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Four Years Later

by Lorraine on February 17, 2012

I was looking at the pictures on the right side of this site, that rotate and show different aspects of the garden and one that includes Deena who originally helped with it’s design, when I realized how much the garden’s appearance has changed.

In the four years since I pulled out the lawn and created the garden, I am amazed at the difference.   Comparing the pictures on the site to ones that I’ve taken since then, there is a huge difference.   I have since removed quite a few plants and changed up some others in the meanwhile, but what is quite obvious, is how quickly everything grew.

Here is a picture that I took in the spring of 2011 when the garden was in high-gear and displaying a bounty of blooms.   At this time in February, things are more sedate but there are hints that soon a show will be debuting, although probably not as spectacular as last year because there has not been enough rain.

Sometimes I wonder where the time as disappeared to….and I wish life would slow down a bit and I can’t believe that it’s been as long as it has been since I started my project.

But there’s never a regret, the garden is a lovely place to spend a few hours, watching birds (Especially the hummingbirds…they’re in love with it) and seeing how the setting sun back lights the grasses & plants at the end of a day  into a soft, sensuous glow.

And what do you think?



Dreaming of Meadows

by Lorraine on February 16, 2011

I recently attended a symposium hosted by the California Native Plant Society, Channel Islands Chapter in Camarillo for an entire day.   There were several speakers but one in particular I was very eager to hear his presentation on using native grasses for landscaping.

John Greenlee is a horticulturist and the owner of Greenlee Nursery which is the oldest grass nursery in California and he is passionate about using native grasses in landscapes in lieu of the traditional and boring lawns that are typical of most suburban landscapes.

He has become a specialist in creating meadows….meadows to dream upon, feel, smell, loll upon and invite wildlife into it’s lovely realm.   I have always been intrigued by meadows and the diversity of the plants, animals and birds that use them for habitat but never thought of having one of mine own. 

 I can remember as a child, looking at them along the coast of California as we drove to San Francisco to visit my grandmother and noticing how they appeared to be like the ocean, as they waved and swirled with the current of the wind that passed over them.  They were so beautiful.

Grasses are sensual, moving and hypnotic to the eye.   In the spring they can be a beautiful shade of green and in autumn, their golden hues gleam in the sun.  I enjoy observing the Nodding Needle Grass/Nassella cernua in my own garden as the first green sprouts come up in spring and then dry out during the summer, leaving me with beautiful, tall golden strands of grass that make beautiful indoor arrangements for the house.

 It’s healthy for the environment, provides habitat for wildlife and doesn’t require fertilizers, lawnmowers or pesticides.   It’s interesting to know, that the typical suburban lawn in Los Angeles on a daily basis, contributes 22 tons of air pollution each day.   This comes from lawn mowers, leaf blowers and edgers and all the combined chemicals needed to keep it green and pest free, which of course, runs off into the gutters and eventually makes it’s way to the ocean….another problem.

Shocking!   Isn’t it?

A landscape that is made up mainly of native plants, doesn’t require wasteful amounts of water or combat to keep it healthy and looking good.   And the same can be said for using native grasses…they perform beautifully,  just as they have evolved to do so.

I picked up a copy of “The American Meadow Garden” while at the symposium which was of course, written by John Greenlee and I am just starting to read it.   The photography is gorgeous, the prose well written, inspiring and I’m relishing it and enjoying the book and the information that he provides about grasses from all over the world.

Some people want a sports car, some the latest technological gadget, a smaller nose or to be a rock star. 

I want my own meadow.

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December, Already?

by Lorraine on December 9, 2010

Well, I guess you could say that I’m not exactly posting regularly here about the events or lack “of” as to what’s going on in my garden.   Most of the summer was rather quiet and it’s then that a native plant garden goes into a kind of slumber as it coasts through the long  hot days of the season.

I had been trying to decide what I would do about the Canyon Prince Rye Grass, as I commented in my last post and I finally dug up (lets see here,  hummm) four of them but I still have three to be removed.

Obviously, there were too many put into the garden three years ago and what I didn’t know at the time, was how large they would become and that they obviously  loved the conditions in the garden and thrived.

It took some digging to get out the ones I did remove and I am noticing some shoots coming up here and there where they previously were and that could be a future problem.  This means I will have to pay constant attention and make sure that they don’t get a “root hold” again…..

In their place I have planted some Purple Three Awn native bunch grass and several Yarrows.   My color palate is grayish-blue and yellow.   Mixed in with this are the amazing Woolly Blue Curls that continue to amaze me in their resilience and look healthy and are still blooming.

This weekend I plan to remove the rest of the Canyon Prince and also remove two Salvia mellifera and attempt to relocate them to my backyard.  I don’t know how successful this will be, but I want to keep them and I have more space in the backyard for them to spread out.

The garden evolves as we all do, circumstances change and nature’s moods and music continue to delight, regardless of what is happening in the world.



Native Plant Garden Melody

by Lorraine on May 5, 2010

Well, that’s how I tend to think of my garden, a melody or maybe a concerto.   Not only is there the wonderful smells and textures of the plants but there is most definitely a melody; a melody of tranquility and peace.

Something that everyone seeks and needs in their lives.

And it is an entire orchestra made  up of nature’s instruments that plays their arias throughout the day that consists of many different tunes and songs, wending their lovely melodies into our hearts and minds.

Obviously the birds lend their voices and lately there has been quite a number of visiting musicians to the garden.   Humming Birds, House Finches, Lessor Goldfinches, Mockingbirds, Mourning Doves, the return of the Hooded Orioles and others.

And there are the bees….they have so many choices to collect pollen.   I wonder where their homecomb stash is?

The “Hummers” have a favorite perch on a bend stem on the Channel Island poppy bush and although the stem looks a bit unattractive, I wouldn’t dream of removing their throne, since they love overseeing the garden from it and chasing off any unwanted interlopers.

Bush Anemone Starting to Bloom

In the last few days the Bush Anemone has begin to bloom and has the most beautiful, white flowers on it that look like small Camillas and I am sure that the Hummingbirds and bees will be visiting it for its nectar as it is quite alluring in its appearance.

The Bees and Hummingbirds will love this!

The melody raises and falls, there is a variation in the tune and each day the rhythm of the melody of wind, temperature and song changes to reflect the nuances of nature and life goes on…

And that’s one reason for having a native garden.   I become part of it too and lend my melody of love to it’s pages.

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Reverence for Nature

by Lorraine on April 28, 2010

My greatest dream is to transform the suffering of humanity into peace and happiness for all inhabitants of the planet, leading to respect for the dignity of all life within the environments of the earth.   There is no separation between ourselves and nature, all is interconnected and profound if only people would awaken to this truth.

Looking Out and Within

Embracing this understanding  that the planet and all its creatures must be treated with reverence and protected from harm and degradation would transform suffering and create great good.  Protecting nature is kindness to ourselves since we are of it, the environment and the universe as well and will lead to peace.

“Imagine” as John Lennon once said.

All is inclusive.

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