Good news! Although Covid-19 shut down our planned free tours of California Native Plant Gardens in Redlands CA last month, you can visit four of them through videos below.
We purposely planned yards in different stages, each one replacing some former water-thirsty lawn. There’s also a Spring walk through Caroline Park, a City of Redlands park dedicated to native plants. Click on the link to watch the 3 to 8 minute videos.
- Master Gardener Brenda Spoelstra’s is brand new, planted in January. The design approach for this California Native garden was to use the architecture of the plants, to mix height, color, and texture for the viewer by beginning with a taller manzanita variety centrally located, surrounded by color and a small walking path to a bird bath. This newly planted garden will fill out over the coming years.
- Master Gardener Betty Richards’ beautiful yard illustrates 3-5 year growth. Betty’s yard is a great example of transitioning a 1980s landscape of front and back lawns to a low-water use garden, with primarily California native plants in the front yard and a mix of California natives and other water-wise plants in the back. Most was done in the fall of 2015. This maturing garden features plants flowering year-round, which attract hummingbirds as well as native bees.
- My yard – Linda Richards – is the mature (some would say overgrown!) 10+ year old yard. In early 2009 Linda and her husband replaced a dead lawn with two dragon trees, and many California native plants, including different species of manzanitas, ceanothus, and buckwheat, plus Nevin’s Barberry that used to be prevalent in Redlands. Initially planted for drought tolerance, the California native plants have established a rich habitat garden that ushers in butterflies, birds, bees and other beneficial bugs. The backyard features a steep slope, paths and benches among an established orchard and a mix of 80+ year old natives and non-natives.
- A Walk in Caroline Park – Come on a Spring walk to see blooming shrubs and flowers in Redlands CA’s city park, Caroline Park, a one-of-it’s-kind city park dedicated to California native plants. (Produced by Betty Richards). I also spearheaded a project with the Friends of Caroline Park to put up four interpretive signs explaining the value of natives. So visit and learn more through those.
Thanks to Ed Harrison at the local Riverside-San Bernardino California Native Plant Society (CNPS) chapter for getting these up.
Brenda, Betty and I have had numerous discussions about why we love and encourage people to consider plants native to your area. I’ve written many articles on why, and on my favorite plants (click on the Plants and then Native Plant categories in the menu at the top of the website.). Here are our main reasons.
- Use 80% less water. ($100 in monthly water usage cost drops to $20 or less). In California where we live, rain often occurs only half of the year so irrigation is required. Once established, natives require little to no supplemental water.
- Support Pollinators much better than introduced ornamentals
- Require no fertilizers and fewer pesticides than lawns
- Do well here. Native plants have evolved and lived through changes in temperature, diseases/predators and precipitation.
- Provide shelter and food for wildlife at a vastly higher rate than non-natives
- Offer year-round beauty when plants are chosen with blooming times throughout the four seasons