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Attract more butterflies, hummingbirds to your garden

Learn how at free garden talks at all seven Green Acres

Hummingbirds like native plants, too. An Anna’s hummingbird pauses on a hollyleaf redberry in Sacramento to eat some insects.

Hummingbirds like native plants, too. An Anna’s hummingbird pauses on a hollyleaf redberry in Sacramento to eat some insects.

Photo courtesy Sacramento Valley CNPS

Pollinators make the world a more bountiful place; without them, we wouldn’t eat.

In addition to all those busy bees, favorite pollinators include butterflies and hummingbirds. While at work, these beneficial insects and active birds are fun to watch.

Learn how to invite more wildlife into your yard during free talks Saturday morning, June 17, at all Green Acres Nursery & Supply locations.

Set for 10 a.m. Saturday, “Grow a Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden” will cover the basics of how to plant a pollinator-friendly space for this summer’s visitors as well as how to attract more butterflies and hummingbirds for years ahead.

Plant the right flowers and they will come. Different species prefer to feed on specific plants.

According to the Sacramento Audubon Society, six species of hummingbirds may be seen in our region. They all love trumpet-shaped flowers, preferably in bright red or orange colors.

With emerald green feathers and a ruby-pink throat, Anna’s hummingbird is the most common – and a permanent Sacramento-area resident. Unlike most hummingbirds, Anna’s Hummingbird doesn’t migrate and is very territorial.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Anna’s hummingbird is crazy about eucalyptus trees; the widespread planting of eucalyptus in California also spread the distribution of these tiny birds. In the wild, they feed on the nectar of manzanita, currant and gooseberry flowers but also go for lots of backyard plants. (Hummers also like to eat small bugs.)

Butterflies prefer flowers that offer a landing platform – some place to sit while they snack. Daisy-like flowers such as asters, coneflowers, lantanas and zinnias attract a wide range of butterflies but so do native plants such as California buckeye.

Some species demand certain plants for breeding. Monarchs must have milkweed. As their name implies, pipevine swallowtails lay their eggs on California pipevines. Purple passion flower vines host the Gulf fritillary. (Just remember: Butterfly host plants are grown to be eaten by caterpillars. So expect holes in the leaves!)

Find out who likes which flowers and a lot more during these information talks, which also provide an opportunity to get some local expert planting recommendations.

Green Acres nurseries are located in Sacramento, Auburn, Citrus Heights, Elk Grove, Folsom, Rocklin and Roseville.

For addresses and directions:


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Dig In: Garden Checklist

For week of Oct. 1:

Make the most of this cooler weather. Get to work on your fall garden:

* October is the best month to plant trees, shrubs and perennials. Plants become established – sending down deep, strong roots – faster in warm soil.

* Divide and replant perennials. Add a little well-aged compost and bone meal to the planting hole, but hold off on other fertilizers until spring. Keep the transplants well-watered (but not wet) for the first month as they become settled.

* Now is the time to plant seeds for many flowers directly into the garden, including cornflower, nasturtium, nigella, poppy, portulaca, sweet pea and stock.

* Plant seeds for radishes, bok choy, mustard, spinach and peas.

* Plant garlic and onions.

* Set out cool-weather bedding plants, including calendula, pansy, snapdragon, primrose and viola.

* Reseed and feed the lawn. Work on bare spots.

* Dig up corms and tubers of gladioli, dahlias and tuberous begonias after the foliage dies. Clean and store in a cool, dry place.

* Treat azaleas, gardenias and camellias with chelated iron if leaves are yellowing between the veins.

* Clean up the summer vegetable garden and compost disease-free foliage.

* Harvest pumpkins and winter squash.

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