Tuesday, March 10, 2009


I recently went to a nursery to hear a speech given and they passed out this flier that read "make your garden California friendly". I got to wondering do people understand what that is? Do people know that a California friendly garden is not the most sustainable option? What is a native garden or an edible. Perhaps friendly? Well...

Native Gardens

A native garden design is using only native plants of your region. For example a native California garden utilizes plants that were born and bread here. Like the Ray Hartman Ceanothus in the picture above. Native plants essentially...
  • are naturally occurring, indigenous plants within a specific habitat of a specific bio geographic region
  • are adapted to the native soil and climate
  • have a higher chance of survival to many diseases, insects and pests
  • significantly reduce your water bill
The picture to the right is that of a Lemonade Berry (Rhus) which is a great native alternative to the Japanese Boxwood in California.

Edible Gardens

An edible garden is just that. A garden that uses only edible plant materials. Essentially...
  • you are growing non chemically treated fruits and vegetables that are ultimately better for the health of your family
  • you are reducing your grocery bill
  • you are creating a fun experiment for you and you family to engage in and if your neighbors are growing something then maybe you can trade off
The best design technique is to use natives with edibles integrated together in your landscape.

Friendly Gardens

Friendly plants are not natives but rather plants that have learned somehow to tolerate the climate of wherever they have been introduced to. Some might even consider these as cookie cutters as in the fact that they are used everywhere, which actually makes them a little unattractive. Friendly plants...
  • can adapt to the native soil and climate but are not as effective as using natives
  • can reduce your water bill but not as much as the natives
  • are so widely used that it almost becomes boring to design with them
Another good design technique is to use all these garden types for your garden. Do not just use friendly plants. The point is to use local materials that actually belong here and were here before us.

Ultimately regardless of what you do bare in mind that using natives will cost less, use less water and require less maintenance. Do your homework and carefully research the plant that you are hoping to use. Does this plant grow in your climate zone? Just because it will grow here does not mean it belongs here. Think before you act!
Slide 5


Anonymous said...

I have recently moved to long beach and would love to integrate native plants with edibles. Does anyone know of delicious native edibles? I have heard of a California grape. Is it good to eat? Are there strawberries? I know that tomatoes, corn, beans, and squash have been grown here forever. Does anyone know of, or have access to the best varieties suited for this climate? Thanks for your help.

creations landscape designs said...

Hello Anonymous,

The best place to go to for natives is www.californianativeplants.com

The one I recommend is called Yerba Buena which is a native mint.