Welcome to my Garden Blog

Nature: wild & untouched. Photographing it, preserving it, taking walks and drinking in the landscapes as they unfold.

Gardens: touched by loving hands. Cultivated, nurtured. Drinking in those landscapes is wonderful, as well.

In my garden one enjoys some of both. Generally unpruned & wild, my plants reshape the garden as they grow.

Beyond the garden borders, natives from the Santa Monica Mtns await. Oak trees with their shady canopies. Cactus & Sage in the sun.

Always there are animal creatures to join in the fun.

I look forward to sharing some of my experiences with you as they unfold.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Where To Go To See Native Plants in California?

               Matilija Poppies (Romneya coulteri) Photo by KathyVilim


Are you interested in planting native plants in your garden, yard, or on your hillside?  How to decide which plants are right for you? First, you may want to see what the plants will look like when they are established.  A small plant in a nursery pot can give you the wrong impression. 

Most Southern California natives have extensive root systems, which help them to find water in our rain-starved soil.  It is usually a good idea to space the plants 3 ft apart, when you would like to plant them a lot closer.  But they will grow in and overtake each other, when they grow up.

Some natives go well paired together. Your hillside might be sunny, and Buckwheat & Sages could grow there. Or, your area may have lots of oak trees, and you would instead want a shade lover, like Vinca minor.

One great way to view established groupings of native plants is to visit Botanical Gardens. There the plants are labeled, and you can write down the names of those that interest you. You can do further research from there. Most gardens have a bookstore and helpful plant-loving staff. You can take your list to your local nursery when you go plant shopping. Some of the botanic gardens have plant sales, too. And you might be able to purchase your plants right there.

There are many botanic gardens in California, but not all are native plant gardens. So, I have compiled a list of some botanic gardens in California that have a wide diversity of natives in their settings. I hope you will find this list useful.



  • Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

1212 Mission Canyon Rd., Santa Barbara, CA 93105 Tel: 805/682-4726 E-mail: breed@sbbg.org / Web: www.sbbg.org Dedicated to the study, display, and preservation of California's native plants. Garden Growers Nursery sells native plants and plants from other Mediterranean-climate regions. Open year-round, with two annual sales in April and October. Garden Shop carries selection of gardening and botanical books.

  • Descanso Gardens 

1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada, Flintridge, CA Tel: 818-949-4200www.descanso.org

  • University of California – Berkeley Botanical Garden 

    200 Centennial Drive, #5045, Berkeley, CA 94720 Tel: (510) 643-2755 

    Web: www.botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu

  • Leaning Pine Arboretum - San Luis Obispo

Horticulture and Crop Science Department
California Polytechnic State University 1 Grand Ave., Bldg. 48, San Luis Obispo, Ca 93407 Tel: 805.756.2888
Visit their Californian garden E-mail: cwassenb@calpoly.edu / Web: http://www.leaningpinearboretum.calpoly.edu/index.htm

  • Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

1500 No. College Ave., Claremont, CA 91711 Tel: 909-625-8767Grow Native Nursery of Claremont also sells native plants. Nursery is free.

Grow Native Nursery in Claremont offer special sales, advice from expert staff and a stunning selection of fresh, vibrant native California plants. Proceeds support Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden programs.

Specialize in growing Manzanitas.Web: rsabg.org

  • Mary DeDecker Native Plant Garden - Sierras

Eastern California Museum

155 N. Grant St., Independence, CA 93526, Tel: 760-878-0258



Created through volunteer efforts of the Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), the objective of this garden is to showcase the rich flora of eastern California. And serves as a lasting tribute to the Owens Valley’s own distinguished botanist Mary DeDecker.

  • The Wrigley Memorial and Botanical Gardens – Catalina Island

Catalina Island Conservancy
P.O. Box 2739 Avalon, CA 90704 Tel: (310) 510-2595, Adults $5, Kids Free

Getting There
The Memorial and Gardens are one and a half miles up Avalon Canyon Road. The walk is pleasant, passing the Golf Course, the town's ballpark, and the Hermit Gulch campground.
The Memorial Garden is particularly concerned with the six Catalina endemics - plants, which grow naturally only on Catalina Island. The Wrigley Memorial Garden Foundation maintains a special interest in the preservation of all Catalina endemics, including the rare Catalina Ironwood.

There are so many gardens in California! You can check with your local chapter of the California Native Plant Society for more gardens in your area. I hope you will find them as inspiring as I do!

Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns

Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns