Bugs! and Other Photos from Our Yard

Bugs! and Other Photos from Our Yard

Our yard is alive with wildlife this spring, so thought I would post some photos of the critters and a few native plants they’re especially attracted to. The insects attract a host of larger insects and in the chain of life, they in turn attract a rich bird and lizard population that feeds on them all. The last photo I took was of a Cooper’s hawk hoping to feed on one of those birds. [Read more…]

Low-water Yard Attracts People and Wildlife

Low-water Yard Attracts People and Wildlife

One thing Redlands resident Brenda Wolfe definitely didn’t expect after she converted her former landscape, primarily composed of a not-so-healthy lawn and an oleander hedge, to a low-water one. “I’ve learned I need to close the blinds in the bathroom. I’m not used to having people standing out front.  [Read more…]

Favorite Natives: Buckwheat for Bees & Butterflies

Favorite Natives: Buckwheat for Bees & Butterflies

Wherever you live, if you want to attract bees to pollinate your garden or you want to add more butterfly plants to your yard, you can’t find a better plant than buckwheat — or the many varieties available today. I just returned from a favorite walk, which winds through a neighborhood of large lots, most edged with large stands of native plants. The bees were busy [Read more…]

GMO Food Concerns: Research to Ponder

GMO Food Concerns: Research to Ponder

It’s taken me awhile to write this one because it’s such a complex issue — and I wanted to better understand it. I still have questions but what I’ve found so far is concerning. And too many people are not talking about it. It’s the rising use of pesticide/herbicide use — and resulting problems — as more genetically modified (GM) are developed and used in agriculture.

The good news is here in California where I live, we will have the opportunity in November to vote on a Right to Know initiative regarding genetically engineered foods.   [Read more…]

School’s Native Plants Attract Higher Test Scores

School’s Native Plants Attract Higher Test Scores

I was out of town last week, but my husband forwarded me a Los Angeles Times article called Just Attracting, Naturally.  The front page article featured an urban LA school’s native landscaping that ended up “attracting insects, which attracted birds, which attracted students, who, fascinated by the nature unfolding before them, learned so much that their test scores in science rose sixfold” according to the article.

[Read more…]

Big Bugs!

Big Bugs!

On the way to Pasadena to see family we stopped by a favorite place of ours – Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont CA- and they had this great exhibit of larger-than-life wood sculpture insects, David Rogers’ Big Bugs, which has been traveling since its 1994 debut in Dallas. It was so nice to see how popular it was with kids. As the exhibition guide says, it gives you a chance to imagine a world where insects (which outnumber us humans millions to one) gain a size advantage. [Read more…]

Pesticides Negatively Affect Human Health

Pesticides Negatively Affect Human Health

You’ve likely seen the headlines the last few days. In our local paper, the Los Angeles Times’ “Pesticides suspected in mass die-off of bees discussed mounting evidence that pesticides negatively impact bees. I’ve written two prior posts on the collateral damage of pesticides on wildlife – this one addresses human health effects. I think my aversion to pesticides started when my father would get out the can of Raid and spray it on the wasps attracted to our plates of food when we ate outside on hot summer days in Chicago. That led to many a battle between us. If he was still alive, I’m sure we would have a lively discussion on the mounting evidence. [Read more…]