With the spring equinox and nicer weather, the urge to dig in the garden has overtaken me. I’ve been wanting to tear my front lawn out and do a combination of native plants and edible ones for the past 5 years. Time and the expense are what have primarily stopped that ambitious endeavor.
However, the other day, I saw one of our hummingbirds trying to feed off of our rosemary plant and realized something had to be done to help the little guy (or girl) out. I searched the internet for native plants that supported hummingbirds and discovered these lovely, native, drought-tolerant beauties.
These don’t look like much now, but here they are in full bloom.
Mesa Blanca Yarrow
Heuchera Canyon Duet
To plant them, I needed a place in my yard. This meant pulling out the African daisy that, while pretty and nice, served primarily as a little hiding place for pill bugs and grubs, but did nothing else for California fauna, and my day lilies. Like the African daisy, the day lilies might be lovely when they bloom, but they were a spawning ground and nursery for snails. Tons and tons of snails. (Yes, I know opossums eat snails, but, in my neighborhood, they’re more interested in cat and dog food.)
TIP: Both the African daisy and the day lilies were deeply embedded in the soil. How did I pull them out without breaking my back? I originally tried the shovel. That didn’t work very well. Luckily, the digging fork I bought for composting is perfect for loosening the soil and removing stubborn plants like these.
Why Native Plants?
For me, it’s simple. Native plants evolved with the local fauna and environment. Not only are they the easiest to grow in your yard with the least amount of maintenance, but they support that ecosystem.
Where to Buy Native Plants
TIP: If you’re looking for native plants and live in Southern California, Theodore Payne Foundation is the perfect place to shop for them. They sprout their plants from seeds they’ve collected from their own stock, you can buy seeds from them (it’s cheaper than buying the plants, although more time-consuming), all of their plants are pesticide/insecticide free, and they have icons that tell you what type of fauna (hummingbirds, butterflies, bees) the plants attract, what soil they thrive in, sun exposure needed, etc. The people also happen to be extremely helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable.
TIP: If you live in other parts of the US and are looking for native plants, but aren’t in Southern California, either Google it or check out the National Parks Service’s Plant Conservation Alliance website. There are some wonderful links.
TIP: Be sure that, wherever you buy your plants from, they are free from insecticides like neonicotinoids. Unless it specifically says otherwise, don’t assume. Many nurseries’ non-organic plants have been known to be sprayed with this poison.
I hope my gardening tips have been helpful. Maybe next time you plant, you’ll consider planting native. 🙂
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