Mari's Dirty Fingers

A Newbie's Garden Experiment

California Natives

on May 8, 2013

My anniversary is in May.  My husband and I have spent the last few ones pursuing activities we both like.  This year we decided to spend it in and around San Diego picking out new additions to the school’s California native plant garden and learning about Tilapia hydroponics.  My husband has a survivalist/self-sufficient streak that overlaps my gardening/homesteading interests.  I don’t know if our relationship is complimentary or codependent.

Romantic right?  For us it actually is.  My husband and I are usually so busy with the needs and interests of our boys that we run out of time for ourselves.  The two hour drive to San Diego, lunch, coffee with sweets, and the two hour drive back is probably the most alone time my husband and I spend all year. 

Our first stop was to Las Pilitas Nursery in Escondido, California.  This nursery only sells California native plants.  Their website is amazing with all kinds of information on every plant they sell including how many of each plant they have for purchase. 

This place rocks!

This place rocks!

They have an online garden planner that helps narrow your search of suitable plants based on the amount of sun exposure, soil type, and frequency of watering of your garden.  They include pictures of what the plants will look like when they mature.  This is really helpful if like me, you purchase the less expensive one gallon plants.  It’s nice to have an idea of what their full grown potential is.  The folks that run the nursery are amazingly knowledgeable, approachable, and helpful.

The entrance and sorounding grounds are all feature CA native, plants, shrubs, and trees.

The entrance and surrounding grounds feature CA native plants, shrubs, and trees.

Last year the students planted about a dozen plants in our CA native garden.  We had two die, but the rest are now big, beautiful, and blooming or preparing to bloom.  I try to pick plants that produce attractive flowers.  Mostly because flowers are nice to look at , but also because they attract wildlife.  It’s always interesting to see city kids flip out when they see a butterfly, bee, beetle, or hummingbird.  They go nuts when they get a glimpse of our resident Western fence lizard.

This year we will be expanding our native garden and replacing the non-native hedges along the building.  My hubby is slowly removing them.  Here is a picture of some of the new babies that students will plant.  I’ll post some before and after pictures later on.

New plants to add to our CA native plant garden.

New plants to add to our CA native plant garden.

Next week I’ll write about the Tilapia hydroponics talk we attended that same day.

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