There is a flock of Golden-crowned Sparrows that arrived in the neighborhood a couple of weeks ago, and like to forage in both the front yard and back planter beds. These sparrows winter in California, but breed in the summer in the tundra of Alaska and British Columbia. This is our second winter here in our current location in the East Bay, and the second winter I see these sparrows.
They seem to get along with the California Towhees, foraging right along with them in the y
Look at this handsome monarch! We released him yesterday early afternoon, since he emerged from his chrysalis in the morning. He flew to a potted rosemary plant on the patio after he walked out of his mesh hamper. He is number thirteen of the group. Two more monarchs to go! Still crossing fingers that all goes well with them. Here he is flexing his wings as he strolls out of the hamper. Preparing to take off. I love the white on black spots on his body.
This week we have released nine monarch butterflies, so far. On Monday we released a male. He was a little hesitant at first to leave the hamper. We had placed the hamper with the lid open near some butterfly nectar plants. When the butterfly showed no interest in leaving the hamper, I went back to the patio to sit on a chair with the hamper in front of me to wait until he was ready. After a while I put my finger in front of the butterfly. He walked onto my finger, sat there
It's such a rewarding feeling when what you plant actually survives and thrives. For example, in the photo above you see a Bee Plant Scrophularia californica to the left foreground. It has a branch of leaves crowned with four tiny flowers. This is a great California native shade plant. It attracts native California bees and hummingbirds. The Anna's hummingbirds make it part of their routine to feed on the nectar of the tiny flowers. The leaves host buckeye and checkerspot but
The Cosmos bipinnatus "Apricot" plant is filled with tall stalks of flowers. I almost gave up seeing any blossoms on this plant. It was full with fern-like foliage all through the summer with not even a hint of buds on it. And now here are the blossoms, on stalks about 5 feet tall. They look more pinkish than apricot but still are lovely, providing pollen and nectar for bees and butterflies. They should bloom through November.
I don't see Ultra Green Sweat Bees Agapostemon texanus often, but when I do spot them, they are quite a sight to behold. They are native to California, and nest in the soil, usually in bare, flat ground. The female Ultra Green Sweat Bee in the Cosmos bipinnatus "Cupcakes White" blossom, above, spent a long time in the blossoms of this plant. A male Ultra Green Sweat Bee was lurking around, too. Here you see it to the left, approaching the female bee in another Cupcakes White
It's so wonderful to see plants blooming for the first time, especially later in the year. As you may remember from my posts earlier this year, we purchased a Carolina Climbing Aster Aster carolinianus seedling. We planted it next to a side garden gate and Tony built a simple arbor frame for the plant. Since this aster blooms from September through November, it took a lot of patience and hope that the plant really would bloom and climb up the arbor. I enriched the soil with w
Since the shasta daisies apparently don't like a lot of heat, I pulled out their dried remains last Friday from the plant bed next to our driveway. Then I mixed grape seed compost into the soil of the bed, to enrich it before planting new native plant seedlings I purchased from Annies Annuals a few weekends ago. The blooming plant above is a Desert Canterbury Bells Phacelia campanularia. It is a species of flowering plant of the borage family, and a California native. It wil
Last Friday we released monarch butterfly number 3 of our current brood, another female. She emerged in the afternoon on Thursday in this mesh hamper. The weather wasn't as warm as it was for the first two monarchs. As you can see from the image above, it was a partly cloudy day, with periods of sunshine, temperatures around the low 70's. The late afternoon was lovely and sunny. The butterfly took her time to fly off the hamper. She actually moved her head from left to right,