Seek Local Native Plants for Cold (and Hot) Tolerance

Seek Local Native Plants for Cold (and Hot) Tolerance

“One of the advantages of growing local native plants is that the plants from your immediate vicinity are well adapted to our climate’s yearly fluctuations and can take those rare days with winter low temperatures and high temperatures in the sumners” – Bart O’Brien, RSABG

IMG_0138

our agave ‘Blue Flame’, coffee berry, Mexican feather grass and manzanita did well in recent cold snap

Here in California we’ve had some unusally cold weather this January [Read more…]

Favorite Natives: Hardy, Dramatic Manzanitas

Favorite Natives: Hardy, Dramatic Manzanitas

Manzanitas (arctostaphylos) are one of my favorite native plants. Their reddish bark offers a striking contrast to their green leaves, which look healthy even when temps start soaring. Very drought tolerant, they grow well in the West as long as [Read more…]

Favorite Natives: Western Sycamore

Favorite Natives: Western Sycamore

Here in Redlands CA, ESRI employs 2000 and is a huge presence in our town. With hundreds of sycamore trees dotting ESRI’s campus, the tree is obviously a favorite of the company’s founder, Jack Dangermond. “I like this tree. It makes people feel good when they are around them,” says Dangermond. He followed with more than a dozen characteristics, which include its rustic, casual character and sculptural multi-colored trunk, big beautiful leaves that offer changing seasonal colors, and its plentiful food for birds. But of course, It’s hard to find a perfect tree.  Sycamores can be messy, and they may trigger allergies for some people.

The California or Western Sycamore (Platanus racemosa) is also a favorite of mine. Here is some info about this fast-growing, deciduous tree. [Read more…]

Favorite So. California Native Plants

Favorite So. California Native Plants

We had a garden club meeting in my town (Redlands CA) and were lucky to have as our speaker Bart O’Brien from the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) in Claremont. He presented a wonderful talk about California native plants. More importantly, he shared his favorites for our area. These feature good survival rates [Read more…]

Favorite Natives: Salvias (Sages) for Aroma, Wildlife and Spectacular Flowers

Favorite Natives: Salvias (Sages) for Aroma, Wildlife and Spectacular Flowers

Native California salvias (commonly called sages) make my favorite list for many reasons: their spectacular show of flowers spring through summer, their aroma that permeates the air, especially after rainfall. Also, the sages in our landscaping offer great wildlife habitat. I have photos of butterflies, hummingbirds and a variety of bees taking the nectar, while a variety of birds [Read more…]

Taking Care of Our California Native Oaks

Taking Care of Our California Native Oaks

9/5/14 Note: I’ve added an article on care of oaks during drought

I love our majestic old native oaks here in California. And like many, I get distressed when I see one dying, especially from improper care.

Background: There are nine species of native tree oaks in California – In SoCA most of our live oaks (called ‘live oaks’ because they are green year-round, not deciduous) are Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia) or Valley Oak (Quercus lobata). Scrub Oaks and the rarer Englemann Oaks are common ones in our area.

But back to dying oaks. [Read more…]

Favorite Natives: Buckwheat for Bees & Butterflies

Favorite Natives: Buckwheat for Bees & Butterflies

Wherever you live, if you want to attract bees to pollinate your garden or you want to add more butterfly plants to your yard, you can’t find a better plant than buckwheat — or the many varieties available today. I just returned from a favorite walk, which winds through a neighborhood of large lots, most edged with large stands of native plants. The bees were busy [Read more…]