In “Wild Farm,” next week’s episode of “Late Bloomer,”, we meet Lisa Putnam and her sister Kathleen, who are master gardeners and they take us on a tour of Lisa’s family farm in Woodside, CA. Lisa explained that her insectiary brings in beneficial insects which eat the bad insects, like aphids!

Insectiaries are areas staffed with those types of plants which will attract beneficial insects. (Wikipedia) They particularly love flowers that are flat on top, Kathleen said, called Umbels, like carrot, dill and parsley. Let those go to seed, Lisa said, and they bring in beneficial insects which will reduce your crop-destroyers.

I returned with the intention of planting some insectary plants in my small garden.

The California native plants that I bought at Grow Native Nursery over the weekend serve two purposes, to bring in beneficial insects and attract lots of butterflies and also promote drought tolerant plants which need no fertilizers and exist very well in California’s dry, clay soils.

Yesterday, I removed a huge bush under my olive tree, that required a lot of maintenance, with the purpose of reconditioning the soil and starting my insectiary.

This turned into quite an operation with my neighbor, C.L., giving me a hand with his 25 pound iron pole/blade. Between the two of us, pushing, pulling and slamming that blade down into the roots about 50 times, we finally got it out. The bush nearly filled my garden waste bin.

That was a lot more work than I imagined, but getting it out was only the beginning. I raked and pulled out roots and stones for about two more hours before I was able to add some sifted soil to the mix.

Truly an urban gardening scene, here. Dog walkers just have to go around when I’m gardening near the sidewalk.

I’m also going to plant butterfly bush across the sidewalk under the Princess Flower, but first, I have to remove some invasive wood sorrel that shot up since the buckwheat was cut. That’s my job for this afternoon.

This spots gets only about four to five hours of direct sun per day, so I planted sun/part sun Solanum and one of the milkweeds, Asclepias fascicularis behind it. The milkweed will get weedy at the bottom, so by planting the Solanum in front, it will hide the weediness of the milkweed. Here’s the finished result, last night about 8PM.

Thanks for reading! – Kaye