Native Gardens - Words From Nursery Volunteers

Chris's front yard "native island" this Fall - a Giant Buckwheat in the rear, with California Fuchsia in bloom (front left) plus several smaller buckwheats and grasses

Chris's front yard "native island" this Fall - a Giant Buckwheat in the rear, with California Fuchsia in bloom (front left) plus several smaller buckwheats and grasses

Fall is planting time - so a few words of advice from two of our Mission Blue Nursery volunteers. California native plants are a wonderful addition to your garden - and functional too, since they are mostly drought-tolerant. In California, this is an important feature and one of the reasons natives are becoming more and more popular. If you live next to natural areas like San Bruno Mountain, you might consider replacing potentially invasive cultivars with local California natives. It's a good thing.

Native Toyon laiden with berries; moisture-loving Juncus sp. (rush) under bird bath

Native Toyon laiden with berries; moisture-loving Juncus sp. (rush) under bird bath

Nursery volunteer Chris Read offered to share photos of her Burlingame native gardens this Fall. Chris got rid of her lawn about 6 years ago. She and her husband were motivated mainly by their interest in native plants, but their garden mixes both natives and non-natives. A well-designed mix will give you pleasure year-round.

In the Fall, your native garden won't be particulary flashy but beautiful just the same - natives will be at their peak in late Winter through Summer, and native Toyon will provide a bounty of berries for birds in the Fall.

California natives are usually dormant in the Summer, with many losing their leaves. But there are late bloomers like Coyote Brush, Goldenrod and California Fuchsia (top photo) which is a striking Summer/Fall bloomer. Chris's remaining non-natives continue to flower every year and also attract local birds and insects.

Islay (Hollyleaf Cherry) framed on the left by sagebrush and at the right rear by manzanita

Islay (Hollyleaf Cherry) framed on the left by sagebrush and at the right rear by manzanita

We'll revisit Chris's garden in the Spring when we'll see poppies, columbines, blue-eyed grass, Flannel Bush, Twinberry and a long list of others.

Chris's recommendation for someone beginning - just start the process with a few favorites to see what happens. Start a native plant "island" and then expand. Chris says it gets a little addictive and pretty soon you are adding more and more.

They love to hear that at the Mission Blue Nursery!

Freidel, left, at Mission Blue Nursery

Freidel, left, at Mission Blue Nursery

Volunteer Freidel Cohen shares plenty of good advice for the native gardener in her September 2015 article for the San Jose Mercury News - Pacifica. Freidel recommends choosing plants that are native to your specific area and that would grow naturally on nearby coastal bluffs, riparian habitats and hillsides - this will encourage locals bees, butterflies and birds to visit your garden! Plus the plants will be happy growing in their native conditions - that's a plus for you - less water, less pesticides and less work for you.

Our Mission Blue Nursery grows and sells plants that fit those requirements - they are from San Bruno Mountain and are adapted to growing conditons on the SF Peninsula - perfect for your local garden.

We hope to see you at our November Native Plant Sale at Mission Blue Nursery on Saturday November 7 - make your list now to load up on natives - you'll never have too many.