My last column “Progress and Challenges in Redlands’ Natural World” was published in our local paper today. Toni Momberger, its progressive editor, has left and consequently so have her columnists until the new editor establishes his/her writers. My column’s messages apply to more than the inland area of Southern California where I live. I’ve also had some follow-up questions and additional information to share. [Read more…]
One week from now (Sat/Sun, April 16-17) our yard is one of six featured ones on the Redlands Garden Tour and Plant Sale. As some know from my articles, in 2008 we replaced most of our lawn in front with drought tolerant — mostly California native –plants. Now it’s a mature example of how lush native plant landscaping can be.
Other features of our yard: [Read more…]
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…]
Here in Southern California in January, despite some temps dipping into the 20s, I’m still seeing monarch butterflies in our yard, helped by some of our milkweed that manages to stay alive. I posted an article in October about how our tropical milkweed finally attracted monarch caterpillars. I’m happy to report it continues to birth dozens of caterpillars and even some adults.
Here are some photos from our yard, plus a few butterfly photos from a recent trip to Baja Mexico, along with a few things we’ve learned. [Read more…]
This is a follow-up to my post on Attracting Butterflies and Pollinators to our Yards – more takeaways from San Diego area speakers Moe Magoski and Michael Klein, plus photos of pollinators, important butterfly plants we might consider weeds, and some resources. [Read more…]
Who doesn’t want more butterflies in their yards? You need nectar plants of course. But if you want to watch all the butterfly stages — which means your plant’s leaves will get eaten by the growing caterpillars — you need to include specific host plants, such as milkweed for monarchs, or thistle or mallow for Painted Ladies.
But you also need to watch your use of pesticides. Oh, and keep some weeds around.
These were among the important takeaways of the forum “Where have all the Butterflies and Bees Gone? How to Protect our Butterflies and Pollinators,” [Read more…]
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.
One week ago, after a short trip away, I was watering and noticed a huge caterpillar (see right) and then saw more. Yea – finally!