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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 pollinat ors. The design includes sections of (1) light gap specialist plants (2) epiphyte families (3) plants th at are examples of evolu tionary 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. RESUMEN Esto es un plan para un jardn nativo en el Monteverde la Estacin Biolgica dise en noviembre de 2006. El jardn ha sido diseado para ser utilizado como un instrumento que aprende para los estudiantes en la estacin y una vez desarrollado estar complaciendo estticamente y at rae nativo polinizadora. El diseo incluye las secciones de (1) plantas lig eras de especialista de espacio (2) las familias de epiphyte (3) plantas que son los ejemplos de la mmica evolutiva atraer polinizadora (4) mariposa o colibr comunes plantas polinizadas y (5) plantas comunes de understory. Las plantas para el jardn fueron obtenidas del Bajo de Tigre la guardera infantil nativa de planta en Montev erde. As distante, la seccin de la mmica ha sido plantada y la seccin de epiphyte ha sido vaciada y ha sido preparada, y las familias nativas que pierden de la seccin fueron introducid as. Incluido aqu estn (1) un cianotipo para el sigui plantando del jardn y (2) platos de color con retratos e informacin botnica acerca de las plantas para ser incorporados en el jardn. INTRODUCTION The Monteverde Biological Station is situat ed 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 undi sturbed forest. This habitat shelters many threatened and endangered species both broadly distributed across Costa Rica and endemic to the Monteverde area (Nadkarni a nd Wheelwright 2000). The Station is used solely by biology students as a headquarters for classes, research, fieldwork, and independent studies. Students come from th e United States to study one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world. Although the Station is located directly below primary and secondary forest and the Station grounds contain many native and non-n ative species of plan ts, there is a lack of effective teaching tools thr ough natural examples within cl ose proximity of the Station 1
classrooms. For example, although the fo rest surrounding the Station contains many species of native plants, they may not be clea rly visible from the trails. Many epiphytes that are currently studied have fallen from their canopy substrate or are growing on fallen logs. It is hard to find many species in thei r 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 rou tine 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. Furthermore, students at the St ation learn about plant mimicry to attract pollinators during their biology program, yet these plants do not all grow next to eachother on the station property. For these reasons my project was to design a garden for the Biological Station, comprised of nativ e plants, providing an educational setting for the students, and including sections for di scussions about epiphytes, tree fall gaps, and plant mimicry. Native plants, having evolved in this envi ronment, are ideally suited to thrive 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 in creased biodiversity on the Station grounds, provision of habitat for native animals, pr oviding a home for native plants that are becoming increasingly rare in the wild, conser vation 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 objectiv e for the native garden at the Biological Station is to provide an aesthetically pleasi ng 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 of the plants of Monteverde. Additionally, she has established three native plant nurseries in the Monteverde ar ea. 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., Mont everde Institute, Agroecotourismo Santamaria, Canitas, Pension Santa Elena, Bajo del Ti gre, and the Cloud Forest School. I visited each of the existing gardens to 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 fo r the garden being desi gned 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 Willows 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 height, flower color, growth form, flowering time, and pollinator. To 2
create the design for the garden I began with assessing the educationa l needs. Alan and Karen Masters, the professors at the Biological Station, wanted to be ab le to give lectures about tree 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 contours 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 de sign class at the University of Oregon. In addition, I consulted Mollison (1988) for design ideas. To determine a suitable place for the gard en to be located, I worked with Willow, Marvin Hidalgo (Station Manager), and Karen Ma sters 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 epiphytic plant identif ications at the garden site. She also contributed her insights and preferences for the design layout. I then composed a list of the plants suitabl e to use in the garden. I started to make sketches of what the garden would look lik e and which plants it would contain based on this list. Included were a section for a li ght gap lecture, an in troduction to epiphytic plants, and an introduction to plant mimicry. Th e 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 corr esponding species list (Table 1). The plants in the garden capable of exemplifying learni ng 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 (Figur e 1) lists borders, dimensions, and species locations. The garden extends along the edge of the Hibiscus bush along the Station drive to the ridge above the Teaching Assistan t cabin. The eastern boundary is the path that leads to the lower lab a nd TA cabin. A ridge that drops off to a future gazebo (as proposed by the Station manager, Marvin Hida lgo) defines the western edge. The garden entrances are located at the path to the lower lab of the Sta tion, 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 th e west side there wi ll be a number of plants that are hummingbird pollinated. The final plan for the garden include s five main sections for educational purposes. To the east of the main garden entran ce is a large circular section divided by a 3
five-pointed star. This section will include plants that are tree fall gap specialists. This area was designed in a wheel 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 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 contai ns many families of epiphytes highlights the epiphyte section. A path surrounding the epiphyte tree will make it visible from every angle. There will be a large, open secti on in front of the tree to be used as standing room for lectures. The space can accommodate thirty people or more, the average class size of students staying at the Biological Station. On the easte rn side of the epiphyte tree there will be a large fallen log that will ac t as a substrate for epiphytes which can be removed and passed around to the students allowing them to examine epiphytes more closely. Two frames, each three meters long, w ill 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 survive if left on the ground and trampled or washed away can fill these frames. The path be hind 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 st udents 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 assistant cabin which contains se veral individuals of Asclepias curassavica, Epidendrum radicans, and Lantana camara that have evolved similar floral characteristics allowing them to attract their butterfly pollinator s. To the north of the mimicr y 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 grow th. 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 hummingbird s 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. Color 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 name(s), grow th form/height, 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 into laminates for student use. List of Learning Activities Gap plants lecture. 4
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 tortuosa, 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 ep iphyte 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 following families: Araceae, Araliaceae, Asteraceae, Brom eliaceae, Cactaceae, Clusiaceae, Cyclanthaceae, Ericaceae, Gesneriaceae, Moraceae, Orchidaceae, Piperace ae, Rubiaceae, and two species of ferns in the families Aspleniaceae and Lomariopsidaceae. More species 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 attr act pollinators and can be included in the discussion about forms of mimicry. This section includes Asclepias curassavica, Epidendrum radicans, and Lantana camara Introduction to common understory plants. Common plants found in the Monteverde understo ry are located in this plot. Included in this area are Piper 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 identificatio n and study by the students: Ageratum sp., Fleischmannnia pycnocephala, Senecio, Lobelia laxiflora, Ipom oea nil, Kohleria spicata, Salvia sp., Malvaviscus sp., Hamelia patens, Rondeletia amonea, Lantana camara, and Stachytarpheta frantzii. Trigona bees as pollinators. The southern side of the epiphyte tree contai ns a Trigona bee nest. This nest should be examined and presented in the lecture regarding the importa nce and abundance of Trigona bees as pollinators. Progress to Date 5
One of the highest incentives for planting native gardens is that they require little care as they are adapted to the conditions of the ar ea in which they have evolved. Therefore, once planted these species should require lit tle, if any maintenance. Despite this, young plants require stable conditions and high availabilities of wate r. Monteverde is currently 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. Consequentl y, we are unable to plant 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 section. 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 cr owd out the highlighted and desired species. 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 Stati on. It was designed with edu cational 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 can not currently be easily observed on the Station grounds and are not found within close proximity to the classroom. Tree fall gaps in the surrounding forest that are easily accessi ble are cleared in trail maintenance, which eliminates the opportunity for lectures cl ose 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 su rrounding area tend to be found high in the canopy and cannot be easily observed at eye level. The epiphyte tr ee in the garden, the log adjacent, and frames surrounding provide ea sily 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 Stat ion property. These plan ts in concurrence will provide an instantly recognizable exam ple of plant mimicry. This project has enormous potential for enhancing the lands cape of the Biological Station, increasing forest dynamic awareness, and bringing intric ate assemblages of na tive species into an observable and easily assessable field. The garden was also designed to be aes thetically pleasing. I hope that once it grows to its full potential it will be full of color and a space that students will enjoy walking through. I also hope that this garden, along with th e other native gardens in the area can be used as landscaping examples fo r other gardeners in the area. Once flowering, 6
7 the garden will attract native pollinators and di spersers such as butterflies, birds, and various other insects. Finally, it will increa se the biodiversity of the area because instead of having a large pasture it will be full of beautiful, full, and flowering plants. AKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank Alan Masters for presen ting me with this proj ect and Karen Masters for helping me see it through. Many thanks to Willow Zuchowski for her resources, availability, and kindness. Without her re lation 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 reassu ring me that my project was beautiful and lasting. Thank you Ana Belle for your inquiri es 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 Nativ e Plants: General Introduction. http://www.goforgreen.ca/gard ening/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. In troduction: Historical Overview and The Boundaries. IN: Nadkarni, N.M. and Wh eelwright, 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: Educati onal gardens that enhance habitat. Zuchowski, W. 2005. A Guide to Tropical Plan ts of Costa Rica. Zona Tropical, Miami, Fl.: 46529.
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Diseo de jardines nativos para la Estacin Biolgica de Monteverde
Native garden design for the Monteverde Biological Station
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.
Esto es un plan para un jardn nativo en la Estacin Biolgica de Monteverde diseado en noviembre del 2006. El jardn ha sido diseado para ser utilizado como una herramienta de aprendizaje para los estudiantes en la estacin y una vez desarrollado estar complaciendo estticamente y atrae polinizadores nativos.
Text in English.
Native plant gardening--Costa Rica--Puntarenas--Monteverde Zone
Cultivo de un jardn de plantas nativas
Tropical Ecology 2006
Ecologa Tropical 2006
t Monteverde Institute : Tropical Ecology