Ahh, the Beauty of Mature Chaparral

Ahh, the Beauty of Mature Chaparral

My husband Tom, and I were amazed with the mature stands of chaparral on a hike we took last week – the Mishe Mokwa trail in the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area. I think the photos below illustrate how short-sighted the belief is that chaparral is meant to burn. Chaparral does just great when it’s left to do its thing. We estimate that the chaparral on this hike was at least 30 years old, possible older. [Read more...]

Wine Drinkers: Choose Corked Wine

Wine Drinkers: Choose Corked Wine

During the last year I’ve read about the importance of cork trees and recently read another article on the topic in Living Bird magazine, which expressed concern that wine bottlers were replacing cork stoppers with plastic or screw caps.

Main takeaway: The cork stopper in your wine bottle represents a rich history, vital income for generations of Europeans and a key to conserving European birds, plants and a number of endangered species. [Read more...]

Going Native: Even Small Amounts Bring Benefits

Going Native: Even Small Amounts Bring Benefits

Even small patches of natives bring pleasant surprises. (See below for Midwest resources and click here for a previous article about  favorite Midwest native plants)One of my best walks here in Redlands CA takes me by some mature sections of chaparral and sage scrub that some owners left on their adjoining properties. I love the number of birds, raptors and other critters that are drawn to the native habitat – here are some photos from my last two walks. [Read more...]

The Value of Old Growth Trees

The Value of Old Growth Trees

We’ve lived in Southern California now for 9 years and several years ago moved to Redlands, CA. This city has a long history dating back to the 1880s where it became the winter home for many wealthy Mid-westerners, similar to Pasadena. One thing that attracted us the most were Redland’s numerous old trees, many dating back 100 plus years. [Read more...]