Spring is here and Earth Day is fast approaching. Sonoma Syrup Co. & Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance have joined with me to bring over 330 Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden Seed Gifts to anyone who is visiting Sonoma Valley from April 15th through the 25th. These gifts, as seen above, will be available at the shops and wineries listed on the last post at no cost, only with the thought of helping our winged friends.
This lovely swing on a spacious wine country property’s front porch is the perfect spot to pop on a straw hat, pick up your binoculars, and enjoy the afternoon light while getting a closer look at the hummingbirds and butterflies who come to visit flowers in your garden.
We hope you’ll take a moment to read two fabulous articles recently published in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) that speak to the importance of butterfly & hummingbird gardens.
The butterfly and pollinator garden at Jordan Winery in Healdsburg, Sonoma County, was designed to encourage a trip around property to view the sanctuaries created for our pollinating friends. Read the wonderful overview here.
A simple, meaningful afternoon project with mentors and mentees.
It is a joy to see such happy faces and to understand that this effort is truly making a contribution to the community and our greater ecosystem.
We were inspired by our surroundings as we created with enthusiasm this gift to benefit butterflies and hummingbirds in the Sonoma Valley and beyond.
Tina Baldry, the program director at the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, spearheaded this project with Karin Campion Mattoon and myself.
We look forward to hearing from you with pictures and thoughts on how your garden grows. Enjoy a beautiful Earth Day!
Bring Beauty to your Home this Spring with a Butterfly & Hummingbird Flower Garden Let’s Celebrate Spring, Earth Day 2021 and Help our Pollinator Friends!
I want to share with you a community outreach butterfly & hummingbird flower garden seed distribution program created just in time for Spring planting.
Gardens are an important element of homes here in Sonoma Valley. In a spirit of celebration for Spring and mother earth, Brenda McNeill and friends will help you to enhance your own with a gift of seeds to create beauty and abundance. These high quality seeds have been specially curated to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, treasured contributors to our larger ecosystem. Whether in a personal garden or expansive field, they bring inspiring beauty and joy to our lives. The garden above is my own, wisteria in full bloom, and is often visited by local pollinators.
The butterfly and hummingbird flower garden seed gift packets will be available to residents during the week before Earth Day 2021. Each packet contains a mix of seeds ready for planting and chosen to promote beautiful flowers. In addition to the seed packets, a complete list of flowers will be enclosed, as well as an overall information sheet and simple planting guidelines.
Brenda McNeill, Karin Campion, Sonoma Nature Club members and Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance mentors + mentees have lovingly created these seed packages for community gifting to be retrieved at local businesses. Our intention, in addition to helping the birds and butterflies, is that this Spring gift will serve to support our local Sonoma business community.
Explaining the idea to the wonderful members of Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, partners in this gifting program.
I love this picture of a mentor and mentee taking a closer look at a hummingbird nest I had found alongside the road recently. Nature + Science + Curiosity are a bedrock of what I hope to encourage.
We all had a wonderful afternoon of filling seed packages and chatting about butterflies, birds and bees. Here we are at Sonoma Garden Park.
We will deliver the gifts to Sonoma businesses by April 15th. The community can visit one of these local business participants to pick up a Butterfly & Hummingbird seed packet from the 15th through the 25th of April. A few participating businesses are listed below. This list will be updated regularly until the 15th.
In and around Sonoma, the Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden Gifts can be found at:
Baker & Cook
Bartholomew Estate Vineyards And Winery*
Basque Boulangerie Café
Off Broadway Cleaners
Prohibition Spirits Distillery
Scott Nichols Gallery
Sign of The Bear
Sonoma Country Antiques
Sonoma Mission Gardens
Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau
Taub Family Outpost
The Corner Store
Tiddle E. Winks
Vinny’s A-1 Shoe Repair
Williams-Sonoma, Sonoma Store
Wine Country Garden Center
Gifts will be available at Bartholomew Park beginning on Earth Day, the 22nd.
The Butterfly & Hummingbird Seed Mix contains seeds that will grow some version of the following flowers from Spring into Fall. Flowers reach about 3 1/2′ and create a meadow effect.
Eschscholzia californica – California Poppy (A)
Gaillardia aristata – Blanket Flower (P)
Gaillardia pulchella – Indian Blanket (A)
beris umbellate – Candytuft(A)
Liatris spicata – Blazing Star (P)
Lobularia maritima – Sweet Alyssum (A)
Lupinus perennis – Perennial Lupine (P)
Monarda citriodora – Lemon Mint (A)
Ratibida columnifera – Prairie Coneflower (P)
Rudbeckia hirta – Black-eyed Susan (P)
Salvia coccinea – Scarlet Sage (A)
Asclepias tuberosa – Butterfly Milkweed (P)
Callistephus chinensis – China Aster (A)
Centaurea cyanus – Bachelor’s Button (A)
Cheiranthus allionii – Siberian Wallflower (P)
Clarkia amoena – Godetia (A)
Coreopsis lanceolata – Lanceleaf Coreopsis (P)
Coreopsis tinctoria – Plains Coreopsis (P)
Delphinium consolida – Larkspur, Rocket (A)
Echinacea purpurea – Purple Coneflower*
An example of wild California poppies ,which grow naturally and in abundance along Valley roads and open fields.
Early Spring blooming lupine can be found in and around Sonoma Valley. Both lupine and poppies are favorite pollinator plants for bees and butterflies and are included in the seed mix.
Sonoma has a beautiful pollinator garden at Sonoma Garden Park which is carefully tended by a few dedicated volunteers.
Nearby at the Garden Park is this very active bee hive. Bees are one of our most essential pollinators. California has close to 6,000 flowering plants, and bees perform a key role in the dissemination of pollen, allowing these plants to provide much of the produce that we consume.
These white pear tree blossoms are aglow in the late afternoon light. I recommend the Picture This app which was well reviewed by a renowned gardener recently. Capture a photo of a plant or tree with the app for immediate identification.
Simple Planting Guidelines:
DAYS TO GERMINATION: 10-28 days at 65-75°F (18-24°C)
SOWING: Direct seed (recommended). Prepare a weed-free area or pot. Broadcast mixture lightly and evenly over the planting area. Gently tamp seeds into the soil to ensure good seed-to-soil contact. Plant no deeper than 1/8″. Keep the area moist to aid germination.
PLANTING SEASON: Plant in spring, early summer, or late fall. For fall sowing, wait until the soil temperature is too cool to allow seed germination (below 40ºF/4.4ºC).
LIGHT PREFERENCE: Sun.
PLANT HEIGHT: 10-48″ Plant heights vary depending on species.
SOIL REQUIREMENTS: Average, well-drained soil.
A favorite food of the monarch butterfly is milkweed, included in our Garden Seed packs.
I wish you a lovely Spring and hope that you will stop by one of these Sonoma Valley shops or the Visitors Bureau to pick up your Butterfly & Hummingbird Flower Garden Seed Gift, beginning April 15th.
Those of us who are sponsoring this community gift would love to hear how your garden grows. We are so excited to support our pollinator friends and look forward to making a contribution to the Sonoma community and our friends who own businesses in this area.