By Jan Martin on 7/3/2010 3:05 PM

I don't have a lawn to kill, but I am trying to clear a slope of Osteospermum fruticosum (Freeway Daisies) to turn the area into a habitat for native birds, insects, and other wildlife, so Jim and I visited the Tree of Life Nursery to attend Part I of their "Replace Your Lawn" series of classes.

This was our second visit to the nursery, and although we were impressed by the size of the place before, we were amazed at all the things we had not seen on our prior visit. The hour long introduction to the series consisted of a walking tour of the nursery grounds, with commentary from nursery owner Mike Evans, and staff members Patty and Junior.

We saw a large number of beautiful, California native trees that would grow too large to be suitable for our small yard, but it was a great experience to see them growing as they should in their natural, native surroundings. The oaks and sycamore were especially impressive.

We saw the propagation area and the nurseries where the plants grow from seeds or cuttings into seedlings. The huge, hay-bale construction barn even houses a few surf boards!

I got a lot of ideas, and came home with two new plants: a Keckiella cordifolia (I've been wanting one for awhile now), and a non-native, but drought tolerant Antigonon leptopus. Both are still small plants, but should grow fast after this winter.

I decided to wait until Fall to plant the rest of the slope. That will give Jim and I time to clear all the old plant matter, and will be the perfect time for new plants to go in. It will also give me time to plan which plants I want to try; on the slope, and in future projects.

And that means future trips to Tree of Life Nursery!


By Jan Martin on 7/2/2010 4:53 PM

Even if you don't have a lawn to kill, (like me), you can get a free education on Native plant alternatives from Tree of Life Nursery.

The Replace Your Lawn series of classes begins tomorrow with a Tour of Nursery Gardens Plant selection, from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM.

I'm very interested in the Featured Plant: Salvia clevelandii 'Baja', to add to my Hummingbird Garden. I'm thinking of picking up a Keckiella cordiflora (Heart-leaved Penstamon) as well.

Now, I simply need to talk my other half into getting up early on a Saturday morning to go with me.

By Jan Martin on 7/1/2010 4:25 PM

I've never purchased from Larner Seed, but they have a nice selection of California Native seeds that I've got my eye on.

Right now Larner Seed has a Pollinator special: for $20.00 you can get

Special! Native Pollinator Package

  1. Aster chilensis - California aster, $5.00
  2. Madia elegans - common tarweed, $5.00
  3. Grindelia stricta - gumplant, $5.00
  4. Erigeron glaucus - beach aster, $5.00
  5. Gardening for Wildlife book- $4.75

$24.75 value for $20.00. All hand-collected, while supplies last.


Definitely worth the money if you're looking to help the pollinators in California.

By Jan Martin on 6/28/2010 4:30 PM

Diplacus (Monkey Flower)Yesterday, during our twice daily walk with the dogs, we noticed some native Diplacus (also known as Monkey Flower) growing on the hillside. Jim managed to fend off some sage-brush to obtain a nice branch of the lovely, dark-orange variety.

I kept the branch moist overnight, then this morning made multiple stem cuttings from the single branch.

This is my first attempt with Diplacus, and I'm sort of guessing that I'm working with soft-wood cuttings. First, I cut each specimen just below a node, stripped off the leaves (except for the tops), and dipped the bruised ends in honey before planting in moist cactus mix. I then placed the small pot of cuttings in a large zip-lock bag and placed it in the kitchen window for indirect sunlight.

I'll be keeping the cuttings warm and moist in the baggie. In three weeks I'll let you know if anything has rooted.

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