When Wildlife Moves On

Florida Softshell Turtle

I’m a bit sad. Well, not yet, but I will be soon.  I caught Thomasina, *my* Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox) trying to make a break for it. Generally quite shy, it is the first time I got to photograph her out of the water.  She was slinking her way through a grassy path in […]

Just in Time for National Moth Week

Just look at those BIG green eyes

The third annual National Moth Week is winding down.  This year it started last Saturday July 19 and runs through this coming Sunday, July 27, 2014.  The inaugural celebration was back in 2012 and I highlighted some of my favorite moths at the time in my weekly article. Moths serve as food for reptiles, birds […]

The Wildlife Nursery

DSCN9617

  Gardening often provides the closest encounters we ever have with wild creatures.  It is a solace and a distraction in bad times, and a shared joy in good ones.  ~Ursula Buchan     When you establish a wildlife garden, you need to be aware that at some point in the spring, summer or fall you will […]

Smooth Sumac

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  Just a couple weeks ago, some of the bushes along my woodland edges were abuzz with pollinator activity. The flowers of Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra, were the magnet.   Butterflies, including this Red-banded Hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops, were part of the crowd.   Honey Bees, gathering nectar, to help some bee keeper with his honey supply were also attracted. […]

What Native Plants Will Stay Green In Summer Drought?

Coyote Brush, (Baccharis pilularis consanguinea) with Butterflies, Photo courtesy of Las Pilitas Nursery

In Southern California, we have a problem: There’s no green stuff in the summertime.  Many of our native perennial plants die back and leave you with a garden that is, well, lacking for the color green.  Most of us have this ńeed to see green in the garden, so much so that we would go […]

Vital Velvet Mesquite II

Desert gray fox_Urocyon_cinereoargenteus_by R. Shantz

  In this summer month when the mesquite pods begin to ripen, I have been discussing mesquite in a number of my blogs (see list at the end of this article). The naturally sweet seed pods of the native velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina) are a valuable source of food for numerous desert dwellers. Two-legged desert […]

Native Fireworks

Monarda didyma, beebalm

As we celebrate the American Independence Day holiday, several native flowers appear to be celebrating with us. These summer bloomers are bursting out with tempting floral sprays that beckon insects to them. Here they are in all the colors of our traditional fireworks: red, white, blue … and yellow/gold. All blooming now! The happy splay […]

Watering Your Native Plant Garden

Ceanothus Celestial Blue, Drought Tolerant CA Native June Blooming, Photo credit: laspilitasnursery.com

One cannot love gardening with native plants if they up and die on you. There is nothing worse than bringing home a plant from the nursery, planting it and having it die — except perhaps having no idea what you did wrong.  Most gardeners have passed the point of killing their new plants, having had […]

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