Gardening with natives

Lewis’ Clarkia (Clarkia lewisii) & Common Madia (Madia elegans)

The Chapter's Horticultural Group

Native Plant Gardens

The chapter includes a horticulture group which is focused on growing native plants for pleasure and for sales like our annual fall plant sale and a spring earth day sale and encouraging their use in landscaping. Our primary activity takes place at MEarth which also hosts both Plant Sales. As MEarth volunteers we are required to pass background checks and adhere to the rules for activities on Carmel Unified school district property. The nursery site at MEarth provides a small greenhouse and shade house and a variety of Themed gardens (Butterfly garden, Bee garden, Bird garden) that provide seed and cuttings for our propagation efforts. We meet every Friday from 3:30 to 5:00 and welcome any and all that would like to sharpen their propagation skills, offer their willing hands or expertise, or just hang out with some fun, interesting people.

Future plans include Horticultural themed meetings with some of our local experts as well as guests from throughout the state. These meetings will occur During the months in between our general meeting months. Notices will be posted on the website calendar and in the newsletter.

The state CNPS website has much useful information about gardening with native plants.  See, for example, the following:

The Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden

The Lester Rowntree Native Plant Garden was created in 1980 with help from the Monterey Bay chapter of the California Native Plant Society, to display California native trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants that are adapted to cultivated gardens. The garden was planted in honor of Gertrude Ellen Lester Rowntree, a long-time Carmel resident, and a renowned botanist, naturalist, lecturer and gardener. Falling in love with California native plants after she immigrated to southern California from Penrith England in 1887, she traveled throughout California by burro, jalopy and on foot, taking extensive field notes and photographs. Her success in collecting, propagating and adapting these plants to gardens have made a tremendous impact on cultivated gardens in California.

Lester’s son Cedric and his wife Harriette carried on the Rowntree passion for preserving the environment and were instrumental in the funding and maintenance of the Garden. In 1980, after Lester’s death at the age of 100, the California Native Plant Society, using funds given in Lester’s honor, created this small native plant garden. Cedric and Harriette were particularly active in the funding, planting and maintenance of the Garden.

Although just over an acre, this garden contains a great variety of California native plants. Mature trees and shrubs are the backbone, with annuals, perennials, bulbs and succulents displaying in spring and early summer. A special bulb garden brightens the paths towards the house. Arctostaphylos and Ceanothus are well represented with many species and cultivars. Over 100 informative plant labels are in place throughout the garden. In any season visitors can enjoy beautiful vistas towards the Carmel Mission and Point Lobos. Numerous benches and easy walking trails add to the pleasure of this tranquil garden.

The garden is open to the public everyday from dawn to dusk, and is located at 28500 Hatton Road, Carmel.

The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

The century-old native plant garden at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History was created to be a living field guide to California’s Central Coast. This garden features three spaces that reflect the area’s important local ecosystems – coastal scrub, chaparral and oak woodland – as well as a butterfly garden and an ethnobotanical area featuring plants that local California Indians used for daily utility.

Beyond its modern aesthetic and educational value, the new Native Plant Garden is fulfilling a historic precedent: The 1900 by laws of the Pacific Grove Museum Association state that the “Museum will develop a garden of native flora, which together with the museum shall represent and preserve the life of the region.” More than 100 years later, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is illuminating the progressive ideas of its founders by showcasing the Central Coast’s native beauty in this botanical garden of note.

The California Garden at The Arboretum at the UC Santa Cruz

The California Garden at The Arboretum at the University of California, Santa Cruz boasts many species and cultivars of interest to gardeners. Many of these were originally selected in the wild by Arboretum staff, and have since been propagated and released to the horticultural trade. Epilobium ‘Hurricane Point’ has been an especially popular selection. Showy natives are well represented at the Arboretum, including bush anemone (Carpenteria californica), woolly blue curls (Trichostema lanatum), wild lilacs (Ceanothus spp.), monkeyflowers (Diplacus spp.), buckwheats (Eriogonum spp.), salvias (Salvia spp.), and the eye-catching flannel bush (Fremontodendron spp.).

Many California natives are extremely rare in the wild, and the Arboretum has some of these plants on display. In addition to housing an extensive collection of native bulbs, the Arboretum has several rare Channel Island plants: the Santa Cruz Island bush mallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus subsp. nesioticus) and a selection of island barberry – Berberis pinnata subsp. insularis ‘Shnilemoon’.