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Native Garden Educational Points


Native Garden Map
Native Garden Map


  • Why natives?
    • WaterWise
      Low water use(when selected for our area, and not riparian)
      AFTER establishment. First year, must water every 7-10 days
    • Provides habitat that insects, birds, other wildlife are adapted to
    • No need for pesticides, fertilizer
    • Sense of place
  • Great variety of native plants that are beautiful-
    • way more than conventional nursery offerings would suggest
    • all these available at specialty native nurseries - check local nurseries
  • Selection Criteria for Native Garden-Vast majority of these plants are:
    • Native to El Dorado County, with emphasis on this elevation
    • Low or very low water use
    • Garden worthy
  • Mulch
    Sustainability features:
    • Low water use
    • Runoff kept on-site as resource!
      • Rainwatercatchment-
        • Raised paths direct water to plants
        • Dry stream bed with deep gravel filled holes- help rain infiltrate for storage in soil-
        • Small rain garden- plants inundated in winter, dry in summer
        • Overflow provided- foroccasional heavy rain events
    • Locally sourced rock, mulch, bench rocks/wood- (also, free)
    • Different mulches shown:
      • Oak mulch/leaves, (oak woodland area)
      • Chipped oak tree, (chaparral area)
      • no mulch areas (bees and birds)- important too!
      • chop and drop, (some of grassland area (note: chop and drop is a permaculture approach)
    • Zero pesticide/fertilizer use
    • Toleration of critters (not thought of as “pests”, but “guests” unless truly killing a plant- a very rare occurrence!)
    • Vinegar Weed (Trichostema lanceolatum)
      Vinegar Weed (Trichostema lanceolatum)
      Found landscape: vinegar weed, turkey mullein, evening primrose,baccharis
      • This is an up and coming movement in native plant garden world- managing naturally existing plants to be garden assets.
  • Garden is organized by community plantings:
    • Oak woodland, grassland, chaparral- because:
      • Grouped naturally by same water needs
      • Mycorrhizae interactions- very important!
        Sense of place
  • Shrub/tree training:
    • Redbud: can be trained as tree, or left as shrub (both in garden).
    • California Fuchsia (epilobium canum)
      California Fuchsia (epilobium canum)
      Elderberry being trained to be multi stemmed tree.
    • Trying to train desert willow to be tree, but challenging
    • Cultivars: many examples including:
    • several different epilobium cultivars,
    • solidago cultivars,
    • desert willow not a cultivar(see desert willow cultivar in succulent garden and compare to native here-pluses and minuses of each).
    • Regular vs dwarf baccharis (both in garden) (again, pluses and minuses)
    • Pluses/minuses of cultivars
  • Seed collection: plants allowed to set seed (aster,gumplant,solidago,clarkia,foothillpenstemon, poppies, etc.)
    • Good for critters (food) (especially birds)
    • Effortless new plants-
      • Plants survive where they will thrive best
  • Small piles of rocks, sticks, placed as habitat for critters (lizards, frogs, etc.)
  • Boulders: buried half way to improve natural look
  • Branches placed for natural look,andtoinnoculatesoil with fungi (especially in oak woodland area,formycorrhizae)
    • Hand watering whole area around plant may also help mycorrhizae (versus drip irrigation)
  • Wildflower planting- we will continue to experiment with various approaches-
    • Seed balls, branch coverings and row cover for bird protection, haveall been successful.
  • How to deal with summer dormancy of some natives
    • Shake leaves off to expose pretty bare branches (e.g. buckeye)
    • Plant near plants with good summer/fall foliage (e.g. sticky monkey flower planted with summer-green plants)
    • Be tolerant- like we are with winter dormancy- this is California!
  • Vines can also work as groundcovers (clematis, honeysuckle in garden)
  • Importance of Fall or winter planting
    •  Best time to plant! Cooler; winter rains will ease establishment
  • A few plants are moderate water users. They can make sense especially near a house, as being more fire proof (e. g. clematis, grasses,juncus,sidalcea)
    • Can also be used in rain garden, if can handle summer dry

Good resources: Calscape.org, Calflora.org, Native plant garden books (some in Placerville library)