Renee’s Garden: Building that Butterfly, Bee, and Bird Friendly Garden!

I received my Renee’s Garden order not too long ago and I’m getting ready to put those seeds in the ground…or in pots to transfer once the weather warms.

Renees Seed Packets

We’ve been in our current location for 3 years and I’m just now starting to grasp how to create a wildlife friendly habitat and garden in a Zone 2/3 climate. Originally I did the research on my Central Oregon gardening zone and the charts showed it was 5A. No way can I go by that designation! The old-timers here with successful gardens say that a more accurate designation is probably a Zone 3 but sometimes a Zone 2. This is because we have many summer nights that dip down to near or below freezing. I now make sure any plants I grow will have a fighting chance, which means looking at the plant tag to make sure it can survive at -20 or -40 degrees F.

>>>>>If you aren’t sure what gardening climate zones are, you can read more here: USDA Hardiness Zones.

It’s important to purchase plants, trees, and seeds that will thrive in your climate zone or you’ll be wasting your time (and money). I’m sharing all of that to help you see that I live where I won’t be able to grow a vegetable garden without the help of a greenhouse. So, I am focusing more on growing a colorful flower garden that will grow and bloom within our very short growing season.

garden build oregon may 2020

This year I chose my Renee’s Garden seeds with a new purpose. My husband and I are rototilling about 1,200 square feet of grass area to create large garden box plots for flowers that will be attractive to bees, butterflies, and birds.

Renees Garden seed packets may 2020 (2)

Here are the Renee’s Garden seeds we chose:

  • Early Blooming Beekeeper’s Mix: We grew these in our garden box last year and although it took awhile to get the seeds going, we had a beautiful display of this colorful mix of flowers.
  • Seeds for a Hummingbird Garden: I’m excited to give this mix a try even though I’m not sure about the results. I will share the results later this summer.
  • Seeds for a Butterfly Garden: This mix is going to be so colorful and pretty!
  • Chocolate Cherry Sunflowers: We successfully grew these gorgeous burgundy colored sunflowers last year, so they are already tucked into some pots in an attempt to get some growth before they need to go in the ground.  We have them on a table that we bring into the garage at night and then drag out into the sunshine every day.
  • Van Gogh Sunflowers: These are my absolute favorite sunflowers and we had them in the garden last year (and many summers in the past when we lived back in California).
  • Heirloom Blue Delphiniums: I have these in pots and I’m hoping they grow and will find their way into the new garden boxes.
  • Butterfly Monarda: This is a new selection for our garden and I’m anxious to see if they are successful in our climate zone.
  • Heirloom Poppies – Lauren’s Dark Grape: We had such a huge display of poppies last year that we decided to try another variety.
  • Swallowtail Fennel: We had this fennel in our garden last year and its beautiful golden color was so attractive. I want to increase the number of plants this year.
  • Forget-Me-Nots Azure Bluebirds: We loved these little blue beauties in our shady flower bed last summer and I’m going to expand the area again this year.

Please note that I receive some of the seeds as a promotional thank you from Renee’s Garden. I have purchased and used her seeds for many years now and I’m never disappointed.

Renees Garden seed packets may 2020 (1)

Gardening is such a therapeutic activity during this pandemic. As our planting deadline approaches, we are working furiously to get the beds ready to give all these amazing plants a good shot at growing and thriving in our crazy short growing season.

Are you dreaming of a flower garden this year? I highly recommend clicking over to Renee’s Garden to look for your seeds. It’s not too late to order and get them going in your yard. See if your children want to pick a few seeds for their own little flower garden or even just a container garden on your porch, deck, or balcony. The magical experience of planting a seed and seeing it spring to life is something powerful to children.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Garden Wildflower and Weeds Index @handbookofnaturestudy

Click over to my garden resources and see if you find some inspiration to get you going.




Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge: Snowberry Nature Study

Brand New! Outdoor Hour Challenge

Snowberry Nature Study

I realize that many of you will not have access to this interesting shrub to examine in person this week. But, you can read all about it and then think of shrubs you have in your local area to compare it to during your outdoor time.

  • You can look for shrubs with berries, use a field guide to identify that shrub and then make some comparisons to the snowberry.
  • Then, in the future when you come across a snowberry plant, you will be armed with a little knowledge about what makes this shrub interesting and adapted to its habitat.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Snowberry Shrub Nature Study

Please note that I won’t be posting the complete challenge here on the blog, but you will find the detailed challenge in the High Desert ebook that is available both in the Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level memberships. Sign into your account and download the ebook for the details, more links, and notebook pages.

High Desert Ebook cover graphic

If you don’t have a membership yet, you can click the graphic above and join today for immediate access to the 25 ebooks and so much more! Remember that all levels, even the Discovery level membership, include access to all of the archived newsletters!

Topics in this ebook include:

  • Bitterbrush
  • Sagebrush
  • Greater sage-grouse
  • Succulents
  • Mountain Lion
  • Coyote
  • Pocket Gopher
  • Bristlecone Pine
  • Elk
  • Turkey Vulture
  • Juniper
  • Snowberry
  • Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel
  • River Otter


Join Us Ultimate Naturalist January 2020

 If you would like to purchase a membership, you can use the discount code SPRINGTOGETHER to receive a $10 discount on an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

Mammal Nature Study and Journals

Mammal Nature Study and Journals

Do you have some time on your hands these days for a little extra nature study?

Here’s a short of list of the newer Outdoor Hour Challenges you may want to complete that feature some totally awesome mammals. I’m personally working my way through the list in my own study and following up with nature journal pages for each one. I still have a few more to go!

Forest Fun ebook cover graphic

Black Bear Nature Study

Porcupine nature journal page

Porcupine Nature Study

Moose Nature Study

High Desert Ebook cover graphic


Elk Nature Study

Coyote mammal nature journal

Coyote Nature Study

Douglas squirrel golden mantled ground squirrel mammal nature journal

Golden Mantled Ground Squirrel Nature Study

Mountain Lion mammal nature journal

Mountain Lion Nature Study

Pocket Gopher Nature Study

river otter nature journal

River Otter Nature Study


You can click the link below to find all the mammal related nature study ideas here on the Handbook of Nature Study. I invite you to click on over and find something too!

Outdoor Hour Challenge Mammal Nature Study Index @handbookofnaturestudy


This is the perfect time to purchase an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership using the discount code SPRINGTOGETHER and receive $10 off.

That means you will receive all the benefits of a membership for just $35!

Benefits by Level graphic 2019 to 2020 updated January 2020