Thursday, June 4, 2009

In the Garden

Don't Be A DeadheaderSome of my wildflowers (annuals) are blooming out. But I wouldn't dream of yanking or deadheading them. I love the birds that swoop in and gobble up the seed. My front yard is mostly packed with California native plants. But I've also planted others that can adapt to a low-water regime. That includes the humble cornflower (or bachelor's button, as some call it). Goldfinches go gah-gah over them. Which brings the birds to a nice height for my toddler to see them. If I leave the plants alone, they'll reseed themselves (no effort on my part).

Other birds appreciate my deliberately sloppy gardening, too: mourning doves gobble up seed that falls on the ground. My son tries to coax them closer. "Come and play with me," he says. Sages are one of the best plants for attracting wildlife to your garden, according to Louise Gonzales, nursery manager of the Theodore Payne Foundation. "The humming birds adore the flowers," she says, "and then the seeds are high in protein so there’s a lot of different bird species that eat the seeds. So if you don’t deadhead them, you’re feeding alot of birds." One of my favorites sages is a cultivar called 'Winifred Gilman.' It has deep blue flowers and a maroon tint to its stems. Bushtits (pictured above on 'Winifred') love to perch on them, gobbling up insects they find.

This next photo is of a bushtit perched on my Englemann Oak. Bushtits are fairly easy to identify. They're tiny and move through your yard in small flocks.

Interested in native plants? Check out these stories on local chaparral and coastal sage scrub habitat.

1 comment:

  1. Posts like this make stumbling through my favorite bloggers so rewarding. Thanks for this delightful interlude, as well as the (ahem) sage advice. : )


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