Thursday, March 20, 2008

Native Gardens

Today I was reminded how beautiful drought tolerant plants can be. My kids and I went to the Arlington Garden off of Pasadena Ave. Right now you can't miss it because there is sea of poppies. It is a great public garden in Pasadena that is all Mediterranean plants and a great place to get inspiration for your garden.

This garden is helpful to me because I have been pretty recently converted to natives. About 4 years ago Dan discovered natives and started planning how to landscape our yard using them. I used to dream of a beautiful English garden at my house with roses and other large flowering plants and did not understand my husband's excitement about these leggy, woody shrubs and grasses that are native to this area.

Although they were not very beautiful to me, I did appreciate that we did not have to water them after the first year, they did not need any fertilizer, and they required little maintenance. Now they have certainly grown on me (Ha, Ha) so much so that I just planted about 25 more this year. Although some look a little weary now, they have great potential. They don't look great all the time but that is the fun of it. One day they are blooming and there are bees, butterflies and hummingbirds around them and I feel a great appreciation for what God put in this particular area. There are also natives like the Matillaja Poppy that I like just as much as a beautiful rose.

One of my favorite places to hang out now is the Theodore Payne Society which is native plant nursery in Sun Valley. Along with all a great selection of native plants, they have wildflower seeds, art, gardening books and kid's book about local creatures and plants
They also do great educational stuff like help with garden design and garden tours (I'm sure they look a lot better than our humble garden). Theodore Payne sells small plants but many local nurseries will sell larger plants. Lincoln Avenue nursery in northwest Pasadena has a great selection of drought tolerant plants.

Here are some tips in planting natives that I have learned
*plant and seed in the fall
*some natives have brittle roots like matillaja poppies and carpinterias, so follow planting directions
*water and put mulch around your natives for the first year
*go visit some native gardens/Mediterranean gardens to get ideas

Some resources

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