My Home Ground

Other Larval Host Plants

Painted lady larva will also feed on weedy thistles in the Cirsium and Silybum genera, as well as the dreaded Yellow Star Thistle (Centaurea solstitialis), and related cultivated plants like Artichoke and Cardoon. The larvae also feed on other members of the Aster/Sunflower family such as yarrows and  sunflowers.

They sometimes feed on Mallow family plants, especially the weedy ones, like Cheeseweed (Malva nicaensis); but also Hollyhocks, cultivated Malva...

The Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) is the most cosmopolitan of all butterflies on earth. This butterfly is widely distributed all over the Northern hemisphere, and can be seen in all types of habitats except dense forests. Painted Ladies lay their eggs on many different plants, and their larvae feed on a wider variety of plants (polyphagus) than most other butterfly species. Even though they are often thought of as the 'Thistle Butterfly', and a majority of their eggs are laid on thistles,...

All through the rainy season many birds rely on fruits as a major part of their diet. These birds often travel in flocks, like the Cedar Waxwings and American Robins. Sometimes the flocks are mixed; several different species will travel together, and all are “on the lookout” for resources. 

Bright red berries are easy for birds to spot; and large quantities of fruits in one place make foraging more energy efficient. Red Toyon berries (Heteromeles arbutifolia) certainly attract the...

Whenever I'm out collecting I always keep it foremost in my mind that seeds are food for all sorts of insects and other invertebrates, for birds, rodents and other mammals, and food for humans!

When I gather toyon berries in December, I take just a handful from each cluster, and go to several different shrubs to collect. I want to make sure there’s still plenty of food for the birds; the red berries are a magnet for cedar waxwings, robins, house finches, band-tailed pigeons and the...

I’ve always had a fascination with fecundity; a desire to make more of something, especially when an  abundance of possibilities is so obvious.  Plants offer so many opportunities to be fruitful. Now, with plenty of space at our new nursery, and access to gardens full of ‘mother plants’, I can indulge my every urge to be prolific and productive!

My two acre habitat garden in Novato is a very fertile place, full of mature specimens, from which we take cuttings, dig divisions, and...

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