We want to encourage you to plant our local plants in your garden, so at our annual fall plant sale we try to keep our prices low and carry most of our stock in small-size containers. As an additional aid to you in making decisions about what to buy, here are a few things you may want to consider.
- If you want wildflowers, plant grasses as a matrix for them. Grasses make a good visual setting for the wildflowers, but they also help to shade roots so the soil doesn’t dry out too fast, and they provide hiding places for critters that serve ecological functions. You may attain a minimal balance of nature in your little plot.
- If you are uncertain of your gardening skills, choose the plants that are frequently encountered in our wild areas. The reason they are still around is because they are tough and have wide tolerances.
- Plant for all-year interest. Spring is exciting no matter what you plant, whereas summer and autumn may need a little help. Angelica, aster, bee plant, dudleya, goldenrod, gumplant, pearly everlasting, buckwheat, and seaside daisy are usually summer/autumn bloomers, although certain individuals of buckwheat and seaside daisy may bloom in spring. Did you ever notice how many of nature’s most interesting creations come out in summer and autumn, the creepy-crawlies — the slitherers, the mean dudes that look like they’re up to no good (from a potential victim’s perspective)? You want them in your garden, but you must have something to attract them there.
- Think of interesting combinations. For example, the subtle silvery shades of California sagebrush are a “must” for a sunny dry garden. I cannot think of a better foil for so many of our natives: apricot-flowered bush monkey flower, pearly everlasting, angelica, dudleya, morning glory, coyote mint, clarkia, hummingbird sage, and woodmint, to name a few.
- Some plants, especially annuals, are not feasibly grown in containers. We will endeavor to have some of them for sale as seed. There is a problem, however, in that you cannot just broadcast the seed in your garden and expect to see an explosion of color. The clarkia seed you scatter, even if it is not eaten by the birds, will likely be overwhelmed by weeds. You must prepare your ground well before sowing. Advice will be gladly given at the sale.
- Buckeyes grow too fast for containers. We will have buckeye seed available and tell you how to plant it. Because buckeye taproots plunge straight down a couple of feet before any top growth shows, the root would hit the bottom of the can and start circling, and that could create problems. If you plant the seed directly into the soil, you will have a better-formed root system and have a larger plant in two years than if you had bought a one-year-old plant in a container — and it will be healthier.
SOME SUGGESTED PLANTS
Acaena/garnet flower, Acaena pinnatifida var. californica
Angelica, Angelica hendersonii
Bee plant, Scrophularia californica
Blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium bellum
Buckwheat, Eriogonum latifolium
Clarkia, Clarkia rubicunda
Coast aster, Aster chilensis
Coyote mint, Monardella villosa ssp. franciscana
Dudleya, Dudleya farinosa
Goldenrod, Solidago spathulata/S. canadensis
Gum plant, Grindelia spp.
Hillside pea, Lathyrus vestitus
Horkelia, Horkelia californica
Hummingbird sage, Salvia spathacea
Iris, Iris douglasiana/I. longipetal
Morning glory, Calystegia spp.
Pearly everlasting, Anaphalis margaritacea
Seaside daisy, Erigeron glaucus
Strawberry, Fragaria chiloensis/F. vesca
Woodmint, Stachys ajugoides var. rigida
Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
Junegrass, Koeleria macrantha
Purple needlegrass, Nassella pulchra
Red fescue, Festuca rubra
Wild rye, Elymus glaucus
Bush monkeyflower, Mimulus aurantiacus
California sagebrush, Artemisia californica
Coffeeberry, Rhamnus californica
Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus var. laevigatus