Designing Native and Ecological Plant Communities

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Open to anyone
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Designing Native and Ecological Plant Communities

Join us as we translate the ecological principles of wild plant communities into planting design
tools that will help you create better planting. Functional and ecological plantings, such as rain
gardens and meadows, are increasing in popularity but simultaneously face severe challenges.
They often fail to wow the public, offer a low level of ecological function, and simply don’t
survive on low-budget maintenance. Examples of failed projects are plentiful and hurt the image
of the native plant movement. We won’t solve these issues if we continue to compare planting
design to painting on canvas and perceive plants as individual objects in space. It is time for a
new approach—a plant-community-based method that has evolved in the world of ecological
science. This interactive workshop will introduce you to the science behind stable and lasting
plant combinations. You will learn the skill of creating plant communities in four hands-on design exercises and practice this technique in a hypothetical planting project at the end of the workshop.
Philadelphia, PA
Distance Learning
Course Equivalency
Horticulture / Plants
Health, Safety and Welfare
Learning Outcomes
• Understand the scientific foundation of stable plant communities and learn how species fill
ecological and spatial niches in successful plantings.

• Learn how to translate the principles of wild plant communities into designed plantings.

• Learn to visualize complex planting schemes and prepare installation guides.
Claudia West, Principal, Phyto Studio, LLC
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Course Codes
Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania

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