Channel Islands: Old California

Channel Islands: Old California

It seemed a no-brainer to grab an opportunity to explore two of the Channel Islands with ecologist-extraordinare Kurt Leuschner, a professor at College of the Desert in Palm Desert. Anacapa Island, the barren rookery for hundreds of Western Gulls, and Santa Cruz, the lushest and largest, offered two ends of the Channel Islands’ ecological spectrum. If you haven’t visited them – do go.

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Local Wildlife Rehabilitators and Common Problems

Local Wildlife Rehabilitators and Common Problems

Raptor rehabber Kandie Cansler of Bear Paw Ranch Wildlife Rehab, who helped rehabilitate an injured red-shouldered hawk we found, provided the following list of common questions, and local resources. In our Southern California area called the Inland Empire, Cansler said animals should be kept in the local region, but because resources and rehabilitators are extremely limited, Project Wildlife based in San Diego County sometimes helps with the spring overload. [Read more…]

Springtime – critters, injured birds and even snakes

Springtime – critters, injured birds and even snakes

It’s Springtime – not only for our plants and trees, but for the animal lives around us. And that means more animal sightings, injured animals and even snake encounters. In addition to the information below, please see my article on the most commonly asked questions on wildlife rescues plus rescue resources for Southern California. [Read more…]

Habitat Gardening (Part 2): Butterflies, Moths, Flies and Favorite Plants

Habitat Gardening (Part 2): Butterflies, Moths, Flies and Favorite Plants

My last article on habitat gardening introduced some basics and exciting things I learned about beneficial insects in gardens. This was after  attending an all-day Habitat Gardening workshop given by Frederique Lavoipierre, Director of Education at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. This column delves into bees, butterflies, and the importance of our moths, wasps and flies, plus tips and favorite plants for attracting beneficial insects. [Read more…]

Habitat Gardening: Resources

Habitat Gardening: Resources

These are resources recommended by Frederique Lavoipierre, Director of Education at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to accompany my two Habitat Gardening articles – Part 1 (Beneficial Insects) and Part 2 (Butterflies, Bees, Flies and Favorite Plants) [Read more…]

Habitat Gardening (Part 1) – Insects are Good!

Habitat Gardening (Part 1) – Insects are Good!

I recently attended an all-day workshop on Habitat Gardening that covered our birds and butterflies and pollinators. It also focused on how to welcome beneficial insects to combat pests, therefore avoiding the use of pesticides.

Led by Frederique Lavoipierre, Director of Education at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, I came away with a deeper appreciation of our little garden guests.  I’ll address beneficial insects in general in this column, and deal with butterflies and bees and the best plants to have next week. [Read more…]

Pruning Native Plants: Tips We’ve Found Useful

Pruning Native Plants: Tips We’ve Found Useful

Our California native plants are hanging in for the winter — undoubtedly hoping for some real winter rains. In the meantime, for many it’s the time of year to do some pruning. There are exceptions (see below) but pruning in the winter months before new growth starts is often recommended. Here are some takeaways that we’ve employed – mostly from the book Care and Maintenance of Southern California Native Plant Gardens, by Bart O’Brien, et al,  along with some tips we’ve learned the hard way. [Read more…]