The use of native groundcovers that will help reduce water use and provide food source's for native wildlife is a topic that is on customer's minds these days. With our current drought showing no signs of letting up and with the prices of water going up, it is wise to consider using native groundcover plants to help reduce water use and increase the curb appeal of your home or business. I have listed with the aid of reference notes from Las Pilitas Nursery ( www.laspilitas.com ) a number of California native groundcovers that are available for Inland and coastal use.
Inland Choices Full & Part Sun Exposure : Coastal Choices Full & Part Sun Exposure:
Artemisia 'Montara' Arctostaphylos ' Carmel Sur '
Baccharis pilularis 'Green Surf ' Arctostaphylos ' Emerald Carpet '
Baccharis pilularis ' Pigeon Point ' Baccharis pilularis ' Green Surf '
Ceanothus ' Joyce Coulter ' Baccharis pilularis ' Pigeon Point '
Ceanothus ' Yankee Point ' Ceanothus ' Yankee Point '
Salvia mellifera repens Lonicera hispidula
Salvia ' Dara's Choice '
Inland Shade Exposure: Coastal Shade Exposure:
Arctostaphylos ' Carmel Sur ' Arctostaphylos ' Carmel Sur '
Arctostaphylos ' Emerald Carpet ' Arctostaphylos 'Emerald Carpet '
Mahonia repens Mahonia repens
Ribes viburnifolium Ribes viburnifolium
Satureja douglasii Satureja douglasii
Vitis girdiana Vitis girdiana
By Installing any of the above listed groundcovers you will enjoy water savings and enjoy the beauty of native plants.
"What you see is not always what will work"
Many times client's will look around their neighborhood, in magazines, and "Online" to dream and formulate their landscaping ideas. This is a great way to stimulate the mind to think about what plants and outdoor living accessories look great and to consider personal design styles that attract to that persons interest but, a lot of times those designs and plant choice's fail to work properly in many given reality situations. Case in point... Brenda scopes out a fabulous landscape in Pasadena, Ca. while visiting family friends that has plenty of flowers,colors, and textures and she wants that same look at her home in Palm Desert ,Ca. There is a big problem... Brenda does not realize the plant materials she loves that looks so great in Pasadena may not work or grow very well at all in the dry desert weather where she now lives.
In my last blog I talked about the "Right Plant For The Right Place". This rule and principle cannot be overlooked as we move into spring and everybody it seems is in the "Gardening Mood".
Brenda need not give up on her dream of flowers and color for her desert landscape , all she needs to do is educate herself via various horticultural books like Sunset Garden books, local parks and botanical gardens in her area, and talking with local landscaping professionals ( www.clca.org . Researching the "contractor search" engine is an excellent place to get names,websites, and telephone numbers of licensed landscape contractors and professional horticultural suppliers within the city and areas where one lives here in California ) in order to get on the right track to a successful landscape.
In most cases, substituting plant materials with like growing characteristics and textures from the foothills of Pasadena with plant materials that do well in the desert regions of Palm Desert will help Brenda keep her dreams alive.
By using the process of duplication and using the knowledge that is available now-a-days there is no reason why we cannot have excellent landscapes that give beauty,food sources for native wildlife, and add value to our homes and businesses.
When determining what type of plants and trees will work together, add beauty and durability to any landscape, you need to pay close attention to 3 important factors .
1. The water needs of plant materials.
* Once it is determined what the water needs of the plants are, the selection process for your plant materials comes a bit more easier. Some plant materials require regular ( 1-3 times per week ) watering to get the plants established to their new environments but, after the initial establishment period ( Sometimes between 1-2 weeks depending on the time of year when you plant and effects of possible planting shock ) the watering can be cut back a bit to help prevent root rot and disease. I have seen more plant loss due to "Over watering" than "Under watering" in my 25 years of landscaping professionally. Some plant materials such as Salvia Clevlandii do not like a lot of water at all during the warmer summer months and there are other plants that do not like a lot of supplemental water during certain times of the year. It is best you educate yourself on the watering requirements of the plants you want to install and be sure to "Group" them with other like watering plant materials.
2. Grouping the plant materials in suitable like water requirement hydrozones.
* Grouping the plant materials is just that. Planting like watering plants with other like watering plants. Using plant materials that normally receive at least 2-3 applications of water per week with plant materials that are better suited with 1 time per week would be a waste of money for you to purchase and install just because "It looks great". There are shrubs that during the summer months they receive hardly any water at all in their natural growing state. Observe what grows well together at your local botanical gardens or just take a road trip to the mountains or along the coast and observe what plant materials grow well together and fashion your landscape with the "Groupings concept" in mind.
3. Irrigating the plant material efficiently.
* All plants have water needs that are either Low, Medium, or High. By grouping like water requirement type landscape plants, this will help you reduce the chances of losing those plants by over watering or even under watering. With all the excitement of using drip irrigation and other water efficient means of applying the water such as rotating nozzles and water saving pop-up sprinkler heads, it is not a problem now-a-days to use cutting edge technology to save water and properly irrigate your plant materials. The judge is out in my humble opinion on wheter to use drip irrigation or overhead spray nozzles on native landscapes. I use both depending onthe plant materials and zone area I am watering. For large expanse of plantings where we have replaced the lawn for lower water use plant materials, we use rotator typoe nozzles to cover more square footage and give a more uniform application of water. For long runs of shrubs say in the parkway or planter bed, I use drip line with emitters or inline drip emitters depending on the plant materials and zone where we are planting. For turf areas and large ground cover areas, I have started using "Sub-surface" drip more as it is the most efficient use of watering there is out there in the field today.
By following the three tips above, you are on the right path to making sure you have the "Right Plant For The Right Place"