Pollinator haven


Although I've done a lot of the annual winter pruning of shrubs, there still is more to do in the garden before spring arrives. Yes, I know the photos here don't look wintery to those of you who live in areas with snow and ice at this time of year. But for us in Northern California it is still winter, although the past weekend was another warmer one, with temperatures hitting the low 70's Fahrenheit.

The photo above is a part of one side of our front garden that I call the pollinator paradise. You can see in the left foreground and middle some of our rosemary hedges. This weekend the bees were very busy there: honeybees, carpenter bees and the little flower fly bees. You can't see them in the photo, but they are there.

Behind the rosemary hedges there is a large abutilon shrub, a favorite of the Anna hummingbirds.

Coming in from the right side and taking up most of the center field is the lavatera shrub with its beautiful pale lavender blossoms. This is another favorite with bees, butterflies and all kinds of birds. Lavatera shrubs, planted in the right spot grow very quickly. We had to cut this one down to the nubs a couple of years ago when it was infested with a rust virus. It grew back very quickly and is huge, so I still try to cut it back to keep it healthy. At the same time, I don't cut branches with flowers blooming so that the pollinators have enough food.

Below the lavatera shrub, to the right in the photo, is a red salvia hedge. You can see one of the vibrant red flowers to the lower right.

I spent several hours this weekend in that haven, clearing out weeds and dried up rosemary branches, and filled up a large green debris bin. In the process I pulled a muscle in my back and hip, but there is now a lot more light and air circulating around the plants.

Honeybee on the rosemary blossoms

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