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…]

Weed barrier – don’t use!

Weed barrier – don’t use!

It’s great that many people are replacing grass with low-water landscaping, especially in the Southwest where lawns don’t make sense. One concern (along with trees not getting adequate water) that I’ve noticed is the widespread use of weed barrier cloth. Our Redlands CA fire stations have even used it in their waterwise demonstration projects.

While it might help with weeds initially, weed barrier cloth not necessary and is even harmful. [Read more…]

A Potpourri Post: Lizard Update, Beetles and Frustrating Grasses

A Potpourri Post: Lizard Update, Beetles and Frustrating Grasses

With summer in full force in our yard, there’s a variety of subjects on my mind, including missing lizards, mating beetles and even something for plant lovers – so I thought I would provide an update on previous subjects I’ve written about. [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…]

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.

[Read more…]

What I’ve learned about GMOs

What I’ve learned about GMOs

I did a presentation on GMOs  for our local AAUW discussion group and thought ‘why waste all that reading’ – so here’s a quick overview of what I learned. I read the following books: Mendel in the Kitchen by geneticist Nina Federoff, which was ranked more anti-GMO in this helpful article by Nathanael Johnson on grist.org, and Food Inc. (2003) by journalist Peter Pringle, which was more pro-GMO. I also read [Read more…]