A Quick Trip Around My Garden! by Jackie Scheidlinger
My name is Jackie Scheidlinger and my landscape design company is From the Ground Up. Website: www.fromthegroundupterrascape.com. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org, and phone number is 818-825-8980. Look for me on Houzz.com. I design all kinds of gardens but I specialize in gardens that are climate appropriate, wildlife-attracting, and water-thrifty. I work in LA and Ventura Counties, large and small residential projects.
When meeting with a new landscaping client, I usually ask them to describe what they are looking for in a garden. They often tell me they want something that is “drought tolerant”, “water thrifty”, and “California friendly”. These are all different names for the same thing, and what it really comes down to is climate-adapted landscaping– in other words, making use of plants that are naturally adapted to our climate. There are many good reasons why this is becoming the New Normal in California landscaping.
Southern California is one of the world’s five major climate regions that are grouped under the umbrella term of “Mediterranean”, and is characterized by relatively wet winters and long hot dry summers, although that’s an over-simplification. We all know that rainfall in winter is unpredictable, and when it does occur, it falls unevenly depending on whether you are north or south, mountain or valley.
Plants native to California and have evolved within this ecological niche, and not only are they well adapted to our soil, and our seasonal changes, but it is scientifically proven that our native wildlife –birds, bees, butterflies– prefer native plants. So by planting California natives we’re doing a lot to support natural habitats that have been lost to development.
I have been designing sustainable, drought tolerant gardens since 2004 and for the past several years I have come to rely more and more on California natives as a basis for my planting schemes. I tend to use California natives as the “bones” of the garden and fill in with succulents and other Mediterranean types of plants that can coexist happily.
I usually test plants out in my own yard for a season or two, so I can learn more about their growth habits, what kind of pruning they need, and how they look at different times of year.
Here are some of my favorite “tried and true” California natives and a couple of Mediterranean/southwest plants too. They’ve earned that designation because they bloom reliably, don’t need much pruning, and they look “right” in the surrounding landscape.
A couple of the natives that I’ve used a lot mountain mint or Monardella odoratissima and hummingbird sage or Salvia spathacea for those shady spots.
The mountain mint or Monardella odoratissima is often used in perennial borders or meadow gardens. It grows quickly, likes a little shade, and is delightfully aromatic. The butterflies, hummingbirds and bees like it to.
Hummingbird sage or Salvia spathacea is native to our region and often lives under oak trees.
A couple from the southwest, first the sundrops and second Mexican blue sage.
Calylophus berlandieri – Commonly called “Sundrops”– an apt name because the flowers are such a cheerful shade of clear bright yellow. A very long-blooming plant, in fact I’ve hardly ever seen it when it’s not in bloom and bee favorite too.
Salvia chamaedryoides- Commonly known as Germander Sage. Sky blue flowers with silvery gray leaves, a mounding habit, and the characteristic sage scent. A favorite in combination with Calylophus.
Not every place is California or even southern California is relatively dry. We do have some rivers and streams and like your garden there are areas that seem to be damp for long periods of time.
A few of easy ones here are scarlet monkey flower, Aster chilensis, and silver weed
Complete with hummingbird…
Mimulus cardinalis- I love the common name of this plant: Scarlet Monkey Flower. Happiest in a little shade, and the hummingbirds go crazy over the red tube-shaped blossoms.
And with bee…
Aster chilensis- Beautiful lavender daisy-like flowers with yellow eyes, these bloom throughout the warm months.
Potentilla anserina (Silverweed cinquefoil)- This one was a pleasant surprise. I planted it near a little pond where it was in dappled shade and got some moisture from the splashing of the water. Its natural habitat is on the shores of rivers and ocean inlets, and in meadows. It spreads quickly by rooted stolens, and made a great ground cover. It has delicate yellow blossoms that look like miniature versions of the wild roses of its plant family, Rosaceae.
These are only a vey few of the easy plants that you easily grow in your garden as they are growing in mine. If you have more questions, my contact information can is at the beginning of the article!