What’s blooming (and feeding wildlife) in our native plant yard

What’s blooming (and feeding wildlife) in our native plant yard

We have an early spring this February with our warm Southern California weather. I’ve been keeping track of what our resident hummingbird – the Anna’s Hummingbird – is taking nectar from in our reconverted lawn, now mostly California natives. The insect life is also rich – which in turn attracts the hummingbirds and other winged life. Seems photos will speak best, so here are a few from the last couple months. [Read more...]

Supporting Local Organic Farmers

Supporting Local Organic Farmers

Another great talk — by Abby Harned from Three Sisters Farm in Redlands CA —  at our Redlands horticulture meeting last night. (One advantage of being program chair is you get to invite wonderful speakers.) We learned first-hand how an organic farm is set up, and how they attract natural predators –insect and mammals that include coyotes and weasels —  to take care of pests. They also plant rows of native plants and pollinator-attracting plants that provide habitat for beneficial insects. It was obvious that Abby and her husband, Jason, really love what they do. [Read more...]

Great Hikes: Oak Glen Preserve for Fall Colors

Great Hikes: Oak Glen Preserve for Fall Colors

Fall in Southern California falls a little short for this Midwestern transplant. So a recent trip to The Wildlands Conservancy’s Oak Glen Preserve in Oak Glen CA, with its changing foliage of California box elders, sycamores and Kellogg oaks, made for one happy day. The fresh apple pie from Riley’s apple farm next door [Read more...]

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...]

Great hikes: Head to the Crafton Hills

Great hikes: Head to the Crafton Hills

I’m always on the lookout for hikes that feature our area’s rich California native habitat and wildlife — and Crafton Hill’s Grape Street Trail in Yucaipa provides plenty of that. It’s an intermediate trail that takes you up a not-too-steep hill to nice views [Read more...]

Sustainable landscaping: Some tips…

Sustainable landscaping: Some tips…

Wondering how you can do your landscaping and yard work in a more gentle-on-the-earth and sustainable way? Janet Hartin, horticulture advisor and author with the U of California, has given over 1000 talks on sustainable landscape topics, and our local horticulture group was one of them last month.

Below are some of takeaways from her talk [Read more...]