Habitat Gardens Hum and Buzz With Life


marin county habitat garden designer
Agastache 'Black Adder' provides nectar for a Western Tiger Swallowtail butterfly.

Everyone loves Agastache!

This Anise Hyssop (Agastache 'Black Adder') is a short-lived perennial that is popular with seemingly everyone who visits the garden - humans included. Butterflies, honey bees, and native solitary bees all visit it for nectar. Later in the summer, finches dine on its seeds.


Marin county garden design
The spent flower stalks of Agastache foeniculum are filled with delicious seeds for this charm of American Finches.

In a habitat garden, tidier is not necessarily better.

Sometimes, it's desirable to deadhead or cut back spent flowers for repeat blooms, but I left the flowers on this Agastache foeniculum so they could form seed. The drying flower stalks are attractive in their own right, and the seeds are a valuable food source for the finches shown in this photo. If I'm lucky, I may find a "volunteer" seedling or two in the garden once the rains begin.


Marin county wildlife garden design
Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii) blooms in early summer and provides nectar for a variety of pollinators.


Later in the summer, Pine Siskins eat the seeds of the same plant.


This garden spider has spun its web on a California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum).

A Spider's Cafeteria

This California buckwheat teems with bees and wasps attracted to its nectar, so this spider will not go hungry.


Marin county wildlife garden design
Native bee and Chlorogalum pomeridianum (Soap Lily)


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This Painted Lady is one of the many butterfly species that uses Giant Verbena (Verbena bonariensis) as a source of nectar. This verbena is a valuable habitat plant that blooms from late spring and into the fall with occasional irrigation.


Marin county garden design
Bewicks Wren photo © Jonathan Katz