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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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