California Native Plants

Landscape Design Guide: Over-used Landscape Plants and California Native Substitutions

July 21st, 2011  |  Published in California Native Plants, Landscape Design

Any visitor to California with a horticultural eye would notice a handful of reoccurring plants throughout the state.  From freeways to strip malls to homes, there is a stunningly uniform variety of plants in the landscape.  But this is no mass conspiracy masterminded by evil growers.  Rather, this is a testament to some very tough plants filling some difficult roles.

But because our mediterranean climate allows the use of thousands of varieties of plants, it is high time some of the usual suspects in the landscape are phased out and replaced with some low-water, low-maintenance, native plants that match or out-perform the old guard.  Consider this Landscape Design Guide’s  suggestions for some California landscape ideas:

Rhamnus ‘Mound San Bruno’ (Coffeeberry) for Rhaphiolepis indica (India Hawthorne)

  rhamnus for rhaphiolepis 001 Landscape Design Guide: Over used Landscape Plants and California Native Substitutions Read the rest of this entry »

5 Tips for Designing California Native Gardens

June 21st, 2011  |  Published in California Native Plants, Landscape Design

The good news is there’s no single right way to design a California native garden.  Whether you would like to dabble with a few plants here and there or have a regionally appropriate all-native garden, you may experiment as freely as you wish.  And with hundreds of varieties of native plants to choose from and a limitless number of unique sites, how could there be single a right way?

But with that said, a poorly designed native garden will fail faster than you can say “Lyonothamnus floribunus asplenifolius” (that’s Catalina Ironwood for the non-Latin folks).  Without proper research or forethought, one can unwittingly mix riparian plants with desert plants, underestimate plant size and place too closely together, or select the wrong plant for a given spot in the garden.  So in an effort to foster the creation of more beautiful, successful native gardens throughout California’s cultivated landscape, here are five tips we believe are the most often over-looked by beginners:

1)  Visit Mature Native Gardens:

visit garden 001 5 Tips for Designing California Native Gardens Read the rest of this entry »

Why California Natives?

January 4th, 2011  |  Published in California Native Plants

Simply put, native plants are those that existed in California prior to European discovery and settlement.   Over many thousands of years, the flora of California has evolved to be in perfect concert with the complex geography and climate of the area.  No matter the type of soil, solar orientation, altitude, or climate, a plant (or number of plants) has evolved to take advantage of the available opportunity…all without irrigation!

california native plants Why California Natives?

But in California’s short history post European contact,  thousands of exotic plants have been introduced, many of which are benign and rarely grow beyond the confines of a garden.  However, a growing number of exotics displace natives and compromise the inherit value of plant communities.  Read the rest of this entry »