Bee and Butterfly Friendly Plants

Bumble bee on pink flower

Bumble bee on pink flower

When choosing new plants to go into your landscape it is important that they not only be drought friendly, but bee friendly as well! Bees are at the cornerstone of our ecosystem as their pollination helps our crops thrive. Unfortunately with so many plants dying, the drought is hitting them the hardest. So we need to do our part to help them out, and there are some really easy and attractive ways to do it.

One website called Buzz About Bees says:

Believe it or not, there are many excellent drought plants out there, that are highly attractive to pollinators. Initially, many people who find themselves with a dry or drought garden, may believe their options will be limited and their gardens will be dull. However, drought landscapes and gardens do not have to be boring – they can be truly inspiring and striking. By combining different textures, forms and colours, the effect created can be visually stunning. Herbs, wildflowers and succulents especially, provide great options for gardeners wanting to attract bees to dry areas.

Succulents, such as sedums are great drought resistant plants. They are able to store water in their fleshy leaves and stems. Their compact heads ooze nectar during the late summer, and are loved by bees and other pollinating insects.

Many herbs can tolerate dry conditions. Try:

Lavender – lavender thrives in gritty, dry soils, and will buzz with bees in the summer.
Origanum, (Marjoram) – the culinary oregano can be enjoyed by both you and the bees!
Sage – both culinary and wild sages are not only good drought plants, they are also good bee plants too.
Thyme – low-growing thyme can also be grown on a green roof – although it may then be difficult for you to harvest some of it!
Rosemary – will provide valuable food for bees early in the year when other foraging opportunities are scarce.

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Cornflower

Many wildflowers are well adapted to tolerate dry conditions, and most prefer nutrient-low soils. Excellent drought plants that attract bees and other pollinators include:

Poppies
Bird’s foot trefoil
Cornflower
Candy tuft
Toadflax
Thistles
Bugle (Ajuga)
Achillea

Here is a website that features more drought-smartplants for bees,  and here is a link to the original article.  So remember our bees as you plan your garden and while you’re at it, butterflies and birds as well.

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Mandatory Water Rationing

droughtIt’s happened: Residents of San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Monte Sereno, Campbell, and others are going under mandatory water rationing. Paul Rogers stated in the Mercury News on Tuesday that,

“All single-family residences — defined as any home that has its own water meter — will be given monthly water allocations. Apartments and most businesses, however, will not. The allocations will require homeowners to cut water use 30 percent from 2013 levels. The 30 percent isn’t based on a home’s individual use, however. Instead, it’s calculated on the month-by-month average of all residential users in San Jose Water’s service area, minus 30 percent.

“San Jose Water will mail a notice to all of its customers explaining the rules on May 19, and plans to hold a public hearing to explain them at 7 p.m. on May 28 at the Rotary Summit Center, 88 South 4th Street in San Jose.”

While this may sound scary, there are things we can do.  We don’t need to let our landscape die, matter of fact  it is important that it continues to thrive! Although the Valley may start to look significantly browner in the months to come, it is important to continue to take care of our plants and trees. We just need to make conscious decisions about when and how we water them. In the weeks to come, I will be discussing ways to do this and posting lots of helpful hints on other ways to conserve water in your landscape. So stay tuned, and we will figure out the drought together!

Here is a link to the original article: http://www.mercurynews.com/drought/ci_28102311/california-drought-new-details-emerge-about-san-joses

A Lifestyle of Conservation

Throughout human history, the development of large civilizations was possible due to the direct access and possession of an abundance of fresh water.  However, as the world’s population continues to expand—by 4 billion in the last 50 years alone—our large civilizations are headed towards lengthy periods of water stress, scarcity, and finally crisis.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has predicted that by 2025, 1.9 billion people will be living in regions with absolute water scarcity, with a further two-thirds of the world’s population potentially living under stress conditions. Water stress, scarcity, and crisis are varying levels on the availability of fresh water within a region.  Scarcity denotes a distinct imbalance between the supply and demand of available water.

Though the eventual global solution potentially lies in discovering new methods of purification, conservation of current water supplies is the immediate key to maintaining our civilizations.  This begins on an individual level, using techniques and practices in our homes and gardens. In the coming posts we will cover specific methods such as xeriscaping, ecologically native plants, and even replacing water-costly lawns with sustainable kitchen gardens.vegetable-garden-133441298497619Nzh

Making conservation a part of your very lifestyle is crucial to the long-term preservation of our water supply.  One person simply being mindful of their water consumption may not have an immediate impact, but one billion people sharing a mindset, a lifestyle of conservation could make all the difference.