Tag Archives: bee


Milkweed is the only food source for Monarch Caterpillars and are a mixture of the best nectaring plants for all butterflies. Natural Bridges State Park is just over the mountains in Santa Cruz and is a major destination of the Monarch butterflies. Known to have some medicinal value as a cough expectorant, the plant’s milky white sap can also cause ... Read More »

Hyacinth – Apricot Sunset

We grow hyacinth in our Sunnyvale garden most years. In 2017 the first bloom was the first week in March, after the crocus have finished blooming, and right before the tulips start blooming. Attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds. Flowers are fragrant. This plant is suitable for growing indoors. Muscari aka grape hyacinth, is a different genus than the Dutch ... Read More »

Phacelia californica

Phacelia californica (California scorpionweed) is a central California native. This herbaceous perennial grows to 1-2 feet tall.  Plant in rock gardens or on a slope with good drainage. The common name is because the flowers unfurling from the stalk look like a scorpion’s tail. Less imaginative explanation: it is similar to ferns. The flowers provide an important nectar source for ... Read More »

This Sunnyvale Garden – July 2016

This past June was very hectic and I spent little time in the garden. I have the drip irrigation working again in the backyard. Marie is very grateful because I will be on vacation and she does not want to water the 100 plants and trees on that system. I had a leak from behind the hose bib and had ... Read More »

This Sunnyvale Garden – May 2016

The garden exploded in April with a full spread of colors. We had the full range of spring flowers and now the summer flowers have started. In May I will harvest the winter root vegetables (beets and carrots); finish moving the 24 tomato plants to the final large pots; harvest some blackberries and squashes; and try to identify the dozens ... Read More »

Blood Flower – Aclepias curassavica

Blood flowers (Aclepias curassavica) are red-orange with yellow hoods. Flowering continues throughout the summer to early autumn. Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees are attracted to the flowers. Monarch butterflies lay eggs on this plant and the resulting larvae (caterpillars) use the plant leaves as a food source. Flowers are followed by long, narrow seed pods (3-4” long) which split open when ... Read More »

Agastache ‘Black Adder’

Okay. I bought this plant because of its name. There were no photos of the flowers; the plant was not yet in bloom. I just loved the 1980s BBC four-year series starring Rowan Atkinson (as Edmund Blackadder) and Tony Robinson (as Baldrick). When the plant finally bloomed last week, I was pleasantly surprised by its purple flower stalk. But, as ... Read More »

Asclepias – Silky Mix

One of over two hundred varieties of Asclepias, ‘Silky Mix’ stands out for its beautiful alternating deep red and gold colored blooms. Blooming mid Summer through early Fall, ‘Silky’, like most Asclepias prefers sunny, dry locations and does well in substandard soil. A tender perennial in some zones and annual in others, ‘Silky Mix’ is a beautiful addition to any ... Read More »

A Yellow Bumble Bee (Not)

Visiting my Sunnyvale garden are a variety of bees: Honey bees, small Mason bees, and big fat Bumble bees (that turn out to be Carpenter bees). Then, this fine early March day, I spot an enormous yellow bumble bee in the air around one of our apricot trees. It hovers near the blossoms,  but meanders in three dimensions, never once ... Read More »

More February 2015 blossoms

Nectarine and Apricot blossoms in late February 2015. Bees are busy visiting all the blossoms. The apricot tree in the photo below is a volunteer tree. This tree grew from a discarded apricot pit. It is growing in a two-foot wide trench along the side yard. Our original apricot tree is growing on semi-standard root stock. This volunteer tree is ... Read More »