Pruning Native Plants: Tips We’ve Found Useful

Pruning Native Plants: Tips We’ve Found Useful

Our California native plants are hanging in for the winter — undoubtedly hoping for some real winter rains. In the meantime, for many it’s the time of year to do some pruning. There are exceptions (see below) but pruning in the winter months before new growth starts is often recommended. Here are some takeaways that we’ve employed – mostly from the book Care and Maintenance of Southern California Native Plant Gardens, by Bart O’Brien, et al,  along with some tips we’ve learned the hard way.  [Read more…]

My, What Rains Bring to the Desert in Spring – Anza Borrego

My, What Rains Bring to the Desert in Spring – Anza Borrego

We’ve had 17 inches of rain in our inland Southern California city this rainy season. That’s a lot for us. Our nearby deserts have received about half that. Along with pleasant temps, this translates into stunning wildflower and cactus flower displays which began in February.

For locals, it’s not too late to go. We drove to Anza-Borrego State Park yesterday. We stopped at several points, walked 50-100 feet from our car, and…. amazing! See below for photos – when I know what it is I identify it…. [Read more…]

Favorite Plants: California Native Trees and Shrubs

Favorite Plants: California Native Trees and Shrubs

If you’re in the market for a tree or shrub, consider California natives —  for a number of reasons.

While we’ve received nearly two inches of rain this fall, Southern California is still in an extreme drought. California native trees are drought tolerant and have the best chance of success once they get established. They attract native beneficial insects and birds. Plus, there’s a surprising variety to choose from.

I contacted local experts from the California Native Plant Society for their favorites. I also tapped Abby and Jason Harned, [Read more…]

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…]