Garden Photo of the Day

Gardening for wildlife with Irvin and Pauline in California

Agapanthus and phlox add color and freshness to the garden entry.

Today’s photos are from Irvin and Pauline Faria in California, who we’ve visited several times through the years. Irvin says, “This spring our goals were to refine the garden’s appeal through the addition of nectar- and pollen-producing plants for hummingbirds and to add California native plants.

The canna background blends in nicely with agapanthus. Cannas keep blossoming from late spring or early summer to frost.

Agapanthus (Lily-of-the-Nile) was selected as the garden’s global nectar resource plant. Their drought-resistance and heat-hardiness make them excellent perennials for our Zone 9.

This hummingbird is extracting nectar from the funnel-shaped flowers of an agapanthus.
Hummingbirds love these ‘Navigator’ penstemons and red coneflowers. These plants actually like dry summers and generally arid conditions.

‘Navigator’ penstemon (pink) and red coneflowers, shown in front of an upright moss-covered rock, are the poster plants of native-plant gardening. Their colorful and sturdy flowers can be relied upon from midsummer through early fall.

Bee balm spreads, but not as aggressively as other members of the mint family. Larkspur provides tall, early season color in the spring landscape.

Larkspur and bee balm, near a bamboo spout and water basin, offer an eye-catching display of color. Set among lamb’s ears, gaura (Gaura lindheimeri) features its tub-like flowers.

Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri), with its tub-like flowers, is very heat tolerant.
‘Anouk’ lavender is combined here with ‘Hummingbird Coral’ salvia. 

‘Anouk’ lavender, combined with ‘Hummingbird Coral’ salvia, is a drought-tolerant variety that produces lovely, light and dark purple blooms. It emits a wonderful lavender scent and has unusual purple spikes of flowers that are attractive to hummingbirds. ‘Hummingbird Coral’ provides clouds of nectar-rich, orchid-like blossoms in an enchanting shade of coral with tiny white stamens.

Agastache ‘Deluxe’, Cuphea llavea, and lobelia are planted in a pot so we can move them to various areas of the garden.

A pot of Agastache ‘Deluxe’, Cuphea llavea, and lobelia is most appealing to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. This summer nature has blessed us with a doe and her fawn that have made our garden their home. And a hummingbird mom cared her chicks in one of our maple trees. We are especially grateful for what nature has brought to us.”

This area is within our wildlife preserve where an intriguing variety of wildlife makes their home in this mini-ecosystem environment.

As goregous as always, Irvin and Pauline!

Sitting in our Machiai we enjoy our natural paradise in the woods while feeling a calm tranquility.
A young doe and her fawn have made our garden their home. By now we have become somewhat at ease with their appetite selections.
A black-chinned hummingbird feeds every 10 to 15 minutes on a mixture of nectar and tiny insects and spiders. She regurgitates the mixture into the mouths of the young. Always hungry, they eat 1.5 to 3 times their body weight in food per day.

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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 07/22/2014

    Every season and every scene is magical in your wondrous garden, Pauline and Irvin.It's hard to imagine that you would have thought to improve upon perfection but your new plant additions and combinations are lovely.I'm enchanted by your photo captures of the hummingbirds going about their business. I'm sure they are particularly delighted and appreciative of your new nectar rich plant additions.

  2. perenniallycrazy 07/22/2014

    Yet again mesmerized by your garden and wildlife Pauline and Irvin! Please keep coming back. I will definitely be waiting for more updates.

  3. user-1020932 07/22/2014

    always always a pleasure to see Pauline's garden. i'm very jealous of your Agapanthus as mine barely survived this year it's a beautiful space you have created for every season and every day of the year

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 07/22/2014

    Marvelous as always! I love seeing this garden. thanks for sending in more photos and the great information. I've gone crazy with some annual salvia this year to attract hummingbirds. I generally only see one, but it is such an astounding treat.

  5. OuiserThatsMe 07/22/2014

    Beautiful garden!!! You're very lucky to have all those beautiful creatures visit you!!!

  6. greengenes 07/22/2014

    Oh happy days spending time in your gardens! I enjoy seeing the wildlife shots and the phlox are gorgeous! Its all so beautiful, especially the fall pictures of all the Japanese maples. It sure looks like you both have a lot of passion and fun! Thanks!

  7. willysmom 07/22/2014

    Always amazing to see wonderful gardens on the other coast. Here in Maine, Agapanthus grow only in pots brought in for the winter; it's kind of unreal to see them growing so beautifully in the ground! Many thanks to all who take the time to share their inspiring gardens.

    1. User avater
      meander_michaele 07/22/2014

      Hope you don't mind if I pick your brain, Ginny...when you bring your pots of agapanthus in for the winter, do you store them in a coolish garage or basement? Do you cut off all the foliage? Do they stay in steady bloom throughout the summer? Hope you see this to come back to the comments and share some knowledge.

      1. willysmom 07/22/2014

        I do store them in our (detached but well insulated) barn, which rarely goes below 32 F even when it's well below zero F outside, and in winter doesn't go much above 40 or 45. There are big windows so it isn't dark. I let the foliage stay (and keep giving them a bit of water) until it dies back, then cut it off and pretty much ignore them until spring, when they start to sprout; then I resume watering but don't put them out until there's no chance of frost. (I have one that's evergreen, so I let it keep its leaves all winter.) They only bloom for a few weeks at the end of the summer - right now the buds aren't even showing yet. While they're outside I give them lots of water (they're potbound!) and fertilizer. Incidentally the hummingbirds love them.

        1. User avater
          meander_michaele 07/22/2014

          Thanks so much for sharing all that info. Their foliage throughout the growing season is so pleasing ...I'll bet that even when they aren't in flower, they probably look great in containers.

  8. sheila_schultz 07/22/2014

    All the hummingbirds in your neighborhood have hit the jackpot! Your gardens never fail to inspire... simply wonderful.

  9. GrannyMay 07/22/2014

    Thank you Irvin and Pauline for continuing to share your amazing garden with us - and with the birds and animals in your area. How perfect that the hummingbird has built her nest in your maple tree. She couldn't have a more appreciative audience!

  10. NCYarden 07/22/2014

    You have created an amazing garden. There is no wonder the wildlife feel welcome there, especially the hummingbirds (fantastic photos of them by the way). What an awesome space in which to be immersed. Thanks for sharing.

  11. christianesterges 07/22/2014

    So happy you're sharing all thid wondrous beauty with us in Brussels ..

  12. annek 07/22/2014

    Another amazing group of photos. They are all excellent but I marvel at the broad view (with path) of your wildlife preserve. It is mesmerizing. What fine work you have done in creating a habitat for wild creatures.

  13. ancientgardener 07/22/2014

    Your nature preserve is a little bit of heaven. Some of your flower choices are new to me and all beautiful. I love lavender of all kinds and will surely attempt to find "Anouk" - so unusual and lovely.. Having a resident doe and fawn certainly adds to the scene, but I spend much thought and energy toward keeping deer OUT of my garden. I scrabble to find anything they won't eat. They are indeed beautiful creatures.

  14. Meelianthus 07/23/2014

    Irvine & Pauline ~ Your pictures are exquisite ! You are definitely one with nature. Thanks for sharing all of your forest friends and flowers

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