Posts Tagged attracting butterflies

Eight New Years Resolutions to Make for Your Yard

The time when we make decisions about the next twelve months is here once again.  While we all make decisions about our weight, our health, and possibly our wealth, it may be a good time to take a look at our yard and 2014 fireworks.make a few decisions about that as well.  Here are the top ten new years resolutions for gardening and landscaping in 2014:

#1.  Do one thing to make your yard more organic.  Amend your soil with natural fertilizer, add organic mulch, or use some elbow grease instead of weed and feed.

#2. Spend more time in your yard.  Your yard may be a paradise or a mess.  Either way, resolve to spend more time outdoors, enjoying all the benefits of living in Southern California.  This may mean you need to make some improvements to your yard or it might mean you need to drag a lawn chair outdoors.  Whatever you do, enjoy your yard this year. Enjoy your yard

#3. Try planting at least one thing which is both beautiful and edible.  You can be as minor as decorative (and delicious) cabbage or as complicated as planting new fruit trees.

#4. Tackle at least one outdoor project this year.  This might mean you need to call in a landscaper to set up your new outdoor gathering space.  It may mean you need to get down and dirty on a DIY project.  Whatever the project may be, tackle it this year.

#5. Help your local fauna enjoy your landscape too.  You can plant blossoms that attract butterflies and bees, add a bird bath, install a stream, or much more.

#6. Actually use the compost heap.  Many of us have a compost heap, but we don’t all use it.  Try getting the ratio right and actually using your composted plant material to improve your yard.  Sage attracting a butterfly

#7. Plant more local, Southern California plants.  Try adding natives into your gardening mix.  You might be surprised how easy it is to grow natives and how many local birds and insect life they will attract.

#8. Go to more gardens and on more garden tours.  It’s always great to get inspired by what others are doing with their yards.

Here’s to a bright new year!

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Calling all Bees, Butterflies, and Lady Bugs

If you live in a place like Pismo or Malibu beach, you’re pretty likely to see butterflies throughout the year.  But what about more inland cities like Thousand Oaks, Woodland Hills or Simi Valley?  How do residents get a chance to enjoy gorgeous and beneficial winged insects?  Here are some ideas:Honey Bee Polinating Sage Blossom

Get rid of dead or dying plants

Beneficial insects are attracted to bright, healthy plants that will produce plenty of pollen or nectar, or which haven’t been damaged too thoroughly by harmful insects like aphids.  Make sure to prune back dead foliage, remove dead plants, and find out if your plants that seem to be dying can be saved or if they should be removed.

Plant bright flowers with nectar or pollen in them

Butterflies and bees are attracted to areas where they can feed themselves and their fellows.  Try planting vibrant flowers like: marigold, lavender, blood flower, brown-eyed Susan, echinacea, salvia, yarrow, penstemon, salpiglossis, dahlia, scabiosa, gallardia, zinnia,  aster, butterfly bush, butterfly weed, lantana, bee balm, borage, sunflower, alyssum, lion’s tail, coneflower, and many more. Butterflies

There are also herbs that can be used both to attract pollinators and can be used in the kitchen.  Some of these are: fennel, oregano, garlic chives, sage, mint, mustard greens, and thyme.

Plan your garden

You can attract friendly insects with gardens big and small, but usually there is a reason you wish to attract them.  Maybe you enjoy watching butterflies flutter and bees buzz.  In that case, you’ll want your garden landscaped with areas for you to sit down and watch.  Maybe you’re planting pollinators to help with your tomato plants or a peach tree.  In this case, you’ll want to discuss how best to position the plants that attract beneficial insects so that they buzz on over to the plants that really need pollinating.

Take time to enjoy it all

In this hustle and bustle world, it may be hard to find time to contemplate the flowers or watch the bees and butterflies do their thing.  But make sure to make time to enjoy your yard.  Why else have a gorgeously landscaped space which attracts beautiful little insects?

Here’s to a summer filled with bright blooms and beneficial insects.

 

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Fun Waterscaping Ideas

Waterscapes aid your landscape in many different ways.  Water features block ambient noise, add beauty, and (in some cases) allows an environment for new, low maintenance pets.

Here are some fun and interesting ways to incorporate waterscaping into your yard:

Create a space for small creatures

If you have plants of varied heights and types, it’s likely you will attract birds, butterflies, bumble bees, and other varied creatures that are fun to watch.  You can add to that attraction with a nice water feature.  There are a couple of approaches to this:

Traditional bird bath.  Just a plain-Jane birdbath.  Simple and effective.

Artsy fountain.  The idea is to provide these creatures with a place where they can access water.  Interesting fountains surrounded by small, damp stones can give various animals many places to rest, bathe, and drink.  The idea is to provide a perch in water deep enough for a small bird to bathe, and shallow enough that they won’t worry about losing their footing and drowning.

Small fountains for small spaces

If all you have is a terrace, deck or balcony, you can add a small fountain to your space in order to block out the ambient noise.

Small fountains can also be a gorgeous focal point for an entryway, for a back patio, or for that uneven portion of lot that you don’t know what to do with.

You can add a small fountain by installing a terracotta pot which appears to overflow into surrounding rocks, and with the watering then recirculating back into the fountain.  Another idea is to install a small sculpture or art piece with the same principle.  Or to install a waterline which runs up an adjacent wall and lets the water out through a spigot or piece of tile work on the wall.

Install a water feature disguised as a raised bed

That just sound weird, right?  But you can hide a pretty little water feature in among your raised beds.  Add some lily pads, maybe a turtle or a couple of fish, and you have a raised pond that accents your existing raised-bed look.

Plan for a shallow streamBackyard waterfal

What is better than the sound of a babbling brook?  Maybe the sound of a breeze rustling the leaves above your head as you lay back in your hammock and enjoy the harmonious sounds of nature.

If you prefer a little bit of drama, you can get a small stream installed which ends in a little waterfall.  This can be especially beautiful on a multi-level yard.

Allow water plants to run wild

If you have an existing water feature that you’d like to spice up, or if you want the sound of running water, but want to keep the motif green, try adding plant life.  There are some really gorgeous water plants that can add texture and dimension to your landscape.

Here’s to a visually and aurally beautiful yard!

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