Pussy willows: pollinator and bird magnets

I used to think Pussy Willows were only good for branches in Easter flower arrangements. I had no idea that the grey, furry buds would become nectar-rich, pollen-covered catkins that attract many pollinators and early migratory songbirds. That was before I planted our backyard hedgerow that includes Pussy Willow shrubs in the far corner. Now, … Continue reading Pussy willows: pollinator and bird magnets

School butterfly garden update

Recently I've noticed a burgeoning interest in butterfly gardening, spurred by the David Suzuki Foundation's Butterflyway Project. The goal is to create more than 1000 pollinator gardens across Canada. Several Ottawa-area Butterflyway 'Rangers' have contacted me for advice as they start planning. Here are my top tips, based on research and my experience with a … Continue reading School butterfly garden update

Butterfly diversity in our 2020 garden

Even though there were fewer butterflies in the garden in 2020 than in 2019, at least there was an interesting mix -- and even some new ones. As I grow a greater variety of native plants, I am attracting a greater variety of butterflies. White Admiral In June, a White Admiral hung around drinking nectar … Continue reading Butterfly diversity in our 2020 garden

Night shift: moths in the garden

Last summer, I began to notice more moths in the garden. Although I haven't seen any large, spectacular ones, the moths I spotted have been diverse and interesting. Some don't even look like moths. Unseen, but important pollinators Recently, UK researchers studied what plants moths visit and how they behave, compared to more well-known daytime … Continue reading Night shift: moths in the garden

Daughters of old friends: early spring bees

After months stuck indoors because of cold weather and then the pandemic, spring's arrival has been especially welcome this year. I've particularly enjoyed early spring bees in the garden. Like a doting godparent, I fretted, fussed, and followed them around with my camera. After all, they're daughters of last year's bees -- my old garden … Continue reading Daughters of old friends: early spring bees