Native Plant Workshop

Vitus californica covering our ugly chain link fence

There’s a couple of common misconceptions amongst novice gardeners about native plants:

1. If you use native plants the whole garden has to be natives.
In fact, it’s great to mix natives with non-native plants. The natives bring in beneficial wildlife, are hardy and are efficient in terms of water use. Flexibility is key here–go ahead and mix natives with vegetables, fruit trees and other climate-appropriate plantings.

2. Natives aren’t edible.
Many natives yield edible and medicinal crops. In North America the best way to delve into this topic is to figure out the plants that Native Americans in your area used.

3. Southern California is a desert and native plants are desert plants.
Coastal Southern California has a Mediterranean climate not a desert climate and native plants adapted to this region do not look like desert plants. Coastal natives can be very lush and attractive.

Note: the workshop listed below has been postponed due to rain. See the Green Beacon Foundation website for more information.

In order to dispel these myths and offer practical advice, a new non-profit organization, the Green Beacon Foundation is hosting a native plant talk and demonstration conducted by Lisa Novick of the Theodore Payne Foundation. Theodore Payne is a great resource for finding native plants and seeds and, in Southern California, now is the time to get those natives in the ground. Here’s the 411 on the workshop:

“The Green Beacon Foundation (GBF) located in historic Elysian Heights serves as a community resource for the public to have tactile experiences of “going green,” through on-going workshops, lectures, and tours.

The Green Beacon Foundation is hosting Lisa Novick of the Theodore Payne Foundation who will present the lecture entitled, “Why Plant Natives?”on Saturday, February 7th. at 2pm. If you have always wanted to learn more about California Native plants and how to incorporate them into your garden, this is the event you’ve been waiting for!

Native plants not only save water, they save species. Learn about crucial native plant-animal relationships and gardening to attract birds, butterflies and hummingbirds.

With only 4% of our wild lands left, urban and suburban native plant gardens will be the “make or break” difference to the support and preservation of bio-diversity.

Lisa will show and tell you about several varieties of native plants as well as provide samples for sale.

Immediately after the lecture in the garden we will be conducting a tour of the house to show and tell you about green products and renovation processes that will help save money while caring for the earth.

Suggested donation for the lecture and the tour: $10 each

Please RSVP for address to Julie Solomon:

[email protected]

or call 323.717.9636″

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  1. I bought three wild grape plants (aka Roger’s Red) from Theodore Payne five years ago. I wanted to use some native plants in my landscaping and planted them along a very boring fence. One was sacrificed in a plant shuffling exercise. This turned out to be a good thing as two of these critters provide more than enough coverage. They now cover about 40 feet of fence. Though they are dormant and trimmed back right now, in a month or so they’ll start growing leaves. By mid summer, they’ll be a massive tangle of rolling grape vines that my neighbor calls “Jumanji”. I swear I can see them growing.

    Last year, a mother peahen nested her 4 chicks under the grape arbor in part of my side yard. This part of the yard is safe from my dogs, who relish tasty peacock eggs.
    The peafowl around here (I live on the PV Peninsula) also like to graze on the ripe grapes.

    The grapes are tasty and one day I might make them into wine. The leaves get stuffed in jars and added to whatever I’m pickling. All and all, this is a very useful plant and I highly recommend it.

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