Go Native!

Del Mar is getting dryer. Our winter storms of late bring the promise of substantial rain, only to make a left turn near LA, leaving us dry and thirsty. In 2022 we received less than seven inches rather than the old “normal” of 10 inches. With less water, with the exception of the occasional significant rainy season, just passed, we need plants in our gardens that will be able to survive with little or no supplementary water all year, especially in summer.  Our native plants, doing well on their own in Crest Canyon and the San Dieguito River Valley, can provide the solution.


Building a native plant garden (while removing invasive species) will help sustain our local biodiversity by attracting birds, butterflies and other wildlife as well as conserving water. As Douglas W. Tallamy explains, planting native plants in our gardens helps to expand, protect, and sustain our native ecosystems by adding good, beneficial insects, moths and butterflies that form a link to adjacent plant and animal communities of the San Dieguito Lagoon, San Elijo Lagoon to the North, and Penasquitos Lagoon to the South.


You can grow your own “homegrown national park” as Tallamy calls it. You can start a new community of plants, birds, insect pollinators, and the little things in the soil that join together into a self-sustaining ecosystem. If we don’t protect these ecosystem we will no longer hear birds sing or see butterflies flutter by.


As Chief Seattle, chief of the Duwamish and Suquamish tribes, states it: “The earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth. All things are connected. Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”

Native plants thriving on Crest Road. Photo by Ed Mirsky.

Our native plants to consider:

Coast Live Oaks: a good tree to support California wildlife. Also Del Mar Manzanita, Eastwood Manzanita, Bushrue, Climbing Penstemon, Yellow Bush Penstemon, Southern Honeysuckle, San Diego Sunflower. Smaller plants: Bush Monkey Flower, Bladderpod, California Four O’clock, Beach Primrose.


 For Monarch butterflies: Narrow Leaf Milkweed

 For hummingbirds: California Fuchsia

 For bluff stabilization: White Coastal Ceanothus, Woollyleaf Ceanothus, and Chamise.

 For a hedge: Lemonadeberry.