First Monarch Butterfly Sighting, Saving Seed from California Poppies, & an Unfortunate Contaminant

Monarch Butterfly Sighting Today I let slip a little scream of excitement when I spotted the first monarch butterfly here in our garden–at least the first one I can remember in the two decades we’ve been at our current location. Growing up in the Midwest many decades ago, we used to see Eastern Monarchs allContinue reading “First Monarch Butterfly Sighting, Saving Seed from California Poppies, & an Unfortunate Contaminant”

The Solace of the Wildlife Garden

Lately it feels like the garden is taking more care of me than I am of it. The world of humans is so fraught with angst and urgent concerns (which we humans seem apt to self-create) that, again, I find myself in deep appreciation for the respite of the garden and simpler creatures. I’m leaningContinue reading “The Solace of the Wildlife Garden”

Winged Wildlife Rescues

As gardeners, we learn to observe, don’t we? Our senses become attuned to the plants, the insects, the weather — life all around. And sometimes we notice life forms that need a bit of help. Two notable examples happened last week. An Encounter With a Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly | Battus philenor hirsuta The first happenedContinue reading “Winged Wildlife Rescues”

May In the Garden — a joy even during drought

Even a Sprinkle Is Welcome During Drought! A few days after my last garden blog post, we received a tiny bit of rain: about a tenth of an inch. Even such a small amount was welcome to ease the drought we are facing here. The garden is still green–as is the norm for spring–but withContinue reading “May In the Garden — a joy even during drought”

April Garden — California Poppies, Veggie Seedlings, Critter Habitat & Prep for Drought & Wildfire

The California poppies and lupines are abloom in Sonoma County, and so are lilacs and foxgloves and columbine. Pipevine swallowtails are mating and tree swallows returning for the summer. Keep up with the wildfire safety and drought preparedness steps taken by organic gardening blog of The Compulsive Gardener.

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies

We try to create and nurture wildlife habitat gardens here on our five-acre Sonoma County property. And the California pipevine swallowtail is one of our favorite local fauna to provide support for. Their markings are so striking–with their mystical black color and iridescent blue sheen (on the males). The caterpillars are also eye-catching: black withContinue reading “Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies”

Protecting Shrubs and Trees from Gophers

Gophers In Your Garden When I think of gophers, in my mind’s eye I see the flyer for JAWS, only instead of the shark there is a Monster Gopher coming up from the soil depths (with ominous music) to ravage a poor tree. My oft-mentioned gopher casualty is in the photo to the right: aContinue reading “Protecting Shrubs and Trees from Gophers”

How to Build a Raised Garden Bed for Growing Vegetables–with Gopher Protection

Got Gophers? How to build a raised bed for vegetables with gopher protection. A chat over the garden fence with the compulsive gardener. | Gardening in California | Dealing with Gophers in the Garden and Raised Vegetable Beds.

Composting with Worms and Tips for Repurposing Household Waste

Worms are a gardeners friend! Let them eat your kitchen and organic household waste with vermicomposting and get garden fertilizer for free.

Garden Fountains for Bird & Bee Habitat

Water fountains bring birds and a relaxing vibe to your garden. Year-round garden interest and habitat for birds, honeybees and hummingbirds.

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