Lessons Learned on our Waterwise Landscaping (and upcoming native plant sales)

Lessons Learned on our Waterwise Landscaping (and upcoming native plant sales)

Note: RSABG in Claremont CA has a free talk on Sat, Oct 1st from 1:30-3 on “How to Water Your Plants for Drought-Tolerant Establishment” with an abbreviated version on Oct 15 from 10-11am


After a baking hot summer in SoCA and no precipitation, we’ve revisited our previous planting and watering schedule. We’re still happy we went with mostly California native plants, but it’s always good to keep learning – therefore the following ‘Lessons Learned’.

Native Plants Need Some Water

Spurred on by an excellent publication “Watering Native Plants”  by Tree of Life Nursery, we’ve learned the following about this challenging area of growing natives. [Read more…]

Low-water Plants for Summer Heat

Low-water Plants for Summer Heat

As for many in California, the numerous days of 100+ degree heat has been tough on our vegetable garden, roses, fruit trees and well, pretty much everything (including ourselves….)

But we continue to have some plants – mostly California natives or their hybrids – that look good despite little to no water. Being natives, they also provide the best habitat for our local insects, birds and butterflies.

The following should be planted in fall through early winter, [Read more…]

Attracting Pollinators and Butterflies to our Yards

Attracting Pollinators and Butterflies to our Yards

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…]

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…]