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Monday, February 21, 2022


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Kris P

They all look healthy and happy, Linda, which is the most important thing in my view. I don't actively collect natives but I've also found I have a lot of them myself. That said, I think the definition of a "native plant" is frequently misconstrued. California has a wide range of ecosystems and often what's promoted locally as a California native plant isn't actually native to my "coastal scrub" environment at all. As the climate continues to change at an astonishing rate, I focus on plants adapted to the climate I've got so I look at all plants that flourish in Mediterranean climates regardless of their country of origin. I've found that birds and animals adapt too. For example, the local hummingbirds love my Australian native Grevilleas :)


Your garden is amazing! I try to aim toward native plants, too, but not entirely. My biggest problem is with non-natives that are invasive. They get chucked as much as possible. (Darn garlic mustard must be pulled every growing season. Ugh.) Your plentiful ferns are awesome!


Many of the plants native to Southern California look dead for most of the year, some are serious fire hazards, many won't grow on the subsoil that is left when houses are built, and some are so sensitive to soil moisture that they'll grow on a slight mound but die both on a higher one and in the usual flattened soil that comes with the house.

Put climate change on top of that, and one must be selective in what natives will work here. I've got a native oak that is an astounding bird magnet, and an exotic tree nearby that is equally bird magnetic. The birds didn't get the message--they like both.

Being "green" is all shades of grey, isn't it?

Lovely shot of your lovely peony, and enjoyed your thoughts on the subject of native plants.

Linda Brazill

Dear HB — Thanks for those thoughtful comments.You are correct about "shades of gray" and I think we are not getting enough expert discussion on these implications of climate change in our gardens. Gardeners want to do the right thing but it is pretty difficult to decide what that is these days. ​

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