Wednesday, April 11, 2007

plant{ing} community


ahhhh. stretch. good to be back. the break was much needed. went too quickly. so enjoyed being with my mum. {can't wait for a trip home in june!}

we finally made the trip to the Theodore Payne Foundation over the weekend. i had never been, but had heard mention of it, and had been urged to visit after my post on sew green about our gardening plans. it was well worth it. they were founded in 1960 with the mission to "promote and restore California landscapes, and habitats", "propagate and make available California native plants and wildflowers", and "educate and acquire knowledge about California flora and natural history". {it was also their annual "poppy day" with plants priced 10% off!} what we thought would be an hour visit turned into a morning. the big bug was fascinated by the variety of plants. and walked around searching for tags with "dry", "full sun", "clay soil".

we are trying to plant by community. with the notion that plants which would grow together in nature, should grow well together in our yard. their similar needs will also ease maintenance. and they will attract more native critters {birds, lizards, and small mammals} to our yard as well. {we are also basing our plan on the concept of the national wildlife federation's backyard wildlife habitat program.}

we settled on a range of ceanothus {california lilacs} - some that will serve as low ground cover on what was our front lawn, others that will grow to be small trees around our pool; a largish variety of sage for drama; some toyon ground cover; a couple of native succulents that i couldn't resist; california fuschia for the butterflies and hummingbirds; and for good measure - a california bush sunflower {which isn't a member of "our community" but i thought i'd throw an outsider in the mix - plus they are a favorite of mine and a reminder of my prairie home.}

we are also going outside the box with a little meadow for our breezeway, which will also house a new pond for giselle. it is also an area which will be easy to give a little extra attention {"semi-dry" choices here instead of "dry"} to due to its small size. the girls chose most of the plants for this area, their favorite the dainty coral bells hybrids {as pictured above} and various grasses.

next trip - a few monkeyflower plants; some yarrow; manzanita; buckwheat; and a vine to cover the wall of the new sitting area off our bedroom.

it's great. neighbors passing by are all very curious about where our {albeit dead} grass has gone - and once they hear the virtues of native planting, they seem to be joining in. it will be curious to see the transformation {if any} along our little street.


i am madly preparing for our big sunday event for the school at month's end. so far it all sounds pretty on track. with a few bumps i hope to have resolved this week. we will be planting a native garden on the campus, touching up a faded mural and doing some general "sparkling". my mission "to promote and restore" our neighborhood, with our school being the heart of it all. {hopefully attracting new families, and birds and butterflies too!}

happy wednesday!


BunkleLife said...

Great stuff T! Exciting to plan I bet. Can't wait to hear how Sunday goes. Reading your garden plans makes me feel that much worse about my own - which is calf-deep grass and weeds right now (I'm using the excuse that it has been too wet to mow). Feel guilty about the tiny narcicus flowers poking their yellow heads up from amongst the chaos. Ohhhh how I want to change from grass to something else. In time, in time.

this single spark said...

I almost can't read your blog these days. There's too many green things... I'm itchin' to get out in the garden, but even if I had the time (which I will as of Monday), it's still too cold!!! All I can do is dream, while you "do". So jealous!

Ali said...

Love your idea of a native garden. It drives me crazy seeing folks using hosepipes to keep alive what should not have been planted there in the first place.

Hope you have heaps of success and convert all the neighbours.

melissa f. said...

consider us there in spirit on big sunday... so much good, t! giselle is going to have quite the posh digs. nice job, girls.

amy h said...

I love trips to the nursery. This will be beautiful! Have fun watching it turn into a landscape (once all the hard work is done).

Amy said...

Great ideas! I'm trying to get in the gardening mood, but woke up to snow on the ground this morning. What the heck? We finally gave up on covering our flowers and things that had started to bloom and are trying to be fatalists about the whole thing. I'd just be happy if the sun would come out. Maybe I need to move to sunny California :)
Every time I read an issue of Sunset I think what a lovely place it must be to live. This blog only serves to further the mystique.

kelly said...

wow - sounds so fantastic! we wiped out everything in our jungle of a yard last summer, and we're hoping to make a tiny planting start this year. we'd love to do native/drought resistant too. any recommendations for some place to start?

Courtney said...

I thought you might be interested in the Ann Arbor school gardening initiative. I saw Alice Waters speak there a few years ago.

tracy said...

thanks all! and courtney - it is amazing - thank you!

leslie said...

very inspiring tracy, i am trying to connect the cerritos wetlands project along with the long beach group that promotes native california plants to our bluebird group...try to make "green issues" a theme and making it fun! we are planting a tree at our local camp fire camp for arbor day and we want to do a native calif poppy garden. i think our local public school would be a fun project to work on too, thanks for the tips!