Monday, July 21, 2014

Spot The Pollinator #10

I am all about butterflies this week.  After waiting all summer for them to arrive, they are flitting about here and there.  Often, butterflies - and all insects - move so fast that taking a photograph is the only way to correctly identify them.  For instance, number one and three here were just bits of blue fluff before my camera froze them in time.

Common-Checkered Skipper

Sandhill Skipper

Gray Hairstreak


Common buckeye sunning itself.

This is what is fluttering about in my neck of the woods. What is going on in yours?  Please link up your photos or share them on social media with the hashtag #SpotThePollinator.


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

5 Steps to Natural Pest Control

1) Healthy Soil

Two years ago, a friend and I attended an edible garden tour.  Each garden we visited so lush, so healthy and each had the same underlying theme - long time gardeners, amending the soil year after year.  We have only been in our current yard for four years but got a jump start the first year with sheet mulch.  (Learn about sheet mulching here.)  

In addition, I have always composted but last year, I got serious.  We built a three bin compost system and celebrated one year later with this black gold!


Read the rest over at The Green Phone Booth.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Spot The Pollinator #9 - Vacation Edition

Two weeks ago, we visited family in Montana - just a stone's throw from Glacier National Park.  With all the undeveloped land and native plants, Montana has pollinators upon pollinators.  Coming from a densely populated urban area, I hope the locals cherish and protect the land and all of its wonders.

While there, we went on plenty of hikes and engaged in some truly sustainable shopping (local honey, baby!).  Here are some of the beautiful pollinators of the Big Sky Country:

Some sort of fritillary butterfly maybe that we spotted on a hike in Whitefish. 

Bumble bee on clover.

Caterpillar near Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park.

Skipper found along Whitefish Trail.

Itty bitty bee on a wild daisy along Whitefish Trail.

Unidentified butterfly landed on my son's foot in West Glacier. 

Have you spotted any pollinators lately?  Have camera, will travel?  Please link up your pollinator photos or share them on social media with the hashtag #spotthepollinator.


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Monday, July 7, 2014

Spot The Pollinator #8

If last week was the native plant edition, this one seems to be the edible garden one.  Pollinators have been busy amongst the edibles.

Mystery bug on calendula.  What is it? A pollinator or pest or?

Busy honey bee on zucchini flower.

These little black bugs like to hang out on the carrot flowers.  I assume they are pollinators.  They might be small carpenter bees.  What do you think?

Okay, now your turn!  Link up your insect photos or share them on social media with the hashtag #spotthepollinator.  And, if you are looking to identify those pollinators, a great source is The Pollinator Project

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Spot The Pollinator #7

It must be native plant week, I realize, because all of my pollinator pictures this week feature a pollinator enjoys California natives.  But you can share your photos of pollinators - or other insects - on any plant.  :)

Link up is below or use the hashtag #spotthepollinator on social media.


Common buckeye butterfly on California buckeye

Carpenter bee on Cleveland Sage 

Itty bitty bee on California poppy.


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Sunday, June 22, 2014

Spot The Pollinator #6

Welcome to another week of Spot The Pollinator.  This Great American Backyard Campout is this week and what better excuse to hand your kids a camera and send them out into the back - or front - yard to snap some photos of bees, butterflies and all other kinds of insects.  This is a great way to get kids to connect with nature - and frankly, fun for adults too!

Please link up your photos or share on social media with the #spotthepollinator hashtag.  Now get buggy with it!

Bee on a Scabiosa flower.  Anyone know what kind of bee?

Red skimmer dragonfly - not a pollinator but a garden friend.

European paper wasp (I think) on a borage stem. 

Tiny fly on yarrow.

Grab the button if you are so inclined:
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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why Every Garden Needs Sunflowers


Who doesn't love sunflowers?  They emit happiness, their bright yellow faces turning with the sun.  Their sturdy stocks raising them above the hubbub of the garden.

But as much as sunflowers cheer us, they do much much more!

Even when they are a tad more than a seedling, the dark green leaves of sunflowers stretch out, enticing small birds - finches, tanagers - to feast.


Read the rest at The Green Phone Booth ...
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