Our Welcome (and not welcome) Nature Guests

Our Welcome (and not welcome) Nature Guests

Our housesitter called when we were away to say that we hadn’t told her about our unexpected friend. At dusk she had walked out onto the back patio and discovered a 5-foot gopher snake slithering along the house. Knowing our respect for critters, she successfully whisked it away with a broom. We hope it stays around. After all, gopher snakes eat lots of rats and other rodents, which also seem to like our yard. [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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

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…]

Seek Local Native Plants for Cold (and Hot) Tolerance

Seek Local Native Plants for Cold (and Hot) Tolerance

“One of the advantages of growing local native plants is that the plants from your immediate vicinity are well adapted to our climate’s yearly fluctuations and can take those rare days with winter low temperatures and high temperatures in the sumners” – Bart O’Brien, RSABG

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our agave ‘Blue Flame’, coffee berry, Mexican feather grass and manzanita did well in recent cold snap

Here in California we’ve had some unusally cold weather this January [Read more…]