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Attracting Birds and Butterflies 111 Ideabooks

Six years ago my wife and I married (on 7/7/'07, like so many others), and we immediately moved into our first home together. I told her I wanted a garden, and when she said, "Go for it," I'm not sure we knew what that would mean. Neither of us had any idea just how madly I'd fall in love with gardening and what I'd come...
Butterfly Gardening: Delight the Eyes With Living Sculptures
Once we've laid out a landscape — installed the pavers and edging and mulch, placed the plants — we can sit back in deck chairs and admire the splendor of a beautiful vista. But there's another element just below the surface — a fourth dimension...
Attract Hummingbirds and Bees With These Beautiful Summer Flowers
Landscapes sustain us by giving us food to eat, air to breathe and space to live in — let's repay the favor. When choosing what we plant, it's important to respect our natural landscapes and the wildlife they support. Sustainable garden practices teach...
6 Plants That Beat Butterfly Bush for the Wildlife Draw
In the late afternoon and early evening, when the summer sun is its most potent, the insects are in frenetic action. All over the garden, the tips of flowers launch into the air — if there were such thing as an insect air traffic controller, it would...
Great Native Plant: Grow Wild Quinine for Its Unique Clusters of Blooms
Most wild plants aren’t that spectacular; anything you see in a nursery is often an exception to the rule and a slight misrepresentation of the real world. If you’re a plant collector, seeking out something a bit different that no one else has, you...
How to Help Your Town’s Beneficial Birds and Bugs
Urban Hedgerow, an art and ecological collaborative in San Francisco, has been planting wild habitats in the city landscape since 2009. In addition to raising public awareness of and creating discussion about the importance of the beneficial bugs and...
Great Design Plant: Try Blue Bells for Blooms in Dry Soil
Imagine what characteristics you would want in the perfect shrub. How about one that blooms throughout the year, loves hot temperatures but can handle cooler ones, all while needing no pruning? Would you add one to your landscape? Well, imagine no longer,...
Great Design Plant: Columbine Grows Happily in Shade and Sun
When spring arrives with bursts of color and scent, one of my favorite perennials appears — star-shaped columbine. It grows in my woodland garden amid other delicate wildflowers, such as bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), trillium and speckled...
A Quick-Start Guide to Bird-Watching for Fun and Learning
Bird-watching is a great hobby that increases patience and concentration, and inspires a love of nature. The best part? You can kick off this hobby in your own backyard. All you need is a bird feeder and some quality seed. Here’s how to get started....
Gardening for the Bees, and Why It’s a Good Thing
I stopped gardening for myself years ago. It probably happened about the time I saw a bumblebee pulling itself along the ground one fall morning; once it crossed from shade into light, it stopped, seeming to lay out as if on a beach. After I spent a few...
Get Coneflower Blooms All Summer Long
When you walk into a garden center or nursery, you’re almost always going to see one kind of coneflower: Echinacea purpurea. Oh, you’ll see lots of different coneflowers, often the hottest new thing to tempt you, but they are pretty much always...
Great Design Plant: Sea Grape, a Hardy Coastal Delight
The bright green mouse-ear leaves of the native sea grape tree make me smile. It isn’t just because sea grapes are drought tolerant and salt tolerant — or even because they help stabilize dunes. It’s the plant’s bubbly appearance and happy-go-lucky...
How to Find the Right Native Plants for Your Yard
There’s certainly been a welcome groundswell of support for native plants among gardeners, landscapers and even nurseries. The benefits of going native are many: lower maintenance when properly sited, an increase in wildlife, support of pollinating...
7 Native Wildflowers to Make You an Awesome Butterfly Host
When we look at plant catalogs and nursery tags, I bet one of the first things we get excited about is finding the little butterfly symbol showing that the plant brings in, well, butterflies. Of course, more often than not it’s simply referring to the...
Be a Butterfly Savior — Garden for the Monarchs
I had a 10-gallon aquarium sitting on our dining room table in 2011. I’d browsed Craigslist to find a rearing tank for monarchs. When I met with the seller in a McDonald’s parking lot, I discovered she was about 13, and her older brother came out...
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