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Sage Words About Wildlife

Mutualism is one of the words that scientists use to describe the mutually beneficial relationship between many animals and plants. If bird talk could be translated to human languages, we might hear a songbird tell a flowering plant, "Let me eat your seeds, and I'll spread them far and wide."

Similarly, flowering plants produce nectar and pollen that feed butterflies, honeybees, hummingbirds and other small wildlife. In return, these animals help insure the survival of species by carrying pollen from one plant to another.

Even lowly snails and slugs have a role in the garden although we gardeners may think their job is simply to frustrate us by leaving holes in foliage. Yet they consume leaf mold and other organic detritus on the soil and fertilize plants in the process.

And frogs, one of our favorite forms of wildlife, love to snack on these crunchy, slimy creatures along with other tiny insects. Beneficial spiders, also in search of insect meals, are another balancing agent in the web of plant and predator life in gardens and greenhouses.

At Flowers by the Sea, we can't help but pay close attention to ecosystems and the helpful role that small wildlife play in life on a horticultural farm. So we like to give them their due in our All Things Salvia blog where you will find articles including how to identify the source of leaf nibbles, why deer don't enjoy eating sages and serious problems with migration and food supplies for pollinators.

We also like to encourage our customers to grow plants that will provide habitat for small wildlife, which is another reason why we post "Sage Words About Wildlife" stories in our blog.

Plant Milkweeds, and you provide food and lodging for Monarch butterfly babies. Plant a mass of Salvias, and you create a fill-up station for butterflies, honeybees, hummingbirds, hoverflies and who knows what other helpful insect that wanders by. You welcome and encourage nature.

How to Find Food for the Bees at Flowers by the Sea

Posted: Monday, September 29, 2014
Synopsis: Forgive the bad pun, but we almost wouldn't be without bees. These tiny pollinators make it possible for us to eat and experience the flowering beauty of the world around us. Honeybees -- the kind managed by beekeepers -- and thousands of wild species pollinate at least one-third of the plant species we eat. At Flowers by the Sea we've decided to improve our efforts to help the genus Apis. Our first step is to make it easier for you to find plants honeybees frequent by making our catalog easier to search for bee favorites.

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Sage Words About Wildlife: Hummingbirds Love Lobelias

Posted: Monday, August 4, 2014
Synopsis: Top-10 lists of hummingbird favorites almost always contain Salvia and Lobelia, because each genus is nectar rich and offers many species in bright reds, oranges and pinks. Hummingbirds have a weak sense of smell, but bright colors, such as those of Lobelias, lure them to flowerbeds. They are particularly devoted to the four types grown at Flowers by the Sea.

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Sage Words about Wildlife: 4 Seasons of Hummingbird Salvias

Posted: Friday, April 25, 2014
Synopsis: Regional differences in seasonal temperature and humidity affect the choice of Salvias to plant in hummingbird gardens. The varying seasons in which particular sages bloom and the part of the world where they originated also determine whether they attract hummingbirds. Flowers by the Sea offers suggestions based on regions and seasons.

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Sage Words About Wildlife: Threats to Monarch Butterfly Migration

Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013

Worries about declining numbers of the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) emerged several times this past year in newspapers and on wildlife websites. Yet this isn't a new problem. Due to research by organizations such as Monarch Watch as well as tracking efforts by the Mexican government, we now know about the dramatic ups and downs the species has experienced in the past 20 years. We have a clearer picture of how Monarch migration is endangered. You can aid the miracle of migration by Monarchs and other butterflies by planting butterfly gardens containing both nectar and host plants. At Flowers by the Sea, we grow a wide range of butterfly favorites.

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Owls in the Salvia Garden

Posted: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Synopsis: Beginning in early winter and continuing through August, nightlife at Flowers by the Sea is a major hoot. Make that multiple hoots. We are home to a variety of owls all of which have somewhat different mating seasons. Owls are particularly noisy when seeking and trying to impress potential mates. Read about the many surprising places where owls live and listen to spectacular recordings of four species

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Sage Words About Wildlife: Climate Change Alters Hummingbird Migration

Posted: Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Nature doesn't come to a sudden, overall halt, when the timing of its ecosystems slip, including ones involving hummingbirds. Instead, change occurs gradually. Plants and the animals that pollinate them have coevolved to meet each other's needs. An example is the long beaks of hummingbirds and deep, tubular flowers. Both sides of this survival equation suffer when the phenology -- or timing -- of hummingbird and plant connections is thrown off. Recent scientific studies explore these shifts and climate change. You can help by planting hummingbird habitat in your home garden. We detail ten nectar-rich Salvias and companion plants that are hummingbird favorites.

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Sage Words About Wildlife: Birdbath and Hummingbird Feeder Care

Posted: Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sometimes it is difficult for hummingbirds to get all the nectar they need from the garden, even if you have many Salvias. Hummingbird feeders supplement mother nature and attract a crowd of the Family Trochilidae. Water features, including misters, are also good attractants. However, both feeders and water features need to be kept clean so they don't harm hummers.

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Sage Words About Wildlife: Do Deer Devour Salvia?

Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Salvias are not a favorite food for deer. However, they will eat some when plants they consider tasty are in short supply. There is no such thing as deer-proof plants, but you can limit deer damage to your landscaping and vegetable garden by planting lots of sages and other plants that aren't among deer favorites.

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Ask Mr Sage is one of the most popular categories in our Everything Salvias blog. Here are a few of the latest posts:
Ask Mr. Sage: How to Place Advance Orders with FBTS - Flowers by the Sea is a mail-order nursery eliminating craziness from garden planning with advance orders and customer selection of shipping dates. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature based on calls and emails received by FBTS. This article details how to use our redesigned preorder process and other catalog tools for making sure you get the plants you want when you want them. Ask Mr. Sage: How to Select Plants for Garden Triumph - Planning for Salvia garden success requires following the rule of selecting the right plant for the right place. Desert sages aren't appropriate for the damp Southeast. Moisture-loving ones aren't right for desert climates where they need lots of watering to survive. Flowers by the Sea Farm and Online Nursery offers tips for selecting plants based on local climate. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: How Should I Prune my Salvias? - Flowers by the Sea Online Nursery specializes in Salvias and often receives questions about how to prune them. Although getting good at pruning takes practice, Salvias rebound quickly if you make mistakes. A key to successful pruning is understanding the varying needs of four main categories of sages. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the FBTS Everything Salvias Blog. Ask Mr. Sage: Do You Offer Free Shipping? - Like free lunches, free shipping is a myth. Flowers by the Sea doesn't offer free shipping, because it would require increasing plant prices to cover the cost of shipping. Read more to learn how FBTS sets fair shipping prices. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and notes from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: Best Time to Plant Drought Resistant CA Natives - Drought resistant California native sages thrive when planted in fall. It's easier for roots to become established when soil is warm, air temperatures are cooler and precipitation is increasing. Ask Mr. Sage is a regular feature of the Everything Salvias Blog and is based on calls and emails from customers. Ask Mr. Sage: What Is Shipping in Boxes Like for Salvias? - It's understandable to worry about the condition of plants following shipment in a box. However, Flowers by the Sea Online Plant Nursery is exceedingly careful to make sure your plants arrive in healthy condition. A satisfied customer sent us the photos in this article. Step by step, they illustrate the process of unpacking and hardening off FBTS plants received by 3-day ground delivery more than 1200 miles away from our Northern California farm.