants and pollinators. As you can imagine, we were tickled at the idea of having a bunch of elementary kids interested in learning how the two topics are closely connected, so Dorothy put together a fantastic workshop for them!
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Jul 29, 2011, 8:04 PM
Chicago's City Hall is one of the United States' best known green roofs. Installed in in 2001, this green roof is actually quite similar to the Berry Prairie in concept: it was installed as an experiment, an education and outreach tool and to create a diverse mini-ecosystem. They have over 100 species on that roof!
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Jul 28, 2011, 8:11 PM
It could be argued that asters are the most successful plants in the world. The family named for them, the Asteraceae, is the largest plant family (with nearly 23,000 species!), and contains many familiar wildflowers. Also called the Sunflower Family, the Compositae, or composites, the members of the family are united in having “flowers” that are really inflorescences composed of many small flowers.
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Jul 26, 2011, 8:28 PM
Some of you may know Dorothy, the Berry Center's associate director. She's a native plant guru - slash non-native plant bouncer - who broke the undercover identity of the Sphaeralcea munroana, the horticultural variety of Sphaeralcea coccinea. As you may have read earlier, Sphaeralcea coccinea is our lovely native plant called Cowboy's Delight or Scarlet Globemallow. Dorothy noted there were two species that were both labeled Sphaeralcea coccinea, but they had obvious visual differences.
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Jul 22, 2011, 8:50 PM
Not a prairie plant guru? No problem! Now on the Berry Prairie are plant identification tags so you can stroll through and know what you're looking at. There are nearly 60 species of grasses, forbs (wildflowers) and shrubs on the Berry Center's green roof, so the name tags will help you recognize a number of the plants that grow in the Laramie basin.
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Jul 20, 2011, 9:50 PM
Green roofs are not a new concept. Centuries ago, Norwegians began using turf roofs to insulate their houses through the long winters, home owners and builders in Iceland and Germany have been improving the green roof technology over the past 250 years, and if you really want to stretch it back, the floating gardens of Babylon were maybe the first uses of green roofs. Heck, even Frodo Baggins and Laura Ingalls Wilder had one… supposedly.
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Jul 15, 2011, 10:08 PM
The Berry Prairie includes four of the 11 species of Penstemon that are native to the Laramie Basin. Also known as beardtongues, many penstemons are adored by gardeners for their form and their vivid colors, which range from white through pink, red, purple and blue.
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Jul 13, 2011, 2:44 PM
It’s a good sign that plants are taking hold if they begin to flower! So for your viewing and phenological pleasure, below is a gallery of what’s in bloom. Stop by to see them for yourselves (there are brochures at the gate to help you identify some of the plants you'll find).
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Jul 7, 2011, 2:55 PM
The Berry Prairie, and likewise the native prairie, is dominated by grasses. In fact, there are nine species of grasses on the roof, and they account for ¾ (3,500 individuals) of the plants! On the opposite end of the spectrum, cacti are the least represented category of Wyoming vegetation; 15 cacti individuals of two species were planted. The prickly pear cacti are in bloom right now - come check it out!

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