Nature Gardens At The Natural History Museum of LA County


This is cultivating place conversations on natural history in the human impulse to garden from nor state public radio in northern California. I'm Jennifer jewel this week. We visit a remarkable public garden in California during California native plant week the nature gardens at the natural history. Museum of Los Angeles County are testament to just how much one garden can do where once a parking lot sat stay with us, the landscape architect and museum staff. Collaborated very deeply on the original planting a pallet for the entire garden. It was master planned and every plant that was chosen to be a part of this garden was chosen for a contribution that it would make to providing habitat. This is cultivating place. I'm Jennifer jewel in this hour fifth but not quite final. Listen for more information towards the end of this episode in our five part series on our gardens as habitat, and we gardeners as powerful land stewards and bio-diversity protectors. We visit a remarkable public garden in California. It's California native plant week the nature gardens at the natural history. Museum of Los Angeles County are testament to just how much one garden can do to turn back time and help restore habitat even in downtown LA where once a parking lot sat Barron an overheated. We're joined today by native plant expert, Carol Bornstein, director of the nature gardens and by Leila Higgins, senior manager of community science there. With hard data collected over the last seven years and huge hearts for this work. They bring us up to speed on what the nature gardens and the habitat they provide can offer to us all Carol and Leila. Join us today with the help of audio producer Joanna clay from the nature gardens. Welcome Carole and Leila. Hello. I I'd love to have you both start by restating your job title, and tell us what that actually means in your working life day today. Let's start with you, Carol. I'm the director of the nature gardens here at the museum. I also oversee the the museums live animal program. So I joke he like to tell people that I'm responsible for the living things here at the museum as opposed to all the the dead specimens that we have in in our collections. There's no typical day, really. But a fair amount of. Time will be spent out in the garden communicating with our head gardener and some of the other members of the garden team just addressing what's going on with the the plants in the in the collection itself. Interacting with many other staff with regard to how the the gardens are being used of for educational purposes carefully for some of the research work, just all sorts of different collaborations that revolve and spin off of what's happening out in the gardens. Yeah. What about you? Leila. Hi. So I'm the senior manager of community science which some people refer to as citizens science about a year ago. We changed the name not everyone is a citizen who we want to participate. I'm personally, not a citizen of the United States. And we also were approached by the community and asked to change the name. And so that that's the rationale there. But the. Definition is the same regardless of whether you call a community signs like we do or citizen science, and it's getting the general public involved in answering real research questions and are real research questions or what's going on with nature here in Los Angeles. And that's not just in the garden, but all over the LA southern California region. But now that we have the garden it's an amazing field research site for both are scientists work in research and collections. I have a degree in entomology, so insects are among jam. But I love I realized that I wasn't going to be a hard science researcher. I realized I needed to communicate science to people, and that's what gave me true joy and getting to help build this garden here at the museum. It's just so amazing coming into work and seeing kids around the pond like literally getting their feet wet following chasing a butterfly getting to see birds up-close or them crawling through the wormhole in. Dirty zone. It's it's something that gives me like tangles every day. It is a it is an incredible garden. Carol will you describe the scope of these gardens that were we are talking about an a little bit about their history that how big are they when were they I put in. Why were they put in? Well, so the guards are roughly three and a half acres, and they took the place of a couple of parking lots and some rather mundane landscaping fair amount of lawn and not not a whole lot else. And the idea came about during the process of doing some major renovation to the the museum itself earthquake retrofitting the old historic wing and some of the galleries throughout the museum. And I wasn't here at the time Leela can speak to this perhaps more detail. But the the idea was to take the museums work, it's research work, and it's. -cational programming outdoors on our own property and to use the space the outdoor space as part of our our mission based work so becoming a museum of nature and natural history. The museum staff they developed a team of of biologists and educators, and that's where Leila came in wearing both hats at the time and worked with meal and associates local landscape architecture firm to develop the concept for the gardens and to help to construct them. And the goals were were multiple. They wanted to build something that could be used as a field site for conducting research also for many educational program opportunities for nature play because so many people who live in Los Angeles. Don't have the opportunity to have some type of connection with the outdoors. They they don't get to the beach or they don't go to the mountains. Nhs their school yards may be more asphalt than anything else. And there was a very strong belief that we needed to provide some opportunities, whether it was a first touch for nature or giving people a chance to just move along that continuum and become better aware of more connected with nature that is around them and also to serve as a demonstration garden of what they might be able to do in their own space and last, but certainly not least to create habitat for wildlife in this urban setting Lindy one adds something to that. So I've been at the museum ten years. And when I first got here and heard about this project, and I was like, oh my gosh. How can I start working on that? I have a master's degree environmental education, which was paired with my entomology undergrad degree and was like this is going to be a really powerful space for many of the reasons Carol outlined, and as a person who grew up on a form in England and got to run around playing hall trees and pretending to be a badger and chasing butterflies down a country lane. I felt really really compelled to help make a space where people can have experiences like that here in Los Angeles safe natural outdoor spaces where parents could bring their kids and kind of the parents could sit down and relax and kids could get their hands dirty in compost and climb on a tree stump and chase butterflies. Maybe. Okay. Maybe they also. Oh can pretend to be badgers. But American badges note European badges? But I got to work on that literally had started in December of two thousand eight and then halfway through two thousand nine I got assigned to the nature gardens project working with the head of exhibits at the time, Karen wise and found myself as the most Judy person in the room with the president of the museum and head of our construction company listening to the pitches from all the different landscape firms that we're going to possibly wanted to work with us. And then we selected Mierlo layer at associates, and I was just like how my in this space and an in getting against the whole completion cycle and then hiring on Carol and the now having a full complement of garden staff and seeing kids and adults out in that space. It's kind of just like a magical thing, it is magical thing. And I wanna go back to Carol for just a second before we get into more of the science being. Done there, Carol as really one of the premier native plant experts in California, especially in public garden space, your whole career has been dedicated to to this kind of work will you describe for people the kind of range of plants both implant types, and maybe how many species you have. And just like, what would we mean when we say were planting for habitat, give us some tangible names and faces to that. Well, I I'll just start by saying that the the gardens are not an entirely, California native composition, there are exotic plants here. Although most of what people see when they come was part of the overall planting design, very very little of what remained prior to the groundbreaking is on the property, but there are some exotic species and those reflect part of the fabric of the. Urban landscape that exists throughout Los Angeles. And that was intentional to make it be accessible in a visual way. That people could relate to some of the plants that were already here that they do see around the city, but I'd say about two thirds are California native plants, and they range from local native species of plants that you might find along the natural reaches of the Los Angeles or the San Gabriel rivers. So right Perry in vegetation such as a Royal willow, the California sycamore oak woodland, primarily we would we have coast live oak. But we also have a few species of other native oaks on the property. Lots of Toyin, which is the official Strub official native plant of Los Angeles that absolutely thrives in this garden, several different kinds of CNN 'thus and man's anita's coffee berry and. Currents and gooseberries. So there's a quite an extensive array of Woody plants, but we also have a lot of native grasses Perennials. There's even an aquatic component. Because we have an unnatural Listrik pond that is populated entirely with California native plants and the Hollander meadow actually have to pollinator gardens one that is exclusively California natives a mosaic of grasses and annual and perennial wildflowers with a few shrubs for structure around structure, but we also have an a'mixed Hollander garden that is a more formal in presentation to appeal to people who might not like, you know, the the less tidy look that the the meadow a presents in addition to all of that there's also an edible garden that doesn't fact have some California native plants mixed in partly for their in secretary benefits. But. Also because some of our native plants definitely have an edible component to them. That's a kind of a general overview. Yeah. And there's roughly six hundred or so different species and cultivars in the garden, not including the edible plants and the annual wildflowers so for the snow barely size. There's a lot of plant diversity a lot of impact. When I was last there. I think the the Wildflower meadow mosaic area, you were referring to was just getting started. And with this great bloom year going on can you describe that a little bit for us shirt? Yes. It's in bloom. It's it's probably the most dynamic part of all of the nature gardens other than the changing annual beds in the edible garden because of the composition of the diversity of plants that are there, and the fact that it has. It has definitely evolved since we planted it. It was the the last section of the garden to be installed. The meadow originally had a lot more annual Wildflower component to it. And over time the bunch grasses have naturalized and taken up more of the real estate. So there are probably there's less of the ground plane of annuals, but there are more of some of the other plants that we landed such as the desert APR ikat and the Indian Mallow and the annual sunflower some things have just been super super happy in that location. And we have let a lot of things just evolved on their own trying to take a to some degree a bit of a hands off approach and let things find their place. But at the same time, we are we are still managing it just in that description alone where you have the, you know, really Connick. Canopy trees of the sycamore and the oaks there and all the way down to the to the native bunch grasses. There is this beautiful and wholly Representative plant communities there which would allow for a lot of year, round, observation and information collection. So I'm going to move to you Leela and have you talk a little bit about the different ways that you are incorporating both community science and hard science with all of that opportunity throughout the year. Again, we were very excited about this garden opening and even before it opened. We started surveying the space with our scientific staff. We had this group that we call the habitat team. And I was one of the lead content educators on that team. But also had. A science background. So was able to work with an across the science to education side of things, and we have been doing a lot of field research out in the space. So we have our Tamala gist out there putting up Malays trap. That's been up since the garden has opened animals trap for those of you don't know it's like almost like a tent, but for insects that fly through the environment, and they get caught on the piece of netting. That's there. And then they are tracked into flying up to try and get away they fly up woods. And then they get cold in this jar, which is filled with alcohol, and yes, they do parish. But we take killing things very seriously here. We're only doing it to to help our understanding of the planet and to hopefully, make the planet and our environment, especially here in Los Angeles better for humans and for wildlife. So we. Found hundreds and hundreds of insect species in the garden through that Malays trapping projects and our staff and volunteers sorting through those insects inside of our nature lab exhibit. So the public can come in throughout the week in the weekends and get to see volunteers and work study students from USA sorting through those insects, and we have a microscope setup. So they can see them up close and see some of these life forms that are flying around in also even their own backyards, but are something that are so small and so tiny the people don't get to see. So we've had three hundred and five species of insects observed in the nature gardens through this logical survey to split that up nine species of dragonflies, damsel flies which mostly relying on the pond because dragonflies and damsel flies lay their eggs inside of water. And so their babies live on the border of putting in that wall. A source really helps to increase the bottom versity in relation to the dragonflies. Dams of is we have fourteen species of butterflies in a found in the garden. Nineteen species of flower flies, also known as a hover flies they are pollinators forty five species of scuttle flies. So these are in the true fly group there also known as humpback flies because they have this very large hump behind their head an-and, sixteen species more than sixteen species of bees, and then thirty four species of beetles, which Beatles, my favorite order insects. So very excited to see so many of those in our age gardens, and then beyond the insects. We've had four species of reptiles amphibians found there was a turtle dumped in the pong. There was a American bullfrog dumped in the pond. So those are species that we've seen were not necessarily very excited about having them in in the space. They are again invasive species that have. Wrought havoc around the world. But then we have to species blizzards have shown up and there were not really lizards in the space before the gardens were built seventeen species of mammals, ten species of sales slugs and one hundred seven bird species are. Yeah, it's amazing are one of orange haired the museum Kimball Garrett he has lived in Los Angeles his whole life. He grew up playing in the Hollywood hills all birds around and he scored a job here at the museum and has been here over thirty years. And since the gardens opened he has been going out weekly and he's done two hundred seventy nine bird surveys. He seen twenty two thousand six hundred fifteen individual birds, which represents one hundred seven species I wanted to just add something about all these creatures. None of that wildlife was intentionally brought into the garden. There's only there's only one animal that we. Intentionally introduced in that was the Arroyo chub, which is a native fish that. We actually had to secure a permit in order to release it in the pond, and it has been so happy that the initial seating of maybe twenty five to fifty or so fish has now turned into many, hundreds if not thousands of fish, but everything else, you know, that we have been documenting has arrived on its own accord. Although as Leila did say a couple things apparently were deposited in the pond that we pre mmediately removed. Carol Bornstein is director and Leila Higgins, the senior manager of community science both at the nature gardens of the natural history. Museum of Los Angeles County in downtown LA, the three and a half acre garden was conceived and planted in what was mostly as volt parking lot. The natural history museum is LA's oldest museum building and the present day anchor of an emerging cultural educational and entertainment hub in exposition park. Natural history museum. Visitors are awed by extraordinary specimens and the stories behind them. In addition to sharing the history of the planet. The natural history museum also explores a more local transformation, the outdoor nature gardens and the nature lab. Look at how environment and people past and present interact in LA the unifying. Theme in these indoor and outdoor experiences is the interplay of nature and culture in Los Angeles and the world the gardens put living nature into the life and science of this historic natural history museum. We'll be right back after a break to hear more. Hey, I've had so many wonderful comments and notes about the impression this habitat series has made on all of you and me to how it's opened your thinking and inspired your own gardening at this time of year in particular. You'll hear more about this at the end of this episode. But I just couldn't help myself. I added one more episode to what was supposed to be a series of five. It was too hard to stop because in reality all gardens are about habitat right there have tat for us for our sanity for our wildlife, and our plants and well engaging in life, more, fully and richly on all levels. It's because of you donors out there that I was able to put my head around curing such a series and the forethought planning scheduling in communicating. This involves so thank you to each and every one of you who showed up as donors as well. As listeners we have a lot of new ideas here at cultivating place, and we need listener support to help us out. If you wanna be the gardener to our garden, please consider making a tax deductible donation by clicking on the link that says support in the upper right hand corner of any page Eckel debating place dot com, while most people give us a steaming donations of twenty dollars a month. Kenny size or one time gift goes a long way to make these important conversations possible. Thank you. Now. Back to our conversation with Carol Bornstein and Leila Higgins of the nature gardens at the natural history. Museum of Los Angeles County. This is cultivating place. I'm Jennifer jewel. Welcome back to our conversation with Carol Bornstein and Leila Higgins of the habitat intense nature gardens at the natural history. Museum of Los Angeles County in downtown LA. So that was one of my questions when when you referred to frog and the turtles being dumped, these are non native species that somebody came and just released without permission into the environment. The turtle happened during construction we did have a camera trap on the pond of time camera trapping is something else that way, we do in the garden to help to collect data and we saw some construction boots coming in the frame, and then the next day turtle was in the pond. So it was a rhetoric slider. It's on the top one hundred species list of invasive species that is on the red list way had somewhere live animal staff. Oversee the removal of total and rehoming wanna go back to all of these wonderful numbers of bugs, you were giving these three and a half acres of gardens went into a place that was basically just as fault. It was just paved over and more or less, and then these gardens come in you've been what I understood from what you said is you've been collecting this data on the insect and other life in the gardens for all of these years or a great many of them since the garden was planted. We're hearing all the time right now about how fresher are insect life is in the world. And it's decreasing numbers. We don't have data from before the garden was there. But in theory there clearly weren't, you know, damsel flies and dragonflies because there was not water. So are you seeing trends of upward and downward? Are you what are you seeing there? And what does it say to you? So the Malays trap that I was talking about is one of well, it was originally in the first ration- of this research product, which is called bio scan which stands for biodiversity science city nature just run by our Tamala staff here, and Dr Brian Brown are Tamala just he's a fly specialist, and so that Malays trip in our nature gardens was one of thirty that was all over the city of Los Angeles and through. Those traps they discovered forty three species of of these flies that are brand new to science not new Los Angeles. But brand new no scientists knew that they had existed on the planet until our researchers looked at them and identify them. Yes. So this is real science happening. And in two other flies that he looked at in that sample one had never before been found in Los Angeles. Edit only been known to exist in Europe, a third one also never before found in LA only known from the east and west coast of Africa three scientific discoveries one new species, and then to range expansions we found to date is they're working on publishing a lot of state. But so I don't want to preempt them on that. But what Carol Annan other people have been saying plant native plants plant native plants, and or climate appropriate plants, and you will increase by diversity in your space. I think for Gardner. There's maybe our greatest joy in life. E is this idea of making. Gardens that welcome all of these creatures even in a small space and being able to make that difference. Just feel so hugely helpful to me and hopeful to me, given what we are seeing worldwide in terms of declines of these creatures that we we rely on them for everything and we harm them at our own peril. So with that in mind, I wanna move back to Carol. And you know, we talk about habitat nor garden's very generally, but you can give us some really I think beautiful specifics, perhaps on ways that you have as a plant person thought about the habitat needs of these, you know, many different species and said, you know, maybe this is their larvae. Food. Maybe I'll plant this this is there, you know, this would be great nesting material for for hummingbirds. Maybe I'll plant this has there been a kind of intentional planning for the support of the different life stages of some of these creatures mean, I think the the most common when we hear about all the time. Of course is the milk Weeden and the monarch or you know, for us the pipe vine and the Aristo Kia with the pipeline swallowtail butterflies have had there been other examples like that that you can share with us wherein, you think that long term for what your plants and your final relationships are doing together while they the short answer is. Yes, that that was definitely intentional the team that of Leland. I mentioned of the landscape architect and museum staff. Collaborated very deeply on the original planting. Palette for the entire garden. It was master plan and every plant that was chosen to be a part of this garden was chosen for it. What a contribution that it would make to providing habitat also to be compatible with our Mediterranean climate here in Los Angeles, and to be to survive on fairly low water over its lifespan, not everything has worked for one reason or another because guards, of course, are grand experiments in and things don't number one live necessarily live forever. And we're constantly editing and changing trying to honor the original intentions, and when new plants are brought into the garden. They do need to pass muster with that same goal in mind to provide either a food source, whether it's through the flowers or the fruits or nesting material or shelter as far as specifics. Well, there's a plant from. Baja California Mexico. Culver Beena, Lila seena that. One of the things that people do like about that. And it has become very popular year in central and southern California is that blooms almost all year long has lovely purple flowers that happen to be fragrant adapted to our dry summer climate here. And it attracts a quite a diverse array of butterflies, so from skippers disqualify sales monarchs so that is one that is popular not only for its beauty. But also for its attractiveness to butterflies, the native sunflower, I mentioned that earlier I've been delighted by how happy it is in our garden. But also the fact that not only do native bees neck, visit the flowers when they're in bloom in late spring early summer, but as the seeds ripen, then it provides a wonderful food source for gold finches, they will just hang upside down and just feast away until they. You know, get disturbed by something and fly off and then of Chile return. So that's a plant that that that gives in multiple ways coast live oaks and oaks in general, you know, have a reputation of being fantastic habitat. Plants. There's documentation that oak trees provide some type of support to over five hundred different creatures of wildlife at some point during their life. Whether it's a food source or nesting or shelter. And so we definitely see an awful lot of activity among the many oak trees here in the garden Ciller of few very very few examples. I remember when I was there being really taken by the bat monitoring equipment that ill had down by think by the pond area. Well, I I know that we've documented I think it's five. Species now. And I think that the reason that we are seeing that kind of activity is because of the fact that all of these plants are providing some type of food source for insects in the the bats visiting to eat, the insects and Leela can probably fill in more detail about that. Yes. So the person who puts up the bat detector is Miguel Oriana he works in the community science office. He's also an urban cone of researcher an Mamool gist. So we've had a bat detector up for number of years in the garden. We have one two three four five species of bats that have been detected. We've got the big Brown bat red bat hoary bat pallid bat and Townsend big eared bat, one of the other things that the again, I keep mentioning the pond the pond is a great resource for bats, not what was people would think it's because of all insects that live in the aquatic environment. And then emerge. Urge as adults and these flying insects are then food source for bats. And you'll often see that's fine. Ovo waterways around Los Angeles at dusk. And it's a really beautiful sight to behold, and you're like, you might be eating any of the mosquitoes that a flying around right now and bats so that was one of the things like we have to have a pond, we have to have a pond, we have to have a pond known only going to add all of this diversity and habitat for these species that really rely on that quantum environment. But I've done a lot of ponding with children. And so taking kids out to the edge of the pond hitting them Annette giving them a even a simple tool like a plastic smoothen and a ice cube tray. They can then sample for the macro invertebrates in the pawn, and they get to find things like two strikers and Dragonfly. Larvae and dams affi- larvae, and we don't actually have very many mosquitoes upon which is an tastic all the Orioles job undoing their job eating eating them. Lots of other insects like may fly larvae we found some pita larvae living in the pond as well. Beyond the pawn. We also wanted to make sure that we added habitat value in addition to the plant, so we have be hotels, we put up out there. And I remember working with some of our exhibit team with some old pieces of wood Brian round or Tamala just had in his backyard, and we drilled hundreds of holes into them and put them out, and we're so excited when we saw Ie's moving in these a solitary bees, not the, you know, honeybees that live in these giant, colonial groups, so they're much less likely to Singley solitary bees, and they move in. And they lay their eggs inside of these holes and provision them with pollen sacs. And then the babies hatch out and get to eat Napolitan. There is inside there. So that's that's really fantastic things that get provisioned with spiders or actually wa-. So we have we have areas that we let go muddy and then wasps come and collect the mud from those little edges of the muddy puddles and make little Ness on the side of the building. We've also left lots of area is like bare sand because their ground nesting sand SPS in the ambiguous which have these beautiful green eyes. You know? That's not something that most gardeners may be no about, but yet if you want to have these beautiful wasps, and again, these are solitary wasps, so they're not gonna be out there trying to sting us. Humans like yellow jackets are and then added bonus for those mud Doha's. You know, if you have any phobia of spiders there they as part of their life cycle they need to vision their their their nest with those items for their babies too. In this fifth episode in our series focusing on the important role. We our gardens can play in supporting bio-diversity in this world. We're speaking with Carol Bornstein director and Leila Higgins senior manager of community. Science at the nature gardens of the natural history. Museum of Los Angeles County in downtown LA the gardens were designed and planted by Mia layer and associates a firm now known as studio M L A in two thousand thirteen in collaboration with science and education. Staff at the natural history museum specifically to re introduce native habitat, by way of water rocks. Trees other plants and soils for the native wildlife of Los Angeles to return, the resulting insect reptile, mammal and bird diversity. Making this oh Acis garden. Their home is reminder to us all of the power. We have to create habitat for all on our own patches of earth. We'll be right back after a break. Stay with us. Okay. So thinking out loud. Here you want to know what I'm loving, the very most about this conversation with Carole and Leela it's this. We're speaking so little about pollinators now that might sound like a funny thing to say, but if you've been listening to these conversations in this series, you might have picked up that my feelings are this when we talk about habitat and biodiversity loss. It's not about one subset of life animals, we humans, call pollinators. We don't need this issue reduced to a sound bite. We are fully capable of grasping both the nuance and the complexity of the damage we have done to these living systems and our capacity for helping to restore balance. And it's not about us doing this because it benefits us as humans that the loss of pollinators will severely impact our food. Ops. For instance, we care, and we can act based solely on the fact that it's the right thing to do the problem. We've created is not simple and the answer is not simple. But it starts simply with starting from where we are doing what we can to not only change our actions in decisions, but to increase our own understanding and wariness garden variety everyday actions from the ground up. It is about the monarchs in the hummingbirds and the honeybees, but as Carol and Leila demonstrate it's also about lizards, and spiders beetles and bats, it's about flies and sand wasps, we might be preconditioned to be scared of, but which are in fact gentle, and they had the most beautiful iridescent is and they have an important place in this. Well. Of life that we're one tiny part of we can do this. We you and me gardeners, we most especially can do this. Now back to our conversation with Carol Bornstein and Leila Higgins of the nature gardens at the natural history. Museum of Los Angeles County. This is cultivating place. I'm Jennifer jewel. Welcome back to our conversation with Carol Bornstein and Leila Higgins of the nature gardens at the natural history. Museum of Los Angeles County in downtown LA, you know, as home Gardner's in in you have both sort of reference the idea of the garden serving as demonstration for other people to see what they can do. And clearly not everybody's going to be able to put in a big pond or plant an enormous oak or even planned to small oak that's going to become an enormous oak. If you both of you had sort of one to three things that you would say to listeners as to what you would love to see them do in their gardens to move in this direction. What would those with those three things being let's start with you. Carol. Well, that's tough. I've thought about this a lot. I guess maybe the first thing I would suggest is to if you're using any kind of toxic chemicals in your garden to just stop doing that the statistics about the use of of herbicides pesticides in this country is a very alarming, and in my opinion. It's it's unnecessary. And we are managing this garden using organic practices, and we are not using toxic chemicals at all and we're not using synthetic fertilizers either. So I would encourage people to just abandon those practices because that is killing both beneficial as well as the occasional pests that might be visiting your garden and allow natural natural predators to help come and provide some kind of ecological balance in whatever size garden, you might have. So that I think that might be my first suggestion, certainly incorporating some Nick, California native plants into your garden, if you don't already, and if you're space is really really limited. I would concentrate on those that are as local as possible to your area. With the expectation that those would ideally be the best adapted to your site. That isn't always the case, but more likely than not they would they would hopefully be better adapted than something from tr- SU super far away as many of your listeners Nell, California's incredibly diverse state with over six thousand species of native plants and not all of those are going to grow well in your mediate area. So try to narrow your scope. Releasing chemicals using native plants, regardless of the size of your garden tried to incorporate different layers vegetation. So that you're providing habitat for as wide in array of of wildlife as possible. And by that, I mean plans that cover the ground in your kind of a blanket on the ground mid story as well as some type of canopy because different species occupy all of those different zones, and that not only adds to the visual interest of your garden. But it definitely will also nurture other forms of life to a appreciable extent. So I have to add one more, and that is some type of a water supply, even if it's just a tiny little dripping Byrd bath type of setup at that has everything needs water to some degree, and it doesn't have to be exuberant or expansive, but just a little bit. We'll go a long way to supporting life. What about you Leela? Okay. Get rid of your loans as much as you possibly can especially in southern California habitat value, basically zero I'm not saying don't have any loan. I totally see them as a great place for children and dogs to maybe play or laying down on for a picnic or taking a nap in on for all those things but as much as possible frequently drive by and you see people not using the loans for ninety nine percent of the time. So yet rid of his much loan as possibly feel it. You can outdoor cats are really destructive unloved cats. I love my friend's cats, but they kill so much wildlife. Lizards birds insects, even and I know that's really hard for some people here. But that you can have. You're happy. Indoor cat you could make an outdoor cat run. One of the women that I do a lot of work with a huge advocate football life. Here. Nelly. Susan gottlieb. She has a lovely nice big cat run outside. And so and she has hundreds and hundreds of hummingbirds visit her house, but that Cameron allows the cats to be outside the birds to be safe, and then Leslie, Carol mention the no pesticides. I'm going to get really specific one kind pesticide not dentist sides any rat poison the being put out they can be really destructive going up the food chain getting all the way even to in are amazing mountain line p twenty two he was suffering from mange had to be captured and administered medicine, and that's that's directly linked to rodenticides. And so that's something we're really trying to fight against here in Los Angeles right now. And getting that to be something that the. Adopted across the city, and hopefully Ross the county, and hopefully other cities counties will follow suit. Is there anything else you would like to add? And I wanna remind listeners that there's this amazing opportunity coming up the city nature challenge is gonna be able twenty seven th through the twenty nineth for survey shin period. Get your smartphones digital cameras out take pictures any plant or animal in any city. That's participating and that's a project that I helped to star in co-founded when someone from California academy sciences, and it's a competition between it was originally for years ago. L A versus San Francisco, which cine can find the most ager in the hundred forty cities around the world. Lots of cities in the western United States LA and San Francisco a long standing rivalry. Help us beat San Francisco. I just remembered one thing or new book while I'm one of the co-authors Carol was one of our scientific advisers. We have a whole we have twenty five field trips around LA, the nature gardens is one of them. So on vine, okay hero. Anything you would like to add in terms of the the plant in wildlife connection to the plants that I didn't mention it all that are really kind of should be at the top of the list for providing capital are the buckwheat s- the area games and Bacchus so buckwheat ZIM backer as have been huge stars in terms of the the insect diversity that they support how many different species of buck weeds. Do you have in the garden and our their lists of plant and plant species that you have in the garden up online under on the website. We don't have it online. I do. You have a plant database, and you know, we share it with people who express an interest in it. But it's not live. I can roughly say that we have probably seven or eight species of buckwheat in the garden. I'm really glad you mentioned both of those because they are such for one thing. Great season extenders, we are very close to our time. So I think I will move to is there is there anything else you would like to add maybe speaking personally to some moment of beauty or engagement in the garden that you could share with visitors about, you know, not just the wise. But not just the like you should. But the this is why it's so powerful to you personally. Well, I could say that for me the time that I spend not only in this garden, but my own garden brings me joy just by virtue of seeing the beauty that plants that are thriving provides and the support that they also provide the the dynamic between the plants and the wildlife is just a constant stores of. While inspiration, beauty and pleasure. It's it's part of the fabric of of our landscape in. I I don't know how I came to. Appreciate that. Exactly. I I've been gardening since I was a child, but I don't really think I paid that much attention to the wildlife. It was more the plants initially and over time I've come to appreciate the connection. Between all of these different living things, and how they how they change over time to me that is I think one of the most interesting aspects of being a gardener and the happy surprises when something does what you don't expect it to do, and that can be a wonderful thing in of itself, the problem solving aspect of being a gardener realizing that not everything is going to work the way you want that there are going to be failures. But they'll also be a lot of successes the willingness to you know, the willingness to fail and to to try something new, and it's always changing. That's what I love about. What I do that. It's it's unpredictable, and I really appreciate and value that very highly. What about you Leela? So for me, it's really going to see people in this space engaging as the manager of the community signs program like getting right before this interview. I went onto I natural. Which is the platform we use to help documents nature in this garden space, like how many species observations have been found documented by people who visit the museum and some of those people coming to our programs. Some of those people are kids in you know, some of our kind of like nature clubs, but some of them are just general visitors who maybe don't even get a personal interaction with. And so I looked that up. We had over two hundred seventy two people submitted three thousand seven hundred ninety seven observations which represents five hundred twenty eight species in that garden space up. And so seeing the power of that data set that has been collectively created by many most of those people are not scientists they're not they don't have undergraduate degree or master's or PHD in science, but they are out there and they care enough to take a photo and they care enough to submit. And so we get to see that data. And then get a better understanding of what is here in this garden space, and that's really powerful to me than having those personal interactions in the space will ink out, even if I'm just really rushed in Woking to meeting will through the space and see a group of schoolchildren kind of running joint smiles on that faces. And then when the they realize that they're allowed to kind of put their hands in the pond and failed at pond Volta and the teachers like, yeah, okay. Go ahead and just like this exuberant joy on those faces that feeds me feeds, my soul and shows the true power of the space. Thank you. Both very much for being guests on the program today. It has been a great pleasure to speak to you both and learn even more about those powerful gardens. Thank you, a pleasure to be a part of this series. Yes. Thank you. Carol Bornstein is a California native plant expert and the director of the nature gardens at the natural history. Museum of Los Angeles County. Leila Higgins is an entomologist educator and senior manager of community. Science at the natural history. Museum with hard data collected over the last seven years and huge hearts for this work. Carol and Leela are just two people in a large team working to increase support and learn from the nature gardens and the habitat they provide they provide that habitat to us all humans and other wildlife for more information on the nature gardens. Please see the museum's website at N H M dot org where you can follow the data collections and live cams that Carol and Leila were telling us about placed out in the gardens. You can also check out their new book co authored by Leila on which Carroll served. A science editor it's called wild LA exploring, the amazing nature in and around Los Angeles. As they say alligator lizards and free flying parakeets are just the beginning. While this was meant to be the fifth and final episode in our deep dive series into our gardens as important in sustaining habitats for the wildlife of our native areas, and we gardeners as important stewards of bio-diversity. I just couldn't help myself. I have extended the exploration to one more episode because it fits in so beautifully. You might know of the iron. Rush plants woman and garden designer Mary Reynolds from the movie dare to be wild of which her surprising gold medal winning garden design at the Chelsea flower show and her passion for nature in gardens is the focus or you might know her as the author of the garden awakening in either event, I think you will really enjoy hearing her garden life journey and her concept for gardens as arcs of hope for wildlife, the globe over join us next week for that cultivating places a listener supported co-production of nor state public radio for more information and many photos from the inspiring nature gardens in Los Angeles. See this week show notes under the podcast tab, Eckelt availing, place dot com. Our engine near skyscraper field. Original theme music is by Mark muse, accompanied by Joe craven, and Sam Bevan cultivating places distributed nationally by p r x public radio exchange until next week and joy, the cultivation of your place. I'm Jennifer jewel.

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