Visiting Renee’s Garden

Renee's Carden cat grass seedsI was in Felton, California yesterday, a small, mountain community about 45 minutes from here. It’s also home to Renee’s Garden.  I mapped their address from the packet of seeds and went in search of their gardens.  It was quite a letdown when the address turned out to be a small, nondescript office instead.  Not a garden in sight anywhere.

Although I didn’t bring home a camera full of photos, I learned a bit more about the company.  Renee gathers seeds from around the world, then grows them in her test garden at home for two years, before releasing them to the public.  The seeds are not treated or genetically modified.

I’ve been growing Renee’s Cat Treats Gourmet Mixed Greens for several months for my sister’s cat, KT.  He’s an indoor kitty who loves his greens, and is especially fond of this mix.  I grow a weeks’ worth of nibbles in my kitchen window, then she takes a pot home for KT.

KT eating grass

KT Enjoying his Gourmet Mixed Greens

Renee’s garden is a participant in the Great Sunflower Project, the brain child of Gretchen LeBuhn.  It’s a data collection project that will eventually produce the first real map of the state of the bees. You can learn more about Renee’s participation and the Great Sunflower Project on their respective sites.

I purchased a variety of bee-attracting seeds last week. They include Renee’s Native Orange California Poppies, Dusky Rose, also California Poppies and Double Click Bouquet Cosmos, a summer favorite. I’m going to sow a few seeds now, then save the rest for early spring. Won’t those bees be happy?

Special thanks the Heidi Harris.

Renee's garden flower seeds

Renee’s Garden Flower Seeds

Halloween Countdown

snail hotel collage

Snail Hotel Pumpkin

A. Checking in
B. New VIP entrance
C. Underground parking
D. No Vacancies
E. Putting on weight
F. How it all began

The Great Sunflower Project


Sunflower with small centerHave you heard of The Great Sunflower Project?  It’s “The world’s largest citizen science project focused on pollinator conservation.”  Simply put, ordinary citizens count bees in their yard and report it on the Sunflower Project site.

Gretchen LeBuhn, founder and director of the project, is a scientist in the biology department of San Francisco State University.  She started the project to collect data on the effects of pollination in our own back yards. The site features several interesting articles and videos.  You’ll also find reports on the collected data.  Details and links to the site are at the end of this post.

Bee in the LavenderWhy count bees?

Scientific studies show a decline in honey bee and native bee populations.  Bees are critical to agricultural success and really to life itself. The goal of this project is to obtain consistent results from urban, suburban and rural gardens throughout North America.

The Great Sunflower Project

People all over the country are collecting data on bee pollination in their yards, gardens, schools and parks. We take 15-minute counts of the number and types of bee visits to sunflowers (and other plants). We have been gathering information on pollinator service since 2008, and now have the largest single body of information about bee pollinator service in North America. Thanks to our thousands of observers, we can determine where pollinator service is strong or weak compared to averages.  (Source:

My sunflowers are going to seed, so it’s too late for me to participate this season. I’m going to tuck this away for next spring, and hope others in North America are inspired to join me as well.

What you can do:

  • Plant Sunflowers, preferably Lemon Queen
  • Register and report findings on the site here.
  • Purchase seeds through Renee’s Garden.  She will donate 25% of her proceeds to the project.