Great Hikes: Two Special San Bernardino National Forest Hikes

Great Hikes: Two Special San Bernardino National Forest Hikes

This is one of a dozen favorite hikes in the Inland Empire. Search ‘hikes’ for my others.

To escape our inferno heat in the Inland Empire (inland east of Los Angeles), I like to run to the forest.

Here are highlights from two favorite San Bernardino National Forest hikes — John’s Meadow and the bottom portion of the Vivian Creek Trail — both reward you with beautiful views, running water and a great sampling of the rich ecosystems our So California forest provide.  In spring and early summer this includes numerous butterflies and wildflowers. [Read more…]

My, What Rains Bring to the Desert in Spring – Anza Borrego

My, What Rains Bring to the Desert in Spring – Anza Borrego

We’ve had 17 inches of rain in our inland Southern California city this rainy season. That’s a lot for us. Our nearby deserts have received about half that. Along with pleasant temps, this translates into stunning wildflower and cactus flower displays which began in February.

For locals, it’s not too late to go. We drove to Anza-Borrego State Park yesterday. We stopped at several points, walked 50-100 feet from our car, and…. amazing! See below for photos – when I know what it is I identify it…. [Read more…]

Pruning 101: Correct Palm Pruning

Pruning 101: Correct Palm Pruning

There are major problems in the land of pruning, according to arborists certified by the internationally recognized organization, the International Society of Aboriculture (ISA).

Many tree pruners remove excessive live parts only to be doing paid work, says San Bernardino certified arborist Paul Chaney.  “This is unethical, and it damages the tree — the customer’s property.  Many large, mature, and valuable trees are being severely damaged [in Southern California] because of ignorant and unethical tree cutters,” Chaney says.

Severely overpruned Washington fan palms – aka ‘rooster-tailing’ Notice the trunk narrowing.

In this article, we will address palm pruning [Read more…]

Salton Sea Tour highlights… burrowing owls, sandhill cranes, shorebirds aplenty

Salton Sea Tour highlights… burrowing owls, sandhill cranes, shorebirds aplenty

Last weekend my husband and I did a Salton Sea tour through the Living Desert Museum in Palm Desert, led by College of the Desert professor Kurt Leuschner. For those who don’t know Kurt, he is a birding, wildlife and ecologist extraordinaire. We saw so many birds, and learned so much –including debunked myths about this amazing place.

Below are some photos and takeaways.  [Read more…]

Favorite Plants: California Native Trees and Shrubs

Favorite Plants: California Native Trees and Shrubs

If you’re in the market for a tree or shrub, consider California natives —  for a number of reasons.

While we’ve received nearly two inches of rain this fall, Southern California is still in an extreme drought. California native trees are drought tolerant and have the best chance of success once they get established. They attract native beneficial insects and birds. Plus, there’s a surprising variety to choose from.

I contacted local experts from the California Native Plant Society for their favorites. I also tapped Abby and Jason Harned, [Read more…]

Tree Care During Drought: Highlights from Forum

Tree Care During Drought: Highlights from Forum

Water your trees and don’t overprune them.

Those were two primary takeaways from ‘Tree Care During Drought Forum’ held on Nov 12 in Redlands CAThe forum featured Dave Roger, a consultant urban forester who has worked with several Southern California cities. This includes Claremont CA which this year won a significant award for its program to save drought-stricken trees. The event was sponsored by the Inland Empire Resource Conservation District and the Redlands Sustainability Network.
[Read more…]

How to Plant and Water Native Plants

How to Plant and Water Native Plants

I recently attended a “How to Water and Plant Native Plants” seminar at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. (There’s another one Dec 17 from 10-11am).  Andrew Chambers, who works with RSABG’s Nursery and Conservation programs, shared what he’s learned from experience and discussions with other native plant experts. He also demonstrated RSABG’s recommended planting technique (see photo gallery below).

You will find native plant nursery websites and experts have instructions that vary some, but here are recommendations (I’ve bolded what I think are most important) and why they’re important. [Read more…]