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California Native Plant PR

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

July Los Feliz Ledger Column

Friends,

Today's post is a copy of my first Native Harmony Column that I've written for a new newspaper called The Los Feliz Ledger. My plan is to post the columns here as soon as the final draft is available.

If you live in Los Feliz, look for the first issue on your doorstep on July 1st. Enjoy! And, please support local everything. Thanks!

Los Feliz Lovelies

In celebration of this brave new newspaper, I thought it only appropriate to have my first column sing the praises of native plants we can appreciate right in our own neighborhood.

Take a trip up to gorgeous Griffith Park and drink in the beauty of the Oak trees, Toyon, Sugarbush, Lemonadeberry, Matilija Poppies, Sages and so much more.

You’ve walked by them numerous times but may not have given them a second thought.

They stand off to the side demonstrating their strength and survival skills. It’s up to you to see them for what they are.

Off a beaten path (but not too far off – we don’t want to damage hillsides or small plants struggling to emerge big and strong) you can often find the most outstanding species of natives.

For instance, a towering Flannel Bush once snuck up on me near the top of Commonwealth Ave.—to the right of the construction yard—and nearly took my breath away. It lovingly loomed five to six feet overhead requesting recognition of its profuse, saturated yellow flowers.

On another hike, I had the pleasure of encountering Fuchsia-Flowering Gooseberry on a path friends call “Shady Glade,” just past the horse trough.

This discreet stunner seemed to be waiting for an admirer.

It arched and puffed itself up only to be lightly weighted down by pinkish-red flowers that dangled like chandelier earrings from spiny branches. Hummingbirds couldn’t resist its allure.

Humble and lovely, native plants of Los Feliz are in our midst to be discovered and, ultimately, utilized (I recommend with calculated abandon) in the home landscape. What more could we ask for than a display of them in a wild setting? It’s a plant zoo, if you will. You can look but not touch and absorb as much about them as possible.

Taking inventory of details such as sun or shade exposure, growth habit, flower color, existence of pollinators, size and shape takes much of the guesswork out of buying these plants at the nursery.

The only trick left to master is learning plant names. That is a matter of time and is where I come in.

Each month, I will provide botanical and common names, as well as written illustrations of natives, that can be viewed here in Los Feliz at nearby botanical gardens and elsewhere. By doing so, I hope you will feel inspired and confident incorporating them into your own garden.

I will also give you tips on how to grow them, what not to plant and why, when to plant, nurseries selling natives, independent plant sales, garden tours and more.

Please join me next month as we continue our journey to native harmony.

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