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wildflowers

Okay, You’ve Bought Your Plants… Now What?

by Lorraine on November 13, 2011

Assuming that the new native plant enthusiast has research their choices and based upon the findings, have selected their first plants for their native garden then the next step is to get them into the ground.  Keep in mind, that you do not amend the soil and don’t add any fertilizer either.  Native plants don’t need anything but dirt, so don’t feel that that is necessary to add fertilizer because it’s not.   Plus you save money!  No more fertilizing!

Per Barbara Eisenstein’s presentation at Theodore Payne Foundation, here is what she had to say to “How to Keep “um Going”.   And of course the following is from my attempts at note taking.

1.   Make sure that you know how large your plant will grow out to.   When you are planting, keep most of them 3-4 feet apart.   Give ‘um room.

2.  Dig your hole a little bit deeper than the root ball and about 2X as wide.   Fill with water and let’r drain.   This may take some time depending upon your soil type.

3.  Gently remove the plant from the nursery container and lower into the hole, keep the top of the root ball “JUST” above the hole.  Do not shake or mess around with the roots.  Leave them alone…no “touchy”.

4.  Water throughly and spread some mulch around the plant but keep it away from the crown of the plant.   Otherwise you could invite in some pathogens and end up killing it.

5.  Be aware of weather conditions.   Windy?  Hot? Pouring rain or maybe not enough rain?   Don’t ignore your plants.  Check with a plant/water probe and see if they need watering.   And don’t be stepping near them after a heavy rain, as you could be crushing the roots.  Be careful.

It’s my understanding that it’s all about getting your plants to survive their first year and winter allows them the opportunity to become established and be prepared for the following summer when things are a bit more challenging for them due to the heat.

Then the next obvious question is about “watering”.  More on that in the next post.

 

 

 

 

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Learning About How to Keep Native plants Alive

by Lorraine on November 11, 2011

If someone has decided to make the switchover to using native plants in their landscape, this is the time of year to do it because the weather is now cooling down, we’re past the hot summer months and all of the horticultural gardens that specialize in native plants are having garden sales.   It’s enough to make you go crazy over the huge selection but once you have reined yourself in, picked out your plants ( I hope you’ve done some research), it’s time to put them in the ground.

But what’s next?   How do you keep them alive and thriving?  How often do you water?   What about gophers?   Whadda ya’ do?  Leave ‘um alone?

I recently attended a class at the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants that we being conducted by Barbara Eisenstein.   Barbara comes with a great deal of experience and at one time she was on the staff with Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens in Claremont and she continues to be very involved in promoting sustainability, habitat  and the use of native plants for home gardens.   She is particularly fond of native grasses which there are many and she is an expert when it comes to using them in landscapes.

Anyway, so I went to her class for some tips and she not only provided a terrific list of “beginner” plants but went through the basic steps of what to do when you bring your new plants home.

Of course, it begins with digging a hole, filling it with water and putting the plant in it after the water has drained out.   But, there really is more, it’s not quite that simple but in a way…it is very simple.   But you have to do it correctly to increase the chances of that plant’s “happiness” in it’s new location.   After all, you’ve pulled it out from a container that it was enjoying and then shoved it into foreign territory.

How would you feel if you were treated like that?

And on that note, I will end this post here, cuz what I am going to share about the necessary steps to success will take up too much space and whoever reads this may not be in the mood to get through to the end & I can see that I already have been too verbose!

More thrills and information to follow  in the next couple of days…..

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Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers & Native Plants

by Lorraine on March 9, 2011

I recently attended the Golden Anniversary celebration for the Theodore Payne Foundation at Descano Gardens in La Canada, CA   It was a very inspiring event and I would say a rousing success, promoting the love and respect for California’s native plant population.

“Theodore Payne was born in North Hamptonshire, England and served an apprenticeship in horticulture. He came to Los Angeles in 1893 and fell in love with the California flora, dedicating his life to its preservation.

Even in the early years of this century, native vegetation was being lost to agriculture and housing at an alarming rate. He urged the use of California native plants and lectured across the state on preserving the wild flowers and landscapes native to California.

In his own nursery and seed business, which he started in 1903, native wildflowers and landscapes were his specialty. In 1915 he laid out and planted 262 species in a five-acre wild garden in Los Angeles’ Exposition Park. He later helped to establish the Blaksley Botanic Garden in Santa Barbara, planted 178 native species in the California Institute of Technology Botanic Garden in Pasadena, helped create the native plant garden at Los Angeles’ Descanso Gardens, and advised the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Orange County.

By the time he retired in 1958, Payne had made over 400 species of native plants available to the public.”   From the Theo. Payne Foundation Web Site.

The dinner celebrated his efforts and those who have followed in his footsteps, sharing their love of our beautiful native vegetation.  I felt such total enjoyment with meeting many individuals who are also passionate about nature, native plants, sustainability and providing habitat for wildlife.

A Lovely Raffle Prize

It was a beautiful evening consisting of a lovely dinner, soft music and laughter.   There also was a silent auction and wonderful raffle prizes as well.   I managed to win two of them, an expensive bottle of wine and a framed picture that caught my eye early in the evening.  It was on fabric and depicted our state flower and bird, the California Poppy and California Quail.   It looks fantastic in my home and I enjoy it’s vibrant color against a wall in my kitchen.

It’s like sharing my morning coffee with a representation of what I love most and greets me with a reminder of why I chose to create my garden from California’s native plants!

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Videos

by Lorraine on March 2, 2011

Okay, at last…this will be my first attempt of posting some video that I shot of my garden last month and hopefully I won’t mess things up here and I will do it correctly without too much trauma.

My garden is constantly changing each day and for a while, we had some very warm weather that triggered many plants to bloom too soon.   Then we became swamped in several rainstorms and then after that, the temperatures dropped so low that we had even a wee bit of snow.

Needless to say, all of these weather changes have caused confusion for not only my garden but for all kinds of plants and crops.   The good news for farmers who grow stone fruits, is that at least the cold weather would be good for their production but for plants that have bloomed out of their normal cycle, it could be damaging.

But, I guess I don’t really know.  However  for my garden that is filled with native plants from California, there’s been quite a bit of confusion, lately.   Bulbs were coming up and as a matter of fact some of the native Irises in my garden were sending out shoots, but not now.  Frost in the mornings put an end to that attempt to show off.

But more on that in a later post because I want to see if I can manage to a share a video that I did at the end of February of the garden. At that time the Ceanothus and Monkey Flowers were blooming and so was the Howard McMinn manzanita. 

Plus, there is a brief appearance of Theo, too!   Note his beautiful blue eyes…and his jaunty harness!

The manzanita’s flowers have since turned brown because of the freezing temperatures but the Ceanothus, Monkey Flowers, Channel Island Poppies, continue to bloom.   And there are even a few California Poppies starting to put on their show.

Well, it seems that I can’t load the video, because it exceeds the allowable size for my web site.   Drat!   Back to the drawing board, but I will learn how to do this.

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May and June in California

by Lorraine on May 27, 2010

The day has started out being dreary, gray and drizzly….it doesn’t make me feel happy or thrilled but I guess there are some people that love this kind of weather but I am not one of them.  If you grew up or live in parts of the country where long gray days are the norm, you would not be bothered by it.

But being a native of southern California, I am used to mostly sunny days and when we have our “May Grays”  and “June Glooms”   those of us who have lived here for most of our lives, hate this kind of weather.

Hopefully the condition won’t last long and our sun and warm days will reappear soon.   But sometimes this will last for weeks and you dispair about the darkness and eat too many carbs.

I hate this gloom and for some reason, this year we have had very little of it and most of the time its been beautiful, sunny and blue skies to look forward to and I loved it.  

Especially the last few days with clear skies and horizons that called out for attention.  It’s been amazing and makes you want to be outside and enjoying it as much as you can and be in my garden, doing things, poking around and loving it.

With the additional rain we have had this year, all of the wildflowers continued blooming longer than normal and the plants in my garden have become quite large and those that bloom are still going strong.  A terrific bonus!

The Nodding needle grass overtook my pathway and I finally but reluctantly, decided it was time to trim it back to each clump’s base, so that I could walk on the path.   Although the cats simply cruised under it as they traversed it.   It was a bit like a tunnel to them and they have enjoyed hiding and napping in it for cover during the day.

I enjoyed how it looks when it waved back in forth in the breeze and especially in the early evening when it is back lit by the setting sun and is mesmerizing to watch in it’s movements.

It appears golden and silver, shimmering in the soft sunlight and creates a mellow and calming sense of pleasure.   But it was blocking the path, so I cut most of it back and created bundles of it to dry for future arrangements, as it looks beautiful in a vase and brings the outside in and memories of lovely, swaying grass and sunlight.

But gray, gloomy days can mean catching up on housekeeping, reading a book, going to the movies or just daydreaming about the sun.

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