Using low water native grasses for your lawn

Using low water native grasses for your lawn

Blue grama and buffalo grass make a nice combo

Blue grama and buffalo grass make a nice combo

With our drought here in Southern California there is more talk of removing lawns and planting drought tolerant alternatives. We’ve done both – we took out most of our lawn and replaced it with mostly California native plants. (I’ve written a lot about our process - here’s one)

But we’ve also replaced a small remaining section of Kentucky blue grass with a lower water alternative – blue grama and buffalograss. It goes dormant in the winter but it takes one-half the water, we rarely mow it, and it looks great. Here are some photos and more info.

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Pollinator killing plants: questions to ask nurseries

Pollinator killing plants: questions to ask nurseries

I’ve been besieged with a lot of email petitions recently about  a pesticide called neonicotinoids (neonics for short), found in some plants sold by nurseries, which has been shown to kill bees, butterflies and other pollinators – so the word is definitely out. When pollinators visit the flowers or caterpillars eat the leaves of the pre-treated plant, they die. There’s a concern to humans too, as herbs also are being sprayed (see example below).  So what can we do? I received info from the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides (NCAP) in Seattle WA, regarding questions people should ask their nurseries.

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Those special moments in nature: some photos

Those special moments in nature: some photos

I haven’t been able to finish some articles I’ve started (sometimes work gets in the way …) but I’ve been blessed with wonderful moments in nature the last several months – so here they are along with short explanations. [Read more...]

Now’s the time to see butterflies – and what’s better than a ‘puddle party’

Now’s the time to see butterflies – and what’s better than a ‘puddle party’

I was up camping in the San Bernardino Mountains this weekend and one joy was coming across a muddling area, next to the stream my friend Christine and I were camping near. It was lush with butterflies — also called a puddle party. For those who don’t know, a muddle is a mud puddle, or in this case it looked more like a couple circular areas of moist, fine gravel that were several feet across. I sat for about 45 minutes and enjoyed the parade of butterflies as they gathered nutrients the muddle provided, and buzzed each other. Butterflies weren’t the only ones. Various insects and bees alighted too, and the butterflies occasionally harassed a train of harvester ants, making them pick up their pace. (See photos below)

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Great Hikes: San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary

Great Hikes: San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary

If you’re looking for a trail with relatively flat terrain for walking, horseback-riding, or cycling, which offers a high chance of seeing wildlife along its creek or emerging from the hills, San Timoteo Nature Sanctuary might be your place. This undiscovered place in Redlands CA also offers a lot of solitude. [Read more...]

Favorite California Natives: Flannel Bush (Fremontia)

Favorite California Natives: Flannel Bush (Fremontia)

Flannel bush (Fremontodendron) or fremontia is another favorite California native plant. And with its distaste for summer water once it’s established, fremontia is a perfect solution for the drought times we seem to be going through here in the Southwest. Here is more info about this beautiful native. [Read more...]

Oak Glen Preserve in Spring

Oak Glen Preserve in Spring

On Sunday we went to one of our favorite spots, Oak Glen Preserve, up in Oak Glen CA, which I wrote up here last fall.

It’s wonderful in fall, and equally wonderful in spring — or any season you visit. Some photos are below. The ceanothus was alive with native bees, the acorn woodpeckers that were so busy gathering acorns last fall seemed to be bickering over nesting territory [Read more...]