Inland Empire Residents! Free Grass Removal Workshop this Saturday

Inland Empire Residents! Free Grass Removal Workshop this Saturday

Wondering how to remove your grass and improve your irrigation system?Sod removal

Three Inland Empire agencies are offering a free workshop, Increasing Your Residential Water Conservation: Sod Removal and Irrigation Efficiency Tips and Tricks,
this Saturday, December 5th at Cal State San Bernardino’s Water Wise Demonstration Garden, at 5500 University Parkway, Parking Lot G in San Bernardino.

The event is FREE but registration is required [Read more…]

Milkweed and Monarchs – Finally!

Milkweed and Monarchs – Finally!

Note: See comments below for discussion on native vs tropical milkweeds

We planted a couple milkweed (Asclepius curassavica or tropical) plants three years ago. But – no monarchs or caterpillars. The last six months the milkweed thrived and climbed seven feet up into our magnolia tree, and also spread via seed. Now we have a couple dozen plants out front.

I counted 8, only to check the next day and they were all gone. After all, they look like they were in their 5th instar.

After seeing this guy, I counted 8, only to check the next day and there were none After all, they look like they were in their 5th instar.

One week ago, after a short trip away, I was watering and noticed a huge caterpillar (see right) and then saw more. Yea – finally!

[Read more…]

Favorite Native Plants For Summer Heat

Favorite Native Plants For Summer Heat

Like most California residents, we’ve been watering less, despite the heat and drier soil from little rainfall this year. Here’s a list of what looks best in our Southern California yard this summer. Many of the following are California natives or their hybrids, and since most nurseries don’t carry them, I’ll include where you can purchase them in Southern California. [Read more…]

Drought-busting: Why to Plant Natives?

Drought-busting: Why to Plant Natives?

The drought here in California — we’ve received less than 8 inches of rain here in Redlands —  is encouraging much discussion on how to reduce water usage. I’ve written a lot about our use of California natives in our landscaping so I want to reference some of my popular articles on why they’re a great solution.

First, a quick review of why to choose natives (which applies wherever you live): [Read more…]

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…]

California Native Plants: Favorites of Two Residents

California Native Plants: Favorites of Two Residents

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…]