Monitoring gardens and spreading the message

I write a monthly garden post on my blog. Which I share with garden groups on Facebook. I have subscribers going back to when I started blogging in 2009. We have a local garden club.

I bring to iNat the ones I want an ID for - rather than trying to list everything which lives here.

This month I have a link to iNat for the masked bee blowing nectar bubbles


Your pictures and plants look nice. People have told me I should start a blog, but I’m not much of a writer.


Blogging takes two, the writer and the reader.
You can surely write something around what / why you photographed that.

I write for 3 audiences (not counting a record of my garden for myself, for me it does not need to be online) I write for local gardeners who might also grow or want to grow that, or see that bug in their patch. For international readers, who may or may not share my mediterranean climate (many Californian gardeners grow more of our plants than we do!) And, keep it short, since not everyone cares, which bug or flower it is.

Thank you to the iNatters who clicked across to Cape Town.


I spend a lot of time in my garden, so I passively discover the biodiversity within it. If I have a camera and the subject holds still long enough, I’ll add it to an iNaturalist project that I created for my garden. I also have a trail camera, which helps track wildlife (especially the nocturnal species that I wouldn’t otherwise see).

Much of my garden is situated on a street where many people walk. They often stop to look, so I’m hoping the garden inspires people to create their own. It’s important to make it as easy as possible for people to recreate the native gardens that they see. For example, I’m working on labeling all of my plants with easy to read, professional-looking plant labels so people without botanical experience can learn the names of plants that they like, which makes it easier for them to plant it at their home. Along with plant labels, my garden is a Certified Wildlife Habitat, so I display the sign to encourage people to learn about sustainable gardening practices and maybe create their own habitat.

Another problem in the way of the proliferation of native gardens is the lack of access to diverse native plants. If it takes months to research and locate native plants for a garden, most people are not going to plant native plants. If they do, it’ll be a limited selection of species that lacks diversity, so I’m also working to create a free seed bank (and maybe cuttings if I can figure out the logistics) from all the native seeds that I produce in my garden. The goal is for people to see a plant they like in the garden, learn what it is, and get the seeds to plant it all in one place. I encourage others to do the same so it’s easier for people to find native plants.


I so envy USA gardeners those Certified Wildlife Habitat signs!

I have recently found a new nursery for lowland fynbos. Using their plants to plug my gaps as they open.


The Dominican Republic has many ruins – not ancient civilizations, but modern ruins of failed enterprises. These are certainly not failures for nature, though. Because they are ruins, nobody weeds or mows them, so the vegetation grows freely.

From the air, probably. I still remember flying over Alexandria, Virginia on the descent into Reagan National Airport. Huntley Meadows Park stood out like a green oasis amid the desert of gray pavement and rooftops. For something flying at lower altitude than a commercial airliner – such as a bee – even smaller islands of green will stand out.


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Happy 2022! I wanted to share a few things from my garden and local community and maybe y’all will keep the conversation going.

First, the Albuquerque Backyard Refuge Program finished its freshman year with 100 participants!

Second, I wrapped up my inaugural year tracking yard inhabitants on iNat. I recorded at least 74 bee species (with a lot of room to improve), 51 Lepidoptera, 48 other Hymenoptera (including this first for NM tiny wasp), 40 flies, and 30 beetles (like this possible first iNat record).

For year 2, I would like to capture more diversity at ground level (ant lions, nematodes, spring trails, web spinners, etc), nocturnal visitors, and maybe start a blog. I’m hoping that my many varieties of Penstemon (really excited for Penstemon floridus) entice both more insects and neighbors to the dark side.


If you do, these two would be interesting


And we have a monthly meme

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What is an umbrella project? How do I join?

Umbrella is a type of project that contains other projects - collectional or traditional ones, link for this one was posted -, you need to set up own project for your place (so create a place and collectional project or manually add observations to traditional project of your own), then in a journal post you link it and it’ll be added.

1 Like is the creation of @thegardenhound who is also a regular contributor to this Facebook group

How can we make this webpage and blog more engaging? Thanks for any feedback

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Thanks for inviting me to join your discussion. Part 1. From Spring to Fall, and weather permitting winter, I am out in the yard tending to the plants, shrubs, trees and walkways of my 1/3 acre grounds surrounding my home that replaced the lawn planted by the builder - observing what is there nearly every day, and I am observing from the window daily. Recording what I see is a matter of when is convenient. Part 2. Aside from the discussions found in iNat forums, I speak with anyone willing to listen about the wonderful diversity that can flourish in the yard in even the urban garden. I attend gatherings of naturalists and the topic is always discussed.


Anyone with a wild and crazy garden or spirit is welcome! What’s been your best or favorite yard visitors so far? Have you convinced any neighbors or friends to ditch their lawns?

I started my native plant journey over 3 years ago and last year decide to start tracking how many different species my little native plant garden was benefiting, I have documented over 150 different species of bees, butterflies, wasps, nettles and other insects. I was blown away at how much diversity I found in my little patch of “wild”.
I have an Instagram account where I post my gardening adventure and my inaturalist finds. I have shared many many posts on my FB page, I moderate a local FB page for native plant enthusiasts and have posted there. Also I find ways to talk to people about it whenever and wherever.


Not sure how convinced my neighbors are to ditch their lawns for gardens … the idea that all they have to do to tend the lawn is sit on a lawnmower for 20 minutes a week and done is difficult to overcome. :)

this little gray tree frog found his way from the fountain area to the front porch one day, perhaps to escape the sun.

this Reddish Dart showed up in early Spring one year for the first time encouraging me to dust off my camera

The Great Blue Heron does not fly into populated neighborhoods but here it is in my yard


I found a new yard bee for the first time this spring and I’m getting very close to 600 total species (including cultivated plants). Blog post is in the works to share highlights.

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Thanks to @dianastuder and others for encouragement. I hope you’ll read this article One Year in my Pollinator Garden - Pollinator Web

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Left you a blog comment. Good work!

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