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Garden

Spring & a Native Plant Garden

by Lorraine on April 13, 2011

It’s been very busy for me the last few weeks and I’m trying to keep up with regular posts, but I’m finding it to be difficult, as I’m being pulled in a multitude of directions.

With the arrival of spring that was proceeded by copious amounts of rain during the winter, the garden has exploded in new growth, robust life & looks postively amazing!

Initially I thought I would mention what plants were beginning to bloom but now it’s past that phase and then I thought I would talk about some of the gardens I saw last weekend on the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants…(what a mouthful)  garden tour.

Now I’m thinking that I probably should be sharing the fact that my OWN garden will be on tour this coming Sat. April 16th from 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon.

I am part of a native plant garden tour that is being co-chaired by the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens and the California Native Plant Society (Channel Islands Chapter).   This event will cover Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and should be a wonderful event.

Between now and then, I will be labeling my plants, sprucing the garden up a bit and I will also have a selection of native plant books for people to peek at and other handouts.

And I will be  promoting my social networking site for people that love nature, native plants and anything associated with sustainability.    It’s free to join and I feel it  will  grow to be quite large over time as more people wish to share their thoughts, ideas and experiences in creating wildlife habitats or just enjoying nature.

http://bit.ly/hQt7xC

At some point in the near future, I will let you know what is blooming in the garden and also my experience with the Theo. Payne garden tour.   There’s just too much going on right now for me to share it all, but I promise, I will.

Go dig, go plant, go “native”!

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Landscaping with CA Native Plants

by Lorraine on March 19, 2011

Undoubtedly, I’m not much different from many other people and have made a common mistake with my garden.

I over planted it when it was new and I bought far too many plants.   In retrospect, I’m sure that I could have used about 25% fewer plants and in the process I would have spent less money and have had less aggravation later on, as eventually I found it necessary to start digging out some that got too large or just weren’t working out where they were placed initially.

I was new to this experience and I was very uninformed about native plants.   I had no idea how quickly they can grow and that the “rule of thumb” is to give them plenty of room when you are putting them into the ground.   At least 3′ to 4′ between each plant for enough space for them to grow.

The one area were I didn’t make a mistake, was that I only purchased plants in one gallon containers as recommended.  Anything larger than that, is risky when transplanting and certainly more expensive.   So stick to the one gallon size and don’t be tempted to buy anything larger.

What is totally amazing, is that within one year, how quickly natives will grow!   So heed my warning here, pay attention to spacing and be sure to research your plant choices before you buy them and be certain that you have enough space so that you won’t have to remove any plants later on.

Here are the ones I removed or trying to manage from being invasive:

Encelia californica/CA Sunflower.   I love it the plant, but it got to be too large.

Leymus condensatus/Cyn Prince Rye.   I love the color & shape of this grass but it gets huge.   I ended up removing 6 plants.

Juncus patens/Wire Grass.   Again, I love the color & the structure of this grass, but it’s invasive & I will be digging it out next winter but I may put it into some ceramic pots.

Santa Barbara Daisies.   Very, very invasive.   They were placed in one small section of my garden, but they have been a TOTAL PAIN in the “you-know-what”…and I’m constantly digging them out.

So there you have my initial experience as a neophyte in using native plants for my landscape.   And I love the change from the cruddy lawn, have no regrets and my garden rewards me all year long with it’s beauty and the wildlife it attracts.

Just don’t over plant!   Instead, sit in your garden, enjoy it’s sights, sounds and smell along with a good glass of Merlot!

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Valentine’s Day in a Native Garden

by Lorraine on February 14, 2011

While lover’s are sharing expressions of “love” and romance on what is “officially” the one day of the year to do so (Why not show your love everyday?), I am digging in the garden and moving some plants around.

Gardening is an expression of “love” that doesn’t entail the typical emotional dramas that far too often occur between human lovers but more of something that comes from being united with nature and observing where you fit into the natural world.

Just like lovers, there are disappointments, such as  when a plant dies or frankly it just doesn’t have the personality that you were hoping would enhance your garden, but you get over it, unlike being hurt or betrayed by someone you thought  loved you….

Those kind of hurts can take months to recover from….but a betrayal by a plant?   lolo…no drama in that.   It just ends up in the mulch pile and continues it’s evolution as it breaks down and eventually becomes potential energy for other life.

Yes, today is a beautiful, lovely, caressing day of emotion that pulls upon my heart.   The garden is filled with new blossoms, the fragrances of the Saliva’s puts me in mind of being out on a trail, hiking for the day and makes me feel quite happy.  Birds are swooping in and of of the garden on their individual missions to find nesting material for their house plans and wooing their own “Valentine” avian lovers…..

However, my garden is my “lover” and one that accepts me unconditionally regardless of my mood or frame of mind and it continuously provides me with the nurturing and love that we all need.  Just a little attention from me and it thrives and provides a place of retreat in our busy daily lives.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all Gardners and nature!

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Snow-Free California

by Lorraine on January 12, 2011

It’s an amazing and gorgeous day here in southern California.   While the east coast and Canada are being buried underneath snow drifts, the sun is shining and the sky is clear.

The temperatures are expected to reach 80 degrees by Saturday and then slowly descend down into the mid-70’s by the following week.   No wonder so many people want to live here.   Our weather is very appealing and there is no snow to shovel and icy roads to navigate!

With all the rain that has fallen in the last two months, my garden has exploded in growth.   Several plants are starting to bloom and many bulbs are coming up through the earth and everywhere I look, I see something new and changes in the landscape.

There are lots and lots of California Poppy seedlings and I know I will have a visual feast of glowing, orange flowers within the next couple of months.

It’s really too early for this kind of activity and I guess you could call it a “false” spring, as we could still have some very cold temperatures, as it’s truly winter.  And if that should happen, it will kill or at least cause some of these early bloomers, to die back.

The warm sunshine has brought many different types of birds into the garden and they are feeding on the seeds they find as though they are at a banquet.  And  I half expect to see some lizards due to the warmth but I guess they are still sleeping, tucked away under the rocks.

They know it’s not Spring as of yet.

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December Garden Chores

by Lorraine on December 14, 2010

For the last few weeks I have been very busy making changes in my garden and I’m just about done with I wanted to do.   Initially I had planned to remove all of the Canyon Prince Rye grasses, two sages and begin trimming many of the plants.

Winter and fall are very busy times if you have a native plant garden because most of the maintainence and planting is done then.   With the recent rains that we’ve had,  my garden has come to life and every day it looks a bit different and requires some attention.

Many of the bulbs are popping up due to a period of time when the temperatures were warmer and oh my gosh…there are a million California Poppy seedlings that have sprouted, even in the cracks of the sidewalk.

The fuschias are done blooming and they will be my next target for pruning within a couple of weeks or so and I do intend to put in a couple of new plants in a place where I just removed a Desert 4 O’clock that was under a window and was too messy.

I divided some Blue Eyed Grass today, as they are now beginning to be very happily established and since there are so many of them, I dug a few up and transplanted them to another location.   I hope they don’t die but do well because they are so beautiful and I love their blue flower.

I moved two Salvia mellifera’s from the garden to the backyard and actually they came up pretty easily.   But again, I don’t know if they will survive but hopefully they will, as I enjoy the smell of them and their beautiful blooms in the spring.

We are expecting some rain this weekend, so that’s why I wanted to get all of this done in time to take advantage of it and the cooler temperatures, too and I feel as though I have managed to complete what I set out to do.

Then there’s the Liquid Amber leaves.   I have four of them in my front yard and I love them but everything is buried in their leaves and I can’t rake them up fast enough before they get deeper.

Whew!   I ‘m tired but satisfied and I love how the garden is looking.   All I need to do, is step outside, step into my garden, inhale its fragrance and sink into it’s tranquility.

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