How are You Updating Your Garden this Year?

Gardener’s Corner | Questions and Answers with Local Experts 

By Dan Songster, 2014 September

This column is a regular newsletter feature offering chapter members and local experts a chance to briefly share information on many things related to gardening with natives. Our question for this newsletter is “With fall here, what changes are you planning for your native garden this coming year?”

Brad Jenkins – “After years as a native plant test area, the whole yard is getting a structured redo. My plant desires and a landscape architect’s design are creating a garden to benefit nature, have low water use, AND be aesthetically pleasing to the neighborhood association. There will be a narrow strip of entry turf for my wife, some edibles for me, a little patio for entertaining, low garden walls for organization, and lots of Southern California natives at varying heights with flowers during every season.”

Ron Vanderhoff – “I already have a few Manzanita’s in my garden and of course I love them. However, I have a rare African bicolored version Coral Tree (Erythrina coralloides ‘Bicolor’) as well, and as much as I enjoy the odd two colored flowers, it has to go. Fortunately, I’ve reserved a large Manzanita ‘Dr. Hurd’ from a grower up in Central California and it will be my next addition. Been looking for one for a couple of years can’t wait.”

Celia Kutcher – “I will be replacing a couple of my coastal sage scrub species that have died of old age, and IF there’s reasonable rain I’ll sow annual wildflowers for spring color.”

Susan Krzywicki – “I am promising myself to document the garden…finally…and then customize and update my maintenance schedule.”

Chuck Wright – “At our mountain house we mulched heavily in hopes that the natives would survive the summer and fall dryness. Here in Irvine I plan to plant some more natives that fit the riparian theme required by my wife’s roses.”

Orchid Black – “All my new clients are taking advantage of cash-for-grass, which is now $2 per sq. ft. in most cities here in the San Gabriel Mts. Area. Those funds give them a big incentive to trade the old clunker of a lawn for a new low-on-gas native landscape (no mowing=no gas used!)”

Dori Ito – “With the anticipation, the hope, the promise of Fall, and the possibility of some rainfall, I plan to finally take out the last two non-native plants in my back yard, the 2 very large privets and the heavenly bamboo and replace them with a Manzanita or two (still mulling species suggestions) and a copperleaf plant.”

Thea Gavin – “Fall changes planned: removing (with sadness and fond memories of its fragrance) a purple sage (Salvia leucophylla) near my back door, as well as some woody Dudleya virens, which I plan to divide and replant (after raising their planting spot into more of a mound) along with some to-be-determined companions . . . perhaps another conejo buckwheat (Eriogonum crocatum). I have three of these wonderful buckwheats around my garden already; they seem to like it here in Orange, and I like their compact growth and colorful leaf and flower show . . . striking silver leaves along with yellow flowers that turn to long lasting rusty orange (eventually darkening to brown).”

Jennifer Beatty – “Am planning to make more defined pathways, add purchased mulch where I didn’t have it before, and when getting new plants, pay even more attention to putting them where they will flourish. In keeping with my desire for providing habitat, I’m adding new planting areas and some plants I haven’t tried yet.”

Dan Songster – “As usual at Golden West College Native Garden we are already planning for our late fall plantings. Of course there will be the replacement of several favorite plants that have died (in part due to drought stress) and planting a couple of Hesperoyucca whipplei to replace those that died back after blooming. This year we will also plant a hillside in simple buckwheat (Eriogonum fasiculatum) and continue to improve our native bulb collection.”


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