Plant Selection For Your Native Garden
Garden tip from The Southern California Native Flower Garden, by Susan Van Atta, ASLA, Gibbs Smith, hardcover, $19.95
This comprehensive guidebook includes detailed descriptions and growing information for 164 native plants; easy-to-use tri-cut flip pages with illustrations to mix and match plants; information on height and spread, soil needs and Sunset Climate Zones; symbols showing growing season and water and sunlight requirements for at-a-glance comparison; icons depicting the type of wildlife each plant attracts; a resource section.
Plant Selection For Your Native Flower Garden
Planting design is a creative and technical challenge because there is so much to know, and much of the needed knowledge is best gained through experience. The following are five simplified steps to get you started:
Understand Your Region And Site
The environmental conditions in your region as well as your garden must inspire your plant selection. Determine regional considerations, including your Sunset climate zone, prevailing winds, watershed conditions and the plant communities occurring in your region in environmental conditions similar to those found in your garden. Understand the natural features in your garden such as soil, existing vegetation, water sources and quality, topography and micro-climates.
Consider the many ways you use or wish to use your garden. Keep in mind the views, from inside and outside your home, which you wish to improve or enhance. Locate these uses on a plan or on the ground, along with practical requirements such as trash storage, composting and screening.
Choose a Theme
Different parts of your garden will inspire themes in response to the qualities of the area you wish to landscape. Shady areas may suggest a woodland garden. A sunny slope may be turned into a brightly flowering chaparral garden. An outdoor sitting area may be enhanced with a sitting garden. There are endless creative possibilities for thematic exploration including community themes and color themes.
Select Compatible Plants
Group plants with compatible horticultural requirements and plant them where these requirements can be readily met. The information provided for each plant in this book includes what you need to know to select plants adapted to the environmental conditions in your garden. These conditions include where they are found in nature, preferred sun exposure, water requirements, soil tolerances and climate preferences.
Space Plants Accordingly
Space plants to allow for their mature size. For those who cannot resist the temptation to plant too close together for an instant effect, plant the areas under larger plants with annuals or short-lived perennials.