How to Plant and Water Native Plants

How to Plant and Water Native Plants

I recently attended a “How to Water and Plant Native Plants” seminar at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden. (There’s another one Dec 17 from 10-11am).  Andrew Chambers, who works with RSABG’s Nursery and Conservation programs, shared what he’s learned from experience and discussions with other native plant experts. He also demonstrated RSABG’s recommended planting technique (see photo gallery below).

You will find native plant nursery websites and experts have instructions that vary some, but here are recommendations (I’ve bolded what I think are most important) and why they’re important. [Read more…]

Lessons Learned on our Waterwise Landscaping (and upcoming native plant sales)

Lessons Learned on our Waterwise Landscaping (and upcoming native plant sales)

Note: RSABG in Claremont CA has a free talk on Dec 17, 10-11am  on “How to Water and Plant Native Plants” 


After a baking hot summer in SoCA and no precipitation, we’ve revisited our previous planting and watering schedule. We’re still happy we went with mostly California native plants, but it’s always good to keep learning – therefore the following ‘Lessons Learned’.

Native Plants Need Some Water

Spurred on by an excellent publication “Watering Native Plants”  by Tree of Life Nursery, we’ve learned the following about this challenging area of growing natives. [Read more…]

Low-water Plants for Summer Heat

Low-water Plants for Summer Heat

As for many in California, the numerous days of 100+ degree heat has been tough on our vegetable garden, roses, fruit trees and well, pretty much everything (including ourselves….)

But we continue to have some plants – mostly California natives or their hybrids – that look good despite little to no water. Being natives, they also provide the best habitat for our local insects, birds and butterflies.

The following should be planted in fall through early winter, [Read more…]

See our native landscaping on the Redlands Garden Tour April 16-17

See our native landscaping on the Redlands Garden Tour April 16-17

One week from now (Sat/Sun, April 16-17) our yard is one of six featured ones on the Redlands Garden Tour and Plant Sale. As some know from my articles, in 2008 we replaced most of our lawn in front with drought tolerant — mostly California native –plants. Now it’s a mature example of how lush native plant landscaping can be.

Other features of our yard: [Read more…]

Weed barrier – don’t use!

Weed barrier – don’t use!

It’s great that many people are replacing grass with low-water landscaping, especially in the Southwest where lawns don’t make sense. One concern (along with trees not getting adequate water) that I’ve noticed is the widespread use of weed barrier cloth. Our Redlands CA fire stations have even used it in their waterwise demonstration projects.

While it might help with weeds initially, weed barrier cloth not necessary and is even harmful. [Read more…]

Drought-busting: Why to Plant Natives?

Drought-busting: Why to Plant Natives?

The drought here in California — we’ve received less than 8 inches of rain here in Redlands —  is encouraging much discussion on how to reduce water usage. I’ve written a lot about our use of California natives in our landscaping so I want to reference some of my popular articles on why they’re a great solution.

First, a quick review of why to choose natives (which applies wherever you live): [Read more…]

Native Plants Do Help Habitat for Wildlife

Native Plants Do Help Habitat for Wildlife

A friend forwarded an article “Are We Really Helping” by plant ecologist Susan Tweit that questions how much the planting of native plants aids wildlife.  The answer is yes, it does. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, while keeping some mature (50 + years) California natives such as Sugar Bush (Rhus ovata) and California Sycamores (Platanus racemosa) on our property, we’ve converted a former lawn in our front yard to mostly native plants. We’ve also taken out dead or half-dead oleanders in our backyard and plugged in local California native plants such as sages (salvias), toyons and elderberries.  The result has been more wildlife, evidenced by butterflies, small native insects, bees and wasps that visit our plants (and our pool where I fish them out), and larger critters photographed in our wildlife camera. Photos below. [Read more…]