Native Plant Landscaping at Lathrop

by Barbara Walvoord

Originally published in Lathrop Lamp Post Aug. 26-Sept. 1, 2017

Soon, plants will be removed from a small area near the Inn, adjacent to Disabled Parking.  Then, on September 18, native plants will be installed.  At 10:30 a.m., residents of both campuses are invited to that area for refreshments, a short ceremony, and an explanation by our landscape designer, Owen Wormser.  Residents may dig in some native plant plugs. Professional staff will do the rest.

The East Campus Residents’ Association, the Land Conservation Committee, and Lathrop are contributing to the project.

Only the two red pines, native to our area, will stay.  It will be painful to see healthy shrubs removed, but the new native plants will much better support our  birds and butterflies, whose populations are in Continue reading Native Plant Landscaping at Lathrop

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Lathrop’s Deer: A Complex Society

by Barbara Walvoord

First published in Lathrop Lamp Post August 17, 2017

This fawn, recently photographed by resident Doris Atkinson on the east campus, is moving about with its mother, still nursing, but learning, among other things, the communication skills it will need as an adult.

Communication began at birth in May.  A loud bleat meant “Mom, where are you?” and a soft nursing murmur meant, “Mmm, this is good.”  By lying perfectly still, and having almost no body odor, our spotted fawn communicated to our coyotes and bobcats, “Fawn? What fawn?  There’s nobody here–just dappled shade.”

But now that our fawn is up and about, it must learn to communicate within a complex social unit consisting of related females, their fawns and yearlings, and adult males, all of which have contiguous or Continue reading Lathrop’s Deer: A Complex Society

A Banquet of Goldenrod at Lathrop

by Barbara Walvoord

Originally publish in Lathrop Lamp Post August 10, 2017

We have banquets for humans at Lathrop–the 4th of July picnic, the lobster feast, the Thanksgiving day meal.  But we also have banquets for our non-human residents.  Right now, goldenrod is on the menu.  The most numerous native wild flower in Lathrop east campus meadows, goldenrod is turning our land into a rich yellow banquet for our wild residents.

ACHOO! you may be saying.  However, goldenrod is not the culprit; instead, it’s ragweed, which blooms at the same time. Resident Alice Richardson, a landscape architect who knows a TON about native plants, explained the general rule to me in an e-mail: “As a general rule, most pollen allergens are produced by visually insignificant flowers which are typically wind pollinated – e.g. some trees, most grasses, ragweed.  Showy flowers have evolved to attract pollinators Continue reading A Banquet of Goldenrod at Lathrop