Favorite Aspect of Summer in Your Garden

Gardener’s Corner | Questions and Answers with Local Experts 

By Dan Songster, 2018 July

This column offers chapter members and local experts a chance to briefly share information on many things related to gardening with natives. The question for this issue: What is your favorite aspect of summer in your native garden?

Linda Southwell: “Monarch caterpillars munching on milkweed, Marine Blue butterflies dancing on buckwheat blossoms, and imagining possibilities for the fall planting season.”

Nancy Harris: “My front and backyard are both small, each with a large Canary Island Pine. The landscape has evolved into a tapestry of California natives, each pushing to claim their space. Beach Strawberry, Aster Chilensis, Irises (purple, lavender and white), some large rocks, Santa Barbara Daisies, California Fuchsias, and Yerba Mansa bloom at different times during summer to keep me and the wildlife happy.”

Brad Jenkins: “Flowers from buckwheats, California fuchsia, golden bushes—and all the pollinators buzzing around these plants in the sun. Plant growth slows, so maintenance minimizes to finding one relatively cool part of each month to water, and maybe deadheading those golden bushes (and maybe not, if I go on vacation.)”

Rama Nayeri: “I have a patio garden so my plants are all in pots. My favorite aspect of the garden during the summer is sitting out on the bench with a hot cup of tea smelling the Cleveland Sage.”

Leon Baginski: “Insects!!!!!! Summer brings out scores of pollinators to my Eriogonum, pale and tiger swallowtails to my Rhamnus and Prunus with eggs and caterpillars, hover fly larvae munching on my aphids, golden eye lacewing flying graciously around the yard at night. Too many critters to list and so many to see!!!”

Laura Camp: “I love the green lush leaves of Western Sycamore and other deciduous plants, and the myriad bird activity.”

Dennis & Susan Keagy: “We just like working in our garden which probably does more for us than we do for it. So no one sea– sonal aspect really stands out, but after the spring flower season ends summer means clean–‐up time. We leave the flower seeds for the birds, trim back plants for renewal (re–‐exposing ground and rocks), then chill, only needing to put down a little water from time to time as most of our natives are naturalized.”

Celia Kutcher: “My favorite summer aspect is that my garden requires no water & very minimal maintenance.”

Mark Sugars: “Almost every day this summer, it seems, at roughly the same time of day, a pair of Lesser Finches—but whether actually mating or merely dating, I don’t know—have been showing up, and perching on the flower stalks of the White Sages and Black Sages in my front yard, and feasting on Salvia seeds for a while, before flying off.”

Dan Songster: “My favorite part of summer in the native garden is the late afternoons when the sun is dropping, temperatures start to cool (we hope) and the silvery foliage colors of many plants tend to glow! These include both sagebrush (Artemisia cali–‐ fornica and A. tridentata), purple sage (Salvia leucophylla), Catalina snowflake (Constancea nevinii), and conejo buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum). Good time for fragrance in the garden as well!”

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