Go Organic to Help the Bees

Go Organic to Help the Bees

One could say I’m on a bee kick. A number of my articles mention bees and despite being allergic to them – the last time I got stung I ended up in the ER, where I left with an epinephrine prescription for constant carry – they fascinate me.  Our native plants attract them, the hive under our neighbor’s roof (see photo) houses them, and now a new hive has begun in our palm tree down below. I’m in bee heaven. Then there’s the half dozen I save out of the pool everyday.  [Read more…]

Favorite Plants for Attracting Birds/Butterflies (Midwest/East)

Favorite Plants for Attracting Birds/Butterflies (Midwest/East)

In a follow-up to my post (Landscaped Yard Ushers in Butterflies and Birds) about the Damons’ yard in St. Paul MN, I asked Susan for her favorite plants. Most are natives, a couple non-natives. Here is her reply (thanks Susan!) and more photos. [Read more…]

Pesticide Use: Consider the Collateral Damage

Pesticide Use: Consider the Collateral Damage

Asian Citrus Psyllid

A couple things have prompted this post. First, we have a potentially devastating disease hitting citrus trees in SoCal with the arrival of an insect Asian Citrus Psyllid. To combat it, a pesticide spray composed of two common insecticides is being applied to local trees. Second, I read a Sierra magazine article called Parkinson’s Alley, on the high rate of Parkinson’s disease in a Central California town surrounded by high agricultural pesticide use. [Read more…]

Critters in Lawns versus Native Landscapes

Critters in Lawns versus Native Landscapes

As I mentioned in my blog on replacing our lawn with native and drought-tolerant plants our landscaping now offers a home for a variety of butterflies, birds, lizards and insects.

What took over our dead lawn soon within weeks after planting?

  • An Anna’s hummingbird claimed the new landscape soon after we planted
  • One pair of California towhees immediately started working the ground, mining the pillbugs that have multiplied under the mulch (as well as attacking the mirrors on our vehicles parked nearby, the male I assume…)
  •  Others include numerous ladybugs that eat the aphids, an assortment of butterflies, and yes, plenty of bees.  [Read more…]
To Kill or Not to Kill Spiders….and Do Spiders Bite?

To Kill or Not to Kill Spiders….and Do Spiders Bite?

I read an article in a small newspaper (Coast News  in Encinitas) about spiders and wrote the author thanking her. It quoted her children’s favorite book, Charlotte’s Web, which happens to be my favorite childhood book, and left me a permanent fondness for spiders and pigs.  None in the author’s family would kill spiders and they were in mourning over the death of a big spider that lived on their front porch.

We too do not kill spiders, none outside our house, and inside we transport any outside (my husband’s exception is black widow spiders).  One of our grown sons confided in me that he, too, cannot kill spiders – you never know in what ways you affect your children. [Read more…]