Native Plants Do Help Habitat for Wildlife

Native Plants Do Help Habitat for Wildlife

A friend forwarded an article “Are We Really Helping” by plant ecologist Susan Tweit that questions how much the planting of native plants aids wildlife.  The answer is yes, it does. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, while keeping some mature (50 + years) California natives such as Sugar Bush (Rhus ovata) and California Sycamores (Platanus racemosa) on our property, we’ve converted a former lawn in our front yard to mostly native plants. We’ve also taken out dead or half-dead oleanders in our backyard and plugged in local California native plants such as sages (salvias), toyons and elderberries.  The result has been more wildlife, evidenced by butterflies, small native insects, bees and wasps that visit our plants (and our pool where I fish them out), and larger critters photographed in our wildlife camera. Photos below. [Read more…]

The environmental costs of population growth

The environmental costs of population growth

Colleagues of mine, Marilyn Hempel, editor of the Population Press, and Monty Hempel, Chair of Environmental Studies at the University of Redlands, have just released two important items. The first is a film The Eighth Billion about the environmental costs of human population growth. It’s short – only 9 minutes – and contains gorgeous footage of landscapes and seascapes that are being irreversibly impacted by population growth. It illustrates sobering but important facts, such as how our population is adding 219,000 people every day – a billion people every 12-13 yeas. [Read more…]

More examples of drought tolerant landscapes

More examples of drought tolerant landscapes

These photos supplement an article I wrote – just published in the Redlands Daily Facts on drought tolerant landscaping here in Southern California (click here for article). In a previous post I provided four examples, including our own, and Molly Bogh’s home in Highland CA. Bogh has published an excellent book about her process, Life After Lawns: 8 steps from Grass to a Waterwise Garden, available at amazon.com.  Here are additional examples of local (inland So. CA yards)

[Read more…]

Nature Abounds on Grand Canyon River Trip

Nature Abounds on Grand Canyon River Trip

My family and I just got done with a whopping 22 days on the Colorado River – floating, running rapids, hiking, unloading and loading boats, and eating great meals in the Grand Canyon. The private permit I applied for in the mid-90s finally came up. Along with endless stunning views along the way, bats, birds, other animals and insects, and plant life were doing great, especially after plentiful monsoon rains. Here is a gallery of photos – click on the photo for the full view. [Read more…]

California Native Plants: Now’s the time to plan and buy

California Native Plants: Now’s the time to plan and buy

Fall is the perfect time to be exploring and planning the purchases of California native choices, with lots of plant sales. So I checked in with some friends who over the last couple years have planted California natives – to get feedback on what’s done well for them. [Read more…]

Why Native Plants?  Attracting birds is another important reason

Why Native Plants? Attracting birds is another important reason

I’ve written a number of articles on how native plants usher in wildlife.  I read an interesting article, “Grow Native Plants” in The Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Spring 2014 Living Bird Magazine, which gives a simple recipe for attracting warblers, the well-loved but evasive group of songbirds. Plant native plants. [Read more…]

Taking Care of Our Native Oaks during Drought

Taking Care of Our Native Oaks during Drought

I’ve had a number of queries regarding the proper watering of native California oaks during this drought. I wrote an article on Oak Tree Care in 2012, and most is current, but I wanted to re-tap some experts for tips during this drought. So along with a quick review and some good and bad pruning examples, here you go. [Read more…]