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With the increase of drought, rising water costs and busy lifestyles, this is a good time to consider including or converting to natives. With a wide variety of beautiful species to choose from, natives can be applied to most garden styles. Below, I have presented a few of the ways that I like to design with native plants.
As they might be found in the wild:
Here Redwoods are planted at the bottom of a slope peppered with mature Oaks, to create privacy and screening for the area above. Two plant palettes that included trees, shrubs, vines, perennials and bulbs were used - one compatible with the Oaks and a riparian palette that blends with existing native vegetation along the creek that runs just outside of the property border. A wide variety of of plant species from the Tree of Life Nursery catalog were used on this job.
I have observed a situation very similar to this at Big Sur.
In this instance, a once unused portion of the Montecito property now affords opportunity for a walk through the woods.
Plants adapted to a specific location used in a garden design:
Below, a front yard in a beachside neighborhood includes trees, shrubs and perennials found in coastal and Channel Island plant communities.
Mixture of native plants from different plant communities to provide maximum interest and blooms throughout the year:
This back yard in Thousand Oaks, that borders on a natural preserve, is designed using a palette of natives in a naturalistic
Species-specific flowering natives with low water use perennials to attract pollinators:
Customers like flowers, I like flowers and pollinators like flowers. In most instances, my mind is trained to think flowers and season of bloom. Here, plants are more carefully chosen to provide bloom throughout the year to attract pollinators and benefical insects.
In the example below, a Monarch butterfly sips from native Verbena on a summer afternoon.
Natives used in traditional garden design:
Many natives make perfect choices as hedges and screening plants. In addition, traditional-style gardens can be designed using natives exclusively. In the example below, Pacific Wax Myrtle is used for screening (on the upper level).
California natives combined with other Mediterranean climate plants:
Below, native Carex is seen in the foreground.
Here, Carpenteria californica (Bush Anemone) is used in a container planting with Myrtle Euphorbia and white Cyclamen for winter color.