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looking for plant list information sources  RSS feed

 
                        
Posts: 57
Location: Northern Rockies
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I'm building a general plant list for this area (northern Rockies, HZ 4) and am looking for sources of information for the various species and strains.  Might anyone have some suggestions for on-line information sources?  Also, might anyone have good book suggestions?  Thanks for any help.  Rickster
 
                                
Posts: 55
Location: Savannah, GA
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Not sure exactly what info you are looking for... but here are a couple of the online sources I've been using:

http://plants.usda.gov/about_plants.html native or not, invasive or endangered, wetlands indicator

http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/ comments by gardeners who have grown it, source for trades, hardiness zone info

 
                        
Posts: 57
Location: Northern Rockies
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Thanks CBostic.  I had come across Dave's Garden earlier, but the PLANTS database is new to me.  I have a USFS-published book on vascular plants native to Montana (my state) that I really like, also. The USDA prints some great material.
 
                                
Posts: 55
Location: Savannah, GA
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Here's another useful site I just found:

http://www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/idit.htm
Virginia Tech's multiple choice plant identification page
this one is good for garden volunteers where you don't know whether you're looking at a baby tree or a baby shrub. It helped me identify Quercus minima or dwarf live oak where several other identification sites failed.

They also have a search by family and floristic region that can be useful:
http://www.dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/factsheets.cfm
 
                          
Posts: 24
Location: Zone 5a (Canada)
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Plants for a Future. Allows searching by use, hardiness, soil type, light etc...

http://www.pfaf.org/database/index.php
 
Brenda Groth
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Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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permaculture II
Cornucopia II
Designing and Maintaining yuour Edible Landscape Naturally

Tree Crops
Forest Gardening cultivating an edible landscape
How to Make a food forest
Gaia's Garden
 
                        
Posts: 57
Location: Northern Rockies
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These are great sources, thanks!  

The links are especially useful (and public domain, so it seems).  Thanks ceog and CBostic.  I need to drill down into these sites, which will take some time (as most good things do).

The books are absurdly priced (generally speaking), but I've been collecting them by and by -- a few of them, anyway.  Most that I've seen don't merit the price.  The best one is still Mollisen's design manual, IMHO, though others are interesting and useful as well (_Edible Forests_ for example). But, I appreciate the point, and thanks, Brenda.
 
                                
Posts: 20
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Both volumes of Edible forest gardens by Dave jacke and Eric Toensmeir  are indispensable pieces to understanding and practicing the permaculture philosophy, principles, and techniques. Volume one is mostly about the vision, theory, and philosophy of forest gardening, but the end of the volume includes an appendix of the "forest gardening's top 100 species" with nice descriptions. Volume two includes goes deeply into the design system of a forest garden from observation to implementation. Volume two also includes 150 pages of appendices that include comprehensive plant species matrices, species use by tables/functions, niche requirements of beneficial animals, plant hardiness, and more. I use both of these books all the time for design and enjoy reading them on my spare time. even though they are quite pricy, these two books should be purchased together and they are one of the best investments out there. most of the content in other books about forest gardening, companion planting, and what not are included in this bible.

its not about what you plant...its how you plant. you dont need to garden in the forest....garden like the forest

Elan
 
                        
Posts: 57
Location: Northern Rockies
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Thanks Oaktree!  Yes, both volumes are worth the money and worth the time reading, and the plant list is worth noting.

However, after reading these texts, I realized that they were focused on eastern woodland ecotypes that are significantly different than our xeric-to-mesic zone 4 to 5 ecotypes -- in soil, terrain, climate, etc. 

Also, being a forester and forestry consultant, I noticed a few misunderstandings about forest ecology.  These didn't condemn the general argument, but did raise my amusement level.

And, as far as growing gardens "like" a forest -- in our ecosystem, natural forests (not subject to fire suppression) are mostly constituted by fire-adapted, single canopy stands.  These disturbance-based ecosystems rarely resemble their climax communities, and often are constituted by one- or two-species stands with little undergrowth other than fescue grasses -- and literally _no_ vines.  So, in this region, we must adapt the paradigm to our own eco-physical realities.  Our edible forests will vary markedly from our natural forest structures if we're to be serious at all about production.  And, our plant lists will be different than those appropriate to other ecotypes.

However, I've been compiling and reading through a list of sources on the question of what and how much food do we need to grow  -- from the food pyramid paradigm (of the USDA, which tends to ignore several key questions but is reference perspective) to S. Fallon's _Nourishing Traditions_ and beyond.  I'll post this list as I find time. 

BTW,  all the books mentioned so far I've read, including Edible Forests and Gaia's Garden, and have appreciated them.  My favorite is still Mollison's _Designer Manual_, as it's very specific about the framework and principles.  But, these texts all offer valuable contributions.

Thanks for all insight!
 
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