Native garden design for the Monteverde Biological Station


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Native garden design for the Monteverde Biological Station

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Title:
Native garden design for the Monteverde Biological Station
Translated Title:
Diseño de jardines nativos para la Estación Biológica de Monteverde
Creator:
Korus, Katie
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Language:
Text in English

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Subjects / Keywords:
Native plant gardening ( lcsh )
Cultivo de un jardín de plantas nativas ( lcsh )
Monteverde Biological Station (Costa Rica)
Estación Biológica de Monteverde (Costa Rica)
Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone--Cerro Plano
Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Zona de Monteverde--Cerro Plano
CIEE Fall 2006
CIEE Otoño 2006
Genre:
Reports

Notes

Abstract:
This is a plan for a native garden at the Monteverde Biological Station designed in November of 2006. The garden has been designed to be used as a learning tool for the students at the Station and once developed will be aesthetically pleasing and attract native pollinators. The design includes sections of (1) light gap specialist plants (2) epiphyte families (3) plants that are examples of evolutionary mimicry to attract pollinators (4) common butterfly or hummingbird pollinated plants and (5) common understory plants. Plants for the garden were obtained from the Bajo de Tigre native plant nursery in Monteverde. Thus far, the mimicry section has been planted and the epiphyte section has been cleared and prepared, and native families missing from the section were introduced. Included here are (1) a blueprint for the continued planting of the garden and (2) color plates with pictures and botanical information about the plants to be incorporated in the garden. ( ,, )
Abstract:
Esto es un plan para un jardín nativo en la Estación Biológica de Monteverde diseñado en noviembre del 2006. El jardín ha sido diseñado para ser utilizado como una herramienta de aprendizaje para los estudiantes en la estación y una vez desarrollado estará complaciendo estéticamente y atrae polinizadores nativos.
Biographical:
Student affiliation: Department of Environmental Studies University of Oregon
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Born Digital

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Monteverde Institute
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Monteverde Institute
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This item is licensed with the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivative License. This license allows others to download this work and share them with others as long as they mention the author and link back to the author, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
Resource Identifier:
M39-00182 ( USFLDC DOI )
m39.182 ( USFLDC Handle )

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PAGE 1

1 Native Garden Design for the Monteverde Biological Station Katie Korus Department of Environmental Studies University of Oregon ABSTRACT This is a plan for a native garden at the Monteverde Biological Station designed in November of 2006. The garden has been designed to be used as a learning tool for the students at the Station and once developed will be aesthetically pleasing and attract native pollinators. The design includes sections of 1 light gap specialist plants 2 epiphyte families 3 pla nts that are examples of evolutionary mimicry to attract pollinators 4 common butterfly or hummingbird pollinated plants and 5 common understory plants. Plants for the garden were obtained from the Bajo de Tigre native plant nursery in Monteverde. Th us far, the mimicry section has been planted and the epiphyte section has been cleared and prepared, and native families missing from the section were introduced. Included here are 1 a blueprint for the continued planting of the garden and 2 color pla tes with pictures and botanical information about the plants to be incorporated in the garden . RESUMEN Esto es un plan para un jardín nativo en el Monteverde la Estación Biológica diseñó en noviembre de 2006. El jardín ha sido diseñado para ser utilizad o como un instrumento que aprende para los estudiantes en la estación y una vez desarrollado estará complaciendo estéticamente y atrae nativo polinizadora. El diseño incluye las secciones de 1 plantas ligeras de especialista de espacio 2 las familias d e epi fitas 3 plantas que son los ejemplos de la mímica evolutiva atraer polinizadora 4 mariposa o colibrí comunes plantas polinizadas y 5 plantas comunes de understory. Las plantas para el jardín fueron obtenidas del Bajo de Tigre la guardería infant il nativa de planta en Monteverde. Así distante, la sección de la mímica ha sido p lantada y la sección de epi fitas ha sido vaciada y ha sido preparada, y las familias nativas que pierden de la sección fueron introducidas. Incluido aquí están 1 un cianoti po para el siguió plantando del jardín y 2 platos de color con retratos e información botánica acerca de las plantas para ser incorporados en el jardín. INTRODUCTION The Monteverde Biological Station is situated in the premontane wet zone of Costa Rica at an elevation of 1545 meters. The Monteverde reserve complex encompasses more than 60,000 acres of protected and relatively undisturbed forest. This habitat shelters many threatened and endangered species both broadly distributed across Costa Rica and endemic to the Monteverde area Nadkarni and Wheelwright 2000. The Station is used solely by biology students as a headquarters for classes, research, fieldwork, and independent studies. Students come from the United States to study one of the most bio diverse ecosystems in the world. Although the Station is located directly below primary and secondary forest and the Station grounds contain many native and non native species of plants, there is a lack of effective teaching tools through natural example s within close proximity of the Station classrooms. For example, although the forest surrounding the Station contains many

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2 species of native plants, they may not be clearly visible from the trails. Many epiphytes that are currently studied have fallen fr om their canopy substrate or are growing on fallen logs. It is hard to find many species in their natural setting at eye level for identification and study. In addition, many species which commonly colonize recent openings in the forest due to tree falls are not found growing in close proximity to each other. These tree falls are cleared during routine trail maintenance making the dynamic of this forest process and the species it generates hard to find and study with a large number of students. Furtherm ore, students at the Station learn about plant mimicry to attract pollinators during their biology program, yet these plants do not all grow next to each other on the station property. For these reasons my project was to design a garden for the Biological Station, comprised of native plants, providing an educational setting for the students, and including sections for discussions about epiphytes, tree fall gaps, and plant mimicry. Native plants, having evolved in this environment, are ideally suited to th rive in their region of origin. These plants also do the best job of providing food for native wild animals California Native Plant Society 2003. Additional environmental reasons for gardening with native plants include increased biodiversity on the St ation grounds, provision of habitat for native animals, providing a home for native plants that are becoming increasingly rare in the wild, conservation of water, and eliminating the need for chemical inputs Go for Green.com. Non native species threaten the local environment because they often have no natural predators and become invasive, crowding out natural competitors. My objective for the native garden at the Biological Station is to provide an aesthetically pleasing and instructionally useful space that will draw natural pollinators and dispersers. It will display native organisms as well as provide information about native pollinators. METHODS Willow Zuchowski was an integral resource for my project because she has extensive botanical knowledge o f the plants of Monteverde. Additionally, she has established three native plant nurseries in the Monteverde area. They are located at the Monteverde Conservation League, the Cloud Forest School, and the Monteverde Institute. There are six native gardens in the Monteverde area the locations of the existing gardens are: Monteverde Centro S.A., Monteverde Institute, Agroecoto urism Santamaria, Ca ñ itas, Pension Santa Elena, Bajo del Tigre, and the Cloud Forest School. I visited each of the existing gardens t o assess a spatial template for the arrangement of existing native gardens in the area. I documented the plants found in each of the gardens noting their growth form, height and width. I also took pictures at each of the gardens, which I later employed as aids for the garden being designed at the Station. In addition, Willow provided me a list of current native species planted in the gardens as well as species available for transplant at the greenhouses. This list was utilized as a basis for establishing my own plant list for the Station. Using Willow s book A Guide to Tropical Plants of Costa Rica as a resource, I gathered further information for each species on family name, botanical name, common name, number of plants available at the nursery, plant he ight, flower color, growth form, flowering time, and pollinator. To create the design for the garden I began with assessing the educational needs. Alan and Karen Masters, the professors at the Biological Station, wanted to be able to give lectures

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3 about t ree fall gaps, epiphytes, and plant mimicry at the Station. Taking this into consideration, I planned three separate areas of the garden including plants that can be used for these purposes. Assessment of the existing vegetation, spatial layout, and cont ours of the space was used as a preliminary to design. This was done as a replication of a site analysis guide from a school garden design class at the University of Oregon. In addition, I consulted Mollison 1988 for design ideas. To determine a suita ble place for the garden to be located, I worked with Willow, Marvin Hidalgo Station Manager, and Karen Masters to choose a site.. The pasture to the south of the Station along the path to the lower lab was selected. Karen Masters aided me with epiphyt ic plant identifications at the garden site. She also contributed her insights and preferences for the design layout. I then composed a list of the plants suitable to use in the garden. I started to make sketches of what the garden would look like and w hich plants it would contain based on this list. Included were a section for a light gap lecture, an introduction to epiphytic plants, and an introduction to plant mimicry. The sections of the garden were staked and roped off and the dimensions taken The design was then drawn to scale. . With this layout it became easier to determine which plants should go where, according to the space available and their own growth, width, and height. RESULTS In total, this garden will house 35 families and 52 species , which are listed in Table 1. These species will be displayed in five main areas, which are presented in Figure 1. The total area of the garden is approximately 400 square meters. A blueprint for the garden design has been drawn Figure 1 with a corres ponding species list Table 1. The plants in the garden capable of exemplifying learning activities have been grouped together and listed. Color identification plates for each of the species have also been made, to assist in the continued planting of the garden, as well as for student use. Additionally, the epiphyte and mimicry sections of the garden have been prepared and planted. Blueprint of Garden Design The attached blueprint for the garden Figure 1 lists borders, dimensions, and species locatio ns. The garden extends along the edge of the Hibiscus bush along the Station drive to the ridge above the Teaching Assistant cabin. The eastern boundary is the path that leads to the lower lab and TA cabin. A ridge that drops off to a future gazebo as proposed by the Station manager, Marvin Hidalgo defines the western edge. The garden entrances are located at the path to the lower lab of the Station, near the teachers assistant cabin entrance, and across the road from the main entrance to the building . The latter entrance will be the main entrance and will be marked by a bamboo frame covered with Passiflora vines. Upon entering the garden to the west side there will be a number of plants that are hummingbird pollinated. The final plan for the garden includes five main sections for educational purposes. To the east of the main garden entrance is a large circular section divided by a five pointed star. This section will include plants that are tree fall gap specialists. This area was designed in a wh eel form so that plants could grow on the spokes and students could stand in the wedges between these plants to be able to receive lectures about gap

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4 dynamics. The center of the wheel will contain three Cecropia trees as a centerpiece. The eastern point of the star will contain a large fallen log to create the ambiance of a true tree fall gap and the western most point will be marked by large intertwined branches, creating a similar effect. An existing tree on the plot that contains many families of epi phytes highlights the epiphyte section. A path surrounding the epiphyte tree will make it visible from every angle. There will be a large, open section in front of the tree to be used as standing room for lectures. The space can accommodate thirty peopl e or more, the average class size of students staying at the Biological Station. On the eastern side of the epiphyte tree there will be a large fallen log that will act as a substrate for epiphytes which can be removed and passed around to the students al lowing them to examine epiphytes more closely. Two frames, each three meters long, will flank the circular space for lectures. These frames will house smaller epiphytes. Students hiking in the nearby forest who find fallen epiphytes that would not survi ve if left on the ground and trampled or washed away can fill these frames. The path behind the tree will also be bordered by two adjacent, three meter long frames, which will serve similar purposes. These epiphyte frames will provide an opportunity for the students to closely observe epiphytes from the surrounding forest, some of which are not visible from the forest floor, without having to leave the vicinity of the Station. In addition, there is a section along the path to the lower lab and teaching a ssistant cabin which contains several individuals of Asclepias curassavica, Epidendrum radicans, and Lantana camara that have evolved similar floral characteristics allowing them to attract their butterfly pollinators. To the north of the mimicry section is an area that is shaded by Psidium guajaba and Myrcine coriacea . These trees provide adequate shade for species that cannot tolerate full sun for growth. Examples of such species are those in the families Costaceae, Piperaceae, and Zingiberaceae. The rest of the garden will be filled by native species which attract hummingbirds and butterflies as pollinators. Each of these sections provide adequate examples of major plant families in the Monteverde area to be identified and studied by the students. Co lor Plates of Native Species The color plates included Appendix 1 are for the purpose of providing visual identification and natural history of the species in the garden. Each plate contains the family, scientific name, common names, growth form/heig ht, flower color and time of year, and pollinator. The information was taken from Zuchowski 2005 and Nadkarni and Wheelwright 2000. This addition of plates should be used as supplementary help for the eventual planters of the garden and can be made i nto laminates for student use. List of Learning Activities Gap plants lecture. This section is intended for an introduction to tree fall gap specialist plants commonly found in the Monteverde area. This section includes: Cecropia sp., Heliconia tortuo sa,

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5 Justicia oertstedii, Phytolacca vivenoides, Solanum sp., Witheringia sp., Psychotria uliginosa, Hamelia patens, Piper sp., and Calathea crotalifera . Another tree fall gap specialist Bocconia sp. already exists on the property. Introduction to epiphy te families. In this section, students can be introduced to these readily available and visible specimen while learning the major families of epiphytes in the Monteverde area and their unique characteristics. This section includes plants from the follo wing families: Araceae, Araliaceae, Asteraceae, Bromeliaceae, Cactaceae, Clusiaceae, Cyclanthaceae, Ericaceae, Gesneriaceae, Moraceae, Orchidaceae, Piperaceae, Rubiaceae, and two species of ferns in the families Aspleniaceae and Lomariopsidaceae. More spec ies will be added to this section in the future on the log next to the epiphyte host tree and the frames surrounding it. Introduction to plant mimicry. This site exemplifies plant mimicry to attract pollinators and can be included in the discussion abou t forms of mimicry. This section includes Asclepias curassavica, Epidendrum radicans, and Lantana camara . Introduction to common understory plants. Common plants found in the Monteverde understory are located in this plot. Included in this area are Pip er sp., Costus sp., Renealmia cernua, Columnea sp., Anthurium sp., and Philodendron sp. Common hummingbird and butterfly pollinated plants. These plants attract native pollinators. The following plants and their pollinators will be available for identif ication and study by the students: Ageratum sp., Fleischmannnia pycnocephala, Senecio, Lobelia laxiflora, Ipomoea nil, Kohleria spicata, Salvia sp., Malvaviscus sp., Hamelia patens, Rondeletia amonea, Lantana camara, and Stachytarpheta frantzii. Trigona b ees as pollinators. The southern side of the epiphyte tree contains a Trigona bee nest. This nest should be examined and presented in the lecture regarding the importance and abundance of Trigona bees as pollinators. Progress to Date One of the high est incentives for planting native gardens is that they require little care as they are adapted to the conditions of the area in which they have evolved. Therefore, once planted these species should require little, if any maintenance. Despite this, young p lants require stable conditions and high availabilities of water. Monteverde is currently

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6 approaching the dry season of the year in which rain is less abundant and the sun increases its intensity due to loss of cloud cover. Consequently, we are unable to p lant all of the species in the garden as they will need to be watered every day. However, we were able to prepare the mimicry and epiphyte sections. Primarily, we have excavated the ground for the mimicry section and turned over the soil. We also removed the majority of the existing grass from the plot. Organic fertilizer was then mixed in to increase the nutrient availability in the soil. Three days later, several individuals of the A. curassavica, E. radicans, and L. camara were planted in the mimicry s ection. The epiphyte tree and surrounding area was cleaned up by removing branches, thereby making the area more easily accessible. Non native species were also removed from the tree as well as ones that would crowd out the highlighted and desired speci es. Existing species on the tree were identified. The epiphyte fence post dimensions were marked with stakes and flagging tape. DISCUSSION This garden can be used first and foremost as a teaching tool for the students at the Monteverde Biological Statio n. It was designed with educational purposes in mind, and allows for an easily accessible study area for learning about epiphyte families, tree fall gap specialists, and plant mimicry. The plants will eventually have labels so students will easily be able to identify each plant. The labels will be provided by Willow Zuchowski and will be in the same format as her plates in other native gardens. Many of the plants in the garden cannot currently be easily observed on the Station grounds and are not found wit hin close proximity to the classroom. Tree fall gaps in the surrounding forest that are easily accessible are cleared in trail maintenance, which eliminates the opportunity for lectures close to the Station including gap dynamics supplemented with examples . Although these plants may occur in the surrounding woods, the Station garden will provide a place in close proximity where these major species can be found in conjunction. Epiphytes in the surrounding area tend to be found high in the canopy and cannot b e easily observed at eye level. The epiphyte tree in the garden, the log adjacent, and frames surrounding provide easily access to the major epiphytic plants in the Monteverde area. In addition, A. curassavica, E. radicans, and L. camara are not currently found growing together on the Station property. These plants in concurrence will provide an instantly recognizable example of plant mimicry. This project has enormous potential for enhancing the landscape of the Biological Station, increasing forest dynami c awareness, and bringing intricate assemblages of native species into an observable and easily assessable field. The garden was also designed to be aesthetically pleasing. I hope that once it grows to its full potential it will be full of color and a spa ce that students will enjoy walking through. I also hope that this garden, along with the other native gardens in the area can be used as landscaping examples for other gardeners in the area. Once flowering, the garden will attract native pollinators and d ispersers such as butterflies, birds, and various other insects. Finally, it will increase the biodiversity of the area because instead of having a large pasture it will be full of beautiful, full, and flowering plants.

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7 AKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to th ank Alan Masters for presenting me with this project and Karen Masters for helping me see it through. Many thanks to Willow Zuchowski for her resources, availability, and kindness. Without her relation of knowledge both in personal and published form, this project would have been a daunting task instead of a manageable one. Thank you Tom for your help with digging and for editing my paper. Thank you Alex for your help with planting and for reassuring me that my project was beautiful and lasting. Thank you A na Belle for your inquiries and encouragement. Many thanks and much love to Sarah for bringing me along on this journey. And, as always, thank you Jerry. LITERATURE CITED California Native Plant Society. 2003. Why grow native plants? http://cnps.org/activities/grow.html November 20, 2006. Go for Green. Gardening with Native Plants: General Introduction. http://www.goforgreen. ca/gardening/Factsheets/Fact6.htm . November 20, 2006. Lamb, D, E, P.D. Erskine, and J.A. Parrotta. 2005. Restoration of Degraded Tropical Landscapes. Science 10: 16 28. Mollison, B.. 1988. Permaculture: A Designers Manual. Tagari Publications. Tygari, Australia. P: 2, 11 12, 37 43. Nadkarni, N.M. and Wheelwright, N.T. 2000. Introduction: Historical Overview and The Boundaries. IN: Nadkarni, N.M. and Wheelwright, N.T. editors. Monteverde: Ecology and Coservation of a Tropical Cloud Forest. Oxford Press, New York, New York. p:9. Nelson, L. 2006. Site Analysis from LandscapeGraphics by Grant W. Reid. www.uoregon.edu/~sgardens/ Zuchowski, W. 2004. ProNativas: Educational gardens that enhance habitat. Zuc howski, W. 2005. A Guide to Tropical Plants of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical, Miami, Fl.: 46 529.


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This is a plan for a native garden at the Monteverde Biological Station designed in November of 2006. The garden has been designed to be used as a learning tool for the students at the Station and once developed will be aesthetically pleasing and attract native pollinators. The design includes sections of (1) light gap specialist plants (2) epiphyte families (3) plants that are examples of evolutionary mimicry to attract pollinators (4) common butterfly or hummingbird pollinated plants and (5) common understory plants. Plants for the garden were obtained from the Bajo de Tigre native plant nursery in Monteverde. Thus far, the mimicry section has been planted and the epiphyte section has been cleared and prepared, and native families missing from the section were introduced. Included here are (1) a blueprint for the continued planting of the garden and (2) color plates with pictures and botanical information about the plants to be incorporated in the garden.
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