Butterflies: Plants to attract them, and concerns

Butterflies: Plants to attract them, and concerns

It’s nearing October and I’m still seeing some butterflies around – a few Western Tiger Swallowtails although they’re much fewer, some Cabbage Whites and a variety of those little orange ones that I’ve given up identifying. I checked in with a couple butterfly aficionados on what plants were ushering in the butterflies during the late summer months. [Read more...]

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...]

Native Bees and Other Wildlife Find Our Home

Native Bees and Other Wildlife Find Our Home

What a joy this spring to walk around our yard here in Southern California – a former lawn now full of native and other wildlife-attracting plants. The native bees have arrived in higher numbers, challenging the busy honeybees on our blooming ceanothus and lavender. Our resident Anna’s hummingbird seemed to survive the cold spell this winter and is perching on his usual tree branch  [Read more...]

Go Organic — and plant milkweed — to Save Monarchs

Go Organic — and plant milkweed — to Save Monarchs

An article on page three of today’s Los Angeles Times talked about declining monarch butterfly numbers in Mexico where it winters. But here is an important takeaway that was buried a bit in the article: the use of  genetically modified crops (GMOs)  in the midwest where the monarch breeds contains Roundup (glyphosphate) that is killing the monarch’s vial food source — the milkweed plant . [Read more...]

Our Vital Pollinators: Birds, Bats, Bees and Butterflies

Our Vital Pollinators: Birds, Bats, Bees and Butterflies

Pollinators – birds, bats, bees and butterflies – are critical. They pollinate over 200,000 of the world’s flowering plants, including 80% of our food plants.  The genetic material they transfer allows seeds to form, which continue the species.

Kurt Leushner, a popular professor at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, highlighted our local pollinators at a recent horticulture meeting.

Below are some of his highlights [Read more...]

Attracting Butterflies to Your Yard

Attracting Butterflies to Your Yard

I attended a local Audubon talk by Monika Moore on the experiences with her butterfly garden. In 2002 she started transforming the hardscape in her Fullerton, CA backyard into a butterfly haven, particularly  for Monarchs. I think photos tell the story better than words so will begin [Read more...]

Butterflies (So CA focus) and How to Attract Them

Butterflies (So CA focus) and How to Attract Them

It’s a rare person who doesn’t get excited when a butterfly flits by. Lately we’ve had a lot of Western Tiger Swallowtails flying around our property, which makes sense because we have the host plant  – sycamore — that it needs to lay its eggs and for its caterpillar stage. Plus we have plenty of buckwheat and yarrow all summer long that provide nectar for local butterflies.

Today I attended a talk “Butterflies of the Los Angeles Basin[Read more...]