Flowers in Bloom as Summer Wanes

Spring in southern California is the biggest and showiest blooming season for native plants. Poppies, verbenas, and penstemons are strutting their stuff after a cool, rainy winter. But by late summer, the plants are pulling back, waiting out the long dry season and protecting themselves from the 90 degree days. How do our pollinators, birds,Continue reading “Flowers in Bloom as Summer Wanes”

A Chemical-Free Garden for Monarchs

Is it possible to have a beautiful garden without using pesticides and herbicides? In my experience, it has been easy to have a healthy garden that doesn’t require chemical pest control. Reducing our reliance on chemicals protects butterflies, and invites wildlife to step in and manage the unwanted insect population. Birds feed their offspring mostlyContinue reading “A Chemical-Free Garden for Monarchs”

Simple Support for Western Monarchs

Every winter, volunteers travel to western monarch overwintering sites to count butterflies roosting in trees near the coast. Last winter, fewer than 2,000 monarch butterflies were found overwintering along the California coast. Compared to 1997, when it was estimated that more than 1 million monarch butterflies overwintered, the numbers from the 2021 count were historicallyContinue reading “Simple Support for Western Monarchs”

Summer Buckwheat Blooms Bright

It is July, the height of summer in Southern California, and buckwheats are blooming with thousands of showy white flowers. I took a walk this morning at my favorite local park, O’Neill Regional Park in Trabuco Canyon. Many of the spring-blooming plants are hunkering down in the 90-degree heat, but California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) isContinue reading “Summer Buckwheat Blooms Bright”

Buckwheats Around Town

A Buckwheat in Every Garden was created with the hope that sharing a free native plant with gardeners would help improve habitat for birds and pollinators in home landscapes throughout Orange County. We recently reached out to people who picked up a free buckwheat to see how their new buckwheat plant is growing. Here’s aContinue reading “Buckwheats Around Town”

Powered by Insects

Did you know that most birds gather insects every day to nourish themselves and feed their offspring? Many people believe birds can survive eating seed from bird feeders, but most birds need insects to provide digestible protein for energy, migration, and breeding. A baby bird’s tender digestive system needs soft, fat-filled proteins from insects andContinue reading “Powered by Insects”

Garden While Spring is Here

Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano and Roger’s Gardens in Newport Beach are open and have free buckwheat plants available for pick-up (while supplies last). When you go to pick up your free buckwheat, consider buying a few extra native plants to install in your garden this spring. Tree of Life Nursery isContinue reading “Garden While Spring is Here”

My Interview with the LA Times

Jeanette Marantos, garden reporter for the LA Times, called me in mid-February as I was returning home from a landscape restoration project I work on in Trabuco Canyon. Marantos asked me to provide a short list of the best native plants Southern Californians can plant in their home landscapes, and also why it is importantContinue reading “My Interview with the LA Times”

Bring More Hummingbirds, Orioles, and Warblers to Your Home

How can you get more birds visiting your garden? Go to Audubon’s guide for plants that attract birds. When you click on this link, you will be directed to the Audubon Society database that recommends plants that help birds thrive where you live. Enter your 5-digit zip code and explore the best plants for birds in yourContinue reading “Bring More Hummingbirds, Orioles, and Warblers to Your Home”

Join the Great Backyard Bird Count

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology is partnering with National Audubon Society to encourage all of us to go outside this weekend and count the birds we see in our backyard or favorite place. I spent about 30 minutes this morning with a pair of binoculars and my Birds of California Field Guide by Stan Tekiela. I countedContinue reading “Join the Great Backyard Bird Count”