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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

CNGA's 6th Annual Field Day at Hedgerow Farms

Hedgerow Farms hosted the 6th annual California Native Grasslands Association (CNGA) Field Day on Friday, April 19th. It was a sold-out event with over 130 people in attendance, including the many volunteers who help make the event happen. Thank you to everyone who attended and also thank you to the volunteers! A special thanks to the sponsors: Bay Natives, Delta Bluegrass, Dow AgroSciences, Pacific Coast Seed, and S & S Seeds. 

It was a full day with two tours, lunchtime speakers, a visit to a nearby restoration site, and a social hour at the end with fantastic music from the Putah Creek Muckrakers (thanks!). Below are some of the highlights.

Walking Tour

The walking tours focused on small-scale restoration and landscaping projects and techniques. We walked through fields of milkweed, Asclepias sp., and spotted a monarch caterpillar on Asclepias speciosa. Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on milkweed plants. 

A monarch caterpillar on Asclepias speciosa.  Photo by Phil Hogan
One of the stops highlighted several species that are often used when replacing traditional lawns with native, drought tolerant alternatives. These include Carex praegracilis and Carex pansa which look the closest to traditional lawns. We also looked at a native meadow which is more natural look. 
Kimora Ward with native bee specimens.
Photo by Phil Hogan
Tour leader Andrew Fulks in a native meadow.
Photo by Emily Allen
Kimora Ward with UC Davis talked about native pollinators at another stop on the tour. She is with the Neal Williams Lab and is looking at  which pollinator plants preform best in our area. She and her team are monitoring the pollinators that are visiting different native forbs, including plots on our farm. She has also been working on developing an ideal pollinator mix. 

Straw Bale Tour

The second tour loop was a driving tour on straw bales to look at some examples of large-scale restoration projects. There was a stop at a roadside to view a hedgerow and roadside planting. We also looked at the contrast between vegetated canals and "clean" canals as well as a tailwater pond. Both vegetated canals and tailwater ponds improve water quality and reduce soil erosion. 

Tour leader Chris Rose talking about a restored roadside with a hedgerow.  Photo by Emily Allen
This tour spent a lot of time in a large restored area on the west side of the farm. The restoration on this site began in 1990. We have been using it for grazing, seeding and herbicide trails since then. The area has some Stipa (Nassella) pulchra, purple needlegrass, that are over 20 years old. 

The straw bale tour going along a canal in the habitat area of the farm. Photo by Emily Allen
Richard King talking about rangeland management.
Photo by Phil Hogan
Richard King is a retired USDA-NRCS rangeland specialist. He spoke about the importance of managing rangeland for long-term health. He argues that more attention needs to be put on building the health of the soil to create healthier rangelands and that grazing can be a useful and beneficial way to manage native grasslands. 
The habitat area. Photo by Emily Allen

Lunchtime Speakers

Bryan Young and John Anderson introduce the lunchtime speakers. Photo by Phil Hogan

John Greenlee talking about a sexy grass.
Photo by Phil Hogan
At lunch there were several featured speakers. John Greenlee works extensively with natives and naturalized plants in landscaping applications. He is the author of The American Meadow Garden: Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn. He highlighted several species and varieties he likes to work with, inclduing the "sexy" Bouteloua gracilis 'Blonde Ambition.'

Dr. Paul Aigner,  co-director of the UC McLaughlin Natural Reserve, spoke about the unique challenges that come with managing sites with serpentine soils. 

Rachael Long, Director of the Yolo County UC Cooperative Extension gave her annual update on beneficial insects and hedgerows. 

Paul Aigner talked about serpentine soils.
Photo by Phil Hogan
Rachael Long giving her research update.
Photo by Phil Hogan

Field Visit: Citrona Farms

The afternoon field visit was to a restoration site that was seeded with native grasses in the early 2000s.  The site was burned in September of 2012 and the native grasses have recovered very well. Dr. Drew Rayburn with UC Davis talked about his research on monitoring restored grasselands. He is monitoring many sites throughout Northern California including this one.  He is also developing and testing new cost effective ways of implementing restoration in grasslands. 

Dr. Drew Rayburn discussing his research. Photo by Emily Allen
Bryan Young discussing the restoration site. Photo by Emily Allen
Thank you again to everyone who attended! We hope to do this again next year. Thank you Phil Hogan for allowing us to use his wonderful photos. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Spring Is Here!

It has been way too long since our last post! Last fall was a very busy planting season, there were orders coming in regularly all the way through the beginning of this year. While that was fabulous for business, it meant that the blog fell to the bottom of the to-do list. The farm received very little rain so far this winter, but a lot of things are still greening up and beginning to bloom. Here are a few photos from the past week:

The first bloom on the Ray Hartman Ceanothus
Lupinus albifrons, silver bush lupine, is one of the first flowers to bloom
Calandrinia ciliata, red maids, is another early blooming native that likes disturbed soils

Phacelia tanacetifolia, lacy phacelia
Layia chrysanthemoides, smooth tidy tips

A field of Achillea millefolium, yarrow

We also have lots of flowers available in plug plants from our nursery:

Our on-site nursery is full of great looking plants
Clarkia purpurea, purple clarkia

Spring is a great time to plant plug plants.  They will need some source of water until they get established. Some of the species not shown that we have include: Symphyotricum chilens (Aster chilensis), California aster; Eschscholzia california, California poppy; Grindelia camporum, gumplant; Oenothera elata ssp. hirsutissima, evening primrose; and Sisyrinchium bellum; blue eyed grass. Please contact us if you would would like pricing or availability.

Clarkia concinna, red ribbons
Monardella villosa, coyote mint

Madia elegans, common madia

The grass fields are also starting to flower:

Nassella pulchra, purple needlegrass, from Malibu
Poa secunda, one sided blue grass from the
Carrizo Plain National Monument

6th annual CNGA field day at Hedgerow Farms:

 You can sign up now for our 6th annual California Native Grasslands Association Field Day at Hedgerow Farms on Friday, April 19th. Please visit CNGA's website for more information and to register:

Hope to see you there!

Field tour on Field Day 2012
 Field tour on Field Day 2011. Photo by Phil Hogan

Photos taken by Emily Allen unless otherwise noted

Friday, August 3, 2012

Happenings at Hedgerow Farms in July

Harvest is almost done and seed cleaning is well underway.  Here are some photos from the farm in the heat of the summer:

A black tail deer in one of the cut fields
The waterways around the farm are filled right now. We are irrigating a few of the fields that are harvested in the winter including Muhlenbergia rigens, deergrass, and Artemisia douglasiana, mugwort.

Winter's Canal full of water
A tailwater pond filled with water

Elymus triticoides (creeping wildrye) straw being baled
There are a lot of pollinators around the farm right now including dragonflies and lots of monarchs.

If you are interested in learning more about dragonflies, specifically about their migration check out the Migratory Dragonfly Partnership website:

A saddlebags dragonfly on Agrostis ssp. (bentgrass)
If you are interested in learning more about Monarch butterflies check out the Xerces Society's website page dedicated to them:

A monarch on Asclepias fascicularis (narrow leaf milkweed) with Elymus trachycaulus (slenderwheatgrass) in the background
A very hungry monarch caterpillar feeding on Asclepias eriocarpa (Indian milkweed)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Celebrate National Pollinator Week!

This week is National Pollinator Week! It was initiated and is managed by the Pollinator Partnership. The Pollinator Partnership is a great resource for all things pollinators and you can get more information at their website:
 Pollinator Partnership Website

The Xerces Society also is a great resource for pollinator information:
Xerces Society CA Pollinator Resource Center Webpage

To celebrate we have compiled several of our favorite pollinator photos that were taken around our Farms by the owner, John Anderson.  Enjoy these and get out this weekend and look around for pollinators in your area.   

A bumblebee on phacelia, Phacelia californica
A swallowtail butterfly on coyote mint, Monardella villosa
A bumblebee on common madia, Madia elegans

A swallowtail butterfly on pink flowering currant, Ribes sanguineum var. glutinosum

A honeybee getting ready to land on common madia, Madia elegans

A bumblebee on bull clover, Trifolium fucatum

A skipper butterfly on goldenrod,  Euthamia occidentalis

A honeybee heading for vinegarweed, Trichostema lanceolatum

A Buckeye butterfly on button-willow, Cephalanthus occidentalis

Some honeybees and a butterfly enjoying coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis

A bumble bee on golden lupine, Lupinus densiflorus

A bee on Bolander's sunflower, Helianthus bolanderi

A bee on tomcat clover, Trifolium willdenovii

Two bees hanging out on cliff aster, Malacothrix saxatilis

A bee on California aster, Symphyotrichum chilense (Aster chilensis)
A hummingbird on evening primorse, Oenothera elata ssp. hirsutissima

A hummingbird enjoying California fuchsia, Epilobium canum

A monarch butterfly on narrow leaf milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis

A Duskywing butterfly on Bolander's sunflower, Helianthus bolanderi

A bee (maybe a wasp, not sure) honing in on an evening primrose, Oenothera elata ssp. hirsutissima bloom

An Anna's hummingbird  (Calypte anna) in it's nest 

A butterfly on Agastache urticifolia, horse mint

A pollinator on caterpillar phacelia, Phacelia cicutaria

A wasp on narrow leaf milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis

A bumblebee on deergrass, Muhlenbergia rigens
A monarch and two bees on showy milkweed, Asclepias speciosa
**This was edited on July 2nd to correct for the miss identification of butterflies as moths as pointed out by a reader. Please let us know if you see anything else, we know the plants but are learning our pollinators!