Think Twice before Installing a Fake Lawn

With our draconian water restrictions in place, many people are swapping out their front lawns for artificial grass. Hailed as a sustainable alternative to the traditional lawn, is it really? It’s true that you’ll reduce your water use, eliminate the need for fertilizers and pesticides, and no need for power tools to keep it looking …

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Reptiles, and Especially Lizards are Great Pest Controllers

Some of the BEST pest controllers you can have in your yard are reptiles.  Yes, those things that might slither past your feet on the patio are REALLY GOOD for the garden.  Lizards, skinks, toads, and snakes are all reptiles – cold-blooded animals that breathe with lungs, and have dry, scaly skin.  One of the …

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It’s National Raptor Month

October is National Raptor Month – a time to recognize these amazing birds of prey.  A raptor is a meat-eating bird with keen eyesight, eight sharp talons, and a hooked beak. They’ve been around for millions of years, with nearly 500 species across the globe.  Most are active during the day, while 178 are night …

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Look for this gorgeous spider in the garden

The black and yellow orb weaver spider is one of the most colorful in California gardens. The female is large (body often over an inch long) with the signature black abdomen with broad yellow bars. Hanging in the middle of their intricate web, they’ll patiently sit and wait for the vibrations of a flying insect …

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International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

While we are all dealing with climate change today, 35 years ago there was another environmental threat that was successfully abated.  Damage to the ozone layer, that fragile shield of gas that protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun, was happening at an alarming rate.  Caused by a number …

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Watch out for invasives!

Some of the worst invasive plants in California, brooms and yellow starthistle, have caused substantial changes to California’s wildlands. The organism that causes sudden oak death was inadvertently introduced to California forests on nursery stock and is estimated to have killed more than 1 million oak and tanoak trees during the last decade. Insect-carried diseases …

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National Moth Week is July 17 – 25

Given their muted colors, their unjust reputation as just pests, and their night flying nature, most people fail to take notice of moths. Yet they outnumber butterflies, their nearest relative, by more than 10 to 1. And there are upward of 11,000 moth species in the United States alone — that’s more than all the …

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Snakes are good for the Garden

It’s a good time to recognize these natural pest controllers!  Gardeners should be glad to see snakes glide through the garden. These much-maligned reptiles consume garden pests, including slugs, grubs, mice, voles, and rats. Garter snakes are the most common type found in our area.  They’re medium-sized slender snakes with a head barely wider than …

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