California native plants are adaptable to many situations and designs. They thrive on little water (unless they grow near streams), add color and attract birds and beneficial insects to the garden. With recent rains, the gardens are expected to look lush.
A fraction of the more than 6,000 species, sub-species and varieties of plants native to California are available at specialty nurseries, including the Theodore Payne Foundation’s retail nursery, Grow Native Nursery at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, and Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano.
Laura Camp, general manager at Tree of Life Nursery and past president of the California Native Plant Society, said many specialty nurseries emphasize evergreens that are drought tolerant.
“When you’re talking about neighborhood front yards, your foundation plants should be green year-round,” she said.
Among the plants Camp recommends are the lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia) and sugar bush (Rhus ovata), both longlasting shrubs that can be pruned or left to grow upwards of 10-30 feet.
A Mediterranean Garden
The lemonade berry can also be incorporated into a Mediterranean-style garden, according to the California Native Plant Society, with other plants like the rosemary-leafed California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum), Tecate cypress (Hesperocyparis forbesii), European olive alternatives mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus) or desert olive (Forestiera pubescens) and containers of non-native citrus.
When asked for some tips, the CNPS suggested: “Finish the Mediterranean look with these touches: raised beds for herbs and simple edibles, a fountain or birdbath, formal look near the residence and informal farther away, pots, and a shaded eating area.”
A Modern Garden
Getting the modern look can be accomplished with any plant, but especially plants that have clean structural lines that are placed in organized masses or lines.
Lines can be straight or curved, but evident. Spacing is important.
In creating his linear modern garden, Nicholas Tan, the homeowner, who also runs Urban Organics Design, relied on repetition, contrast and a minimalist plant palette.
The front yard features a blue Canyon Prince wild rye (Leymus condensatus ‘Canyon Prince’ ) bunchgrass in a linear planting framed by a Corten steel raised planter in front of the porch and soft green carex groundcover in the foreground. Corten steel raised bed provides a modernist accent because of its association with art, most famously Richard Serra’s monumental outdoor sculptures.
On each side of the unadorned walkway are a western sycamore (Platanus racemosa) and a western redbud (Cercis occidentalis).
Other plants that can achieve a modern look include deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens), coastal agave (Agave shawii), San Diego Barrelcactus (Ferocactus viridescens), ceanothus “Snowball” (Ceanothus rigidus), and manzanita (Arctostaphylos).
A Cottage Garden
With cottage style, the emphasis is on blooms.
A diverse array of flowering shrubs that bloom year-round is key to cottage style. In the Oxford Square garden, showy blooms of the desert native lilac verbena (Verbena lilacina) provide color for much of the year.
Perennial shrubs and annual wildflowers sewn in November and December bloom simultaneously, but when the wildflowers disappear, the shrubs carry on the lush cottage look.
Fragrant pitcher sage (Lepechinia fragrans), Ceanothus “Concha,” California aster (Aster chilensis), and different species of penstemons also contribute to the look.
A Hillside Garden
If you live on a slope and don’t know what to do with it, take a page from this Beverly Hills garden celebrated in the book “The Gottlieb Native Garden: A California Love Story.”
Homeowner Susan Gottlieb began transforming the property around her 1960s home more than 25 years ago, “and she’s still trying to get her neighbors on board even after showing them how beautiful native plants can be,” Otto said.
A staircase leads down the steep back hillside, terraced and planted with stabilizing natives, some upright and some that spill over. Plants of different root depths provide the best stabilization.
According to the CNPS, these include white sage (Salvia apiana), lemonade berry, coyote brush (Baccharis pilularis), California buckwheat and manzanitas such as “Howard McMinn” or “Sunset.”
A Desert Garden
With the drought, many homeowners have shifted to desert-style landscapes.
But you can add desert species of plants with leaves and flowers to your cactus and succulents, too.
New to the tour is a recently transformed front yard in Highland Park. The garden is a balance of hardscape, sculptural succulents and cacti, and blooming shrubs and wildflowers.
“The desert has some incredible species of native plants that are really unique, like the apricot mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua), which is colorful and blooms almost year-round so it’s providing a nectar source,” Otto said. “So use the spring to do your research, use the summer months to hone in and plan a design for your garden, and then actually do the planting in the late fall and winter.”
15th Annual Theodore Payne Native Plant Garden Tour
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 14 and Sunday, April 15
Where: Westside and South Bay on day one. San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley on day two.
Published at Fri, 13 Apr 2018 10:50:44 +0000