Now’s the time to plant native plants. Planting from late October through November allows plants to develop roots during our short rainy season. Planting indigenous plants will save you money on water, fertilizer and gardening—no lawn to mow or leaf litter to collect. In addition, the native plants in your garden will nurture native pollinators such bees, birds, butterflies, bats that are vital to the survival our wildlife and plant communities, and enrich our lives. The native plant communities in the San Dieguito River Valley will “show” their appreciation.
You can help rewild Mother Nature’s gardens by finding a place in your yard to plant indigenous trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals. Need a large hedge? Plant Lemonadeberry. It’s a “keystone species” that makes a thick mulch that supports numerous caterpillars and pollinators, and it has pink flowers followed by red berries fall through winter. Need a low hedge or bank stabilization? Plant White Coastal Ceanothus, Woollyleaf Ceanothus. Select California Wildrose as a barrier plant, its thorns will do the job, and it’s another keystone species. It has fragrant, open-faced 1-2 inch wide pink flowers that support many pollinator species, provide nesting habitat for songbirds, attract butterflies, and the bright red rose hips are an important food of resident and migratory birds.
Add color to invite your friends into the garden. Add yellow San Diego Sunflower, purple Parish’s Nightshade, yellow Beach Primrose, and Pink Sand Verbena. There are a multitude of Phacelias and other perennials and annuals that add a potpourri of colors, and they can be planted from seed.
Add character and texture to your garden. Select a spot to feature a specimen plant such as Del Mar Manzanitas. Or add a cactus garden. All it takes is sand, rocks and Coastal Cholla, Fish Hook Cactus, San Diego Barrelcactus, and Lancelet Liveforever. Add Pink Sand Verbena for interest. Sit back and watch birds take a sand bath in the sand. While you’re at it, add a shallow bird bath or fountain. The birds will thank you.
And if you have room for a tree, plant Coast Live Oak. It, and the other local oaks may be the ultimate keystone species.
See the Wildlife Friendly Garden Section of the San Dieguito Lagoon website (sandieguitolagoon.org) for more plants and gardening help.