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Attract more wildlife to your garden

Lunchtime series by Sac Valley CNPS shares ideas how to create 'Living Landscapes'

Butterfly on lacy phacelia plant
Plant lacy phacelia, a California native, and butterflies will hang out in your garden. (Photos: Kathy Morrison)


We could all use a nature break right now. And if you plant things that native birds, bees and butterflies like, you’ll see wildlife in action right outside your window.

The Sacramento Valley Chapter of the California Native Plant Society has plenty of advice on how to reach that goal – and still have a beautiful landscape – during a special lunchtime Zoom talk.

“Living Landscapes — Designing Native Plant Gardens that Attract Wildlife and Still Look Good!” is set for noon next Tuesday, Sept. 15. Everyone is welcome and participation is free.

Haven Kiers, associate professor of landscape architecture at UC Davis, will discuss “how to create native plant gardens that are not only great looking, but also great for wildlife,” according to Chris Lewis of Sac Valley CNPS. The talk is part of the chapter’s “Homegrown Habitat: Lunch break with Nature” series.

Bee on California poppy bloom
California poppies are a natural for wildlife landscapes.

These lunch breaks are one-hour, online presentations envisioned “as a way to engage with nature midday,” Lewis said. “Each presentation is a chance to ignite more interest in nature, native plants, native plant habitats, and the thing they all have in common—wildlife.”

To participate, you need to sign up in advance here:
https://bit.ly/3m2t4WP

For more details and advice on native plants to help native wildlife: www.sacvalleycnps.org .

- Debbie Arrington

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Garden Checklist for week of June 23

Get to work in the mornings while it’s still cool.

* Irrigate early in the day; your plants will appreciate it.

* Generally, tomatoes need deep watering two to three times a week, but don't let them dry out completely. That can encourage blossom-end rot.

* Let the grass grow longer. Set the mower blades high to reduce stress on your lawn during summer heat. To cut down on evaporation, water your lawn deeply during the early hours of the morning, between 2 and 8 a.m.

* Tie up vines and stake tall plants such as gladiolus and lilies. That gives their heavy flowers some support.

* Dig and divide crowded bulbs after the tops have died down.

* Feed summer flowers with a slow-release fertilizer.

* Mulch, mulch, mulch! This “blanket” keeps moisture in the soil longer and helps your plants cope during hot weather.

* Avoid pot “hot feet.” Place a 1-inch-thick board under container plants sitting on pavement. This little cushion helps insulate them from radiated heat.

* Thin grapes on the vine for bigger, better clusters later this summer.

* Cut back fruit-bearing canes on berries.

* Feed camellias, azaleas and other acid-loving plants. Mulch to conserve moisture and reduce heat stress.

* Cut back Shasta daisies after flowering to encourage a second bloom in the fall.

* Trim off dead flowers from rose bushes to keep them blooming through the summer. Roses also benefit from deep watering and feeding now. A top dressing of aged compost will keep them happy. It feeds as well as keeps roots moist.

* Pinch back chrysanthemums for bushier plants with many more flowers in September.

* From seed, plant corn, pumpkins, radishes, melons, squash and sunflowers.

* Plant basil to go with your tomatoes. 

* Transplant summer annuals such as petunias, marigolds and zinnias.

* It’s also a good time to transplant perennial flowers including astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia, salvia and verbena.

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