Tag Archives: Insects

Monarchs Nectaring on Pineapple Sage

I was pleasantly surprised to look out the window during my lunch break today and see two monarch butterflies nectaring on my pineapple sage. Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) is one of those plants I like to include in my herb garden for both aesthetic and culinary reasons; the leaves make a yummy addition to iced Read More →

Planting for Pollinators in DC on Earth Day

This morning commuters across the District were reminded it was Earth Day when representatives from the city’s Department of Energy & the Environment (DDOE) arrived at 13 different Metro stations to hand out seed packets. “Want some seeds to help us plant pollinators?” DDOE Director Tommy Wells repeatedly asked people on their way to work and Read More →

Bumble Bees Provide Another Reason to NOT Rake Leaves

For years now I’ve been proclaiming the many good reasons to stop raking leaves in urban and suburban back yards. Leaves are the perfect mulch, and can increase the biodiversity of your soil. Leaving your leaves in place helps to provide lots of habitat of insects, which in turn provides lots of food for foraging Read More →

Native Plants for Fall Color — Even in November

Need Plants for Fall Color? Think Native and In November You’ll Enjoy the Show As the last of the leaves fall from the trees this month, several native plant species take center stage in the fields and along the forest’s edge, putting on one of the best color shows of the season. Many of those Read More →

Celebrating Spiders, Plastic and Otherwise

  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had fun watching the spiders emerge around my neighborhood.  Some have been quite small and ferocious.  Others are three or four feet tall — but very benign. As an organic gardener in the Mid-Atlantic, I learned long ago to think of spiders as important members of my Read More →

Attracting Bees to Your Urban Garden

August  is here– time to reap the rewards of planting edibles.  If your tomatoes, squash and melon plants aren’t producing a lot of fruit this summer it might be due to a lack of good pollination.  Even if you are only growing a couple of pepper plants in containers on a deck or balcony, you’ll Read More →

What’s In Bloom: Culver’s Root

July can be a discouraging month in the mid-Atlantic.  Its unrelenting heat and humidity can feel punishing, and the thought of doing in anything in the garden during the day seems insane.  Even the shade is hot and sultry, and I find myself aching for a breeze.  Culver’s Root (Veronicastrum virginicum), a tall native plant Read More →

City Wildlife Gardening: What to Know Before You Get Started

People sometimes assume that you need a large yard in the country in order to attract birds, butterflies, bees and other kinds of wildlife.  But gardening for wildlife on a city lot can bring great results.  You may be surprised, in fact, by the immediate response you get from the local fauna when you plant Read More →

Hummingbird Clearwing Caterpillar

I have come to believe that — like the pot that boils when we stop watching it — my best nature sightings happen when I am not expecting them. So it was earlier this week, when I took a team of workmen to my backyard to repair a section of my fence.  It was pouring rain Read More →

Roadsides and Pollinators, a New Report

  When a report from the Xerces Society entitled Pollinators and Roadsides landed in my inbox recently, my initial reaction was to wince. I recalled the times I’ve found dead butterflies in the grill of my car after long trips. Its one of those things you really hate to see. So the idea of encouraging Read More →