Every year in my garden, and in the garden at Tree of Life Nursery where I work, and maybe in your garden, too, the earliest Manzanita to bloom is Arctostaphylos refugioensis. Last year it had plentiful flowers at Christmas, but this year it’s quite early and in full bloom in time for Halloween.
On Saturday, October 30th, I attended a talk by pollinator and native plant expert Bob Allen at the nursery, and in the course of a talk about gardening for butterflies he mentioned that manzanitas are good nectar plants for adult butterflies and moths. When I arrived home later that afternoon, lo and behold, two Monarch butterflies were fluttering high around my front yard, and further observation showed that their target was the profuse blooms of my Refugio manzanita. Guru Bob strikes again! Continue reading