Native Plant Roll Call

erigeronI’ve decided to take the Native Plant Challenge issued over on Garden Smackdown. Andrew Keys (@oakleafgreen … do follow, you won’t be sorry) created a roll call of all the natives in his garden to help bring awareness to these wonderful plants. Now I’m a big fan of natives, but I’m no purist. I completely believe that managed water usage is the way to go in California and drought tolerant landscapes are very important. And there was a time that I would preach, “Natives, Natives, Natives.” But after watching several natives in my own yard wither and die in the heavy clay soil after a year or two, I realized there are other choices. Yes, there are natives that will thrive in clay soil, but they aren’t the ones I want in my front yard. The ones I want get annoyed with having their feet stay wet and suffer greatly during our occasional winter rains.  So, I’ve compromised. The plants I choose for the front yard are drought tolerant, but happy in my clay. Some are natives but many are exotics.  I’m still one of native plant’s biggest fans, but I’m no longer a radical. As I look over my rather small list, I realize that I need to refocus my efforts in my search for compatible native plants. This is good news, however, because I still have space to fill.

Here is a list of natives that seem to survive quite happily in my heavy clay soil:

Arctostaphylos  densiflora

Eschschollzia californica

Clarkia unguiculata

Muhlenbergia rigens

Achillea millefolium

Erigeron glaucus “Wayne Roderick”

Mimulus lewisii

In the yard they mingle quite happily with my exotic grasses, gallardia, succulents, thyme and oregano.

Edited to close comments. Getting too much spam on this particular post.

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6 comments for “Native Plant Roll Call

  1. March 17, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Hey Kat – You have the unique distinction of being the VERY FIRST West Coaster to take the native plant challenge! Woohoo! OK, so you’re only the second other person who’s been able to get their list together, but still, *I* think you rock. Thanks also for the shoutout to my blog and Twitter. You and I both have to read Tallamy, I think, the better to effectively spread the word, but you make a great point I’ve discussed with some others on Twitter today too. That is, if your native plants aren’t going to grow at all, they’re not going to be contributing anything. May as well plant a good non-native nectar plant or nitrogen fixer that’ll still give back.

    Thank you again, and see you on Twitter!

  2. Kat
    March 17, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Woot! I’m first at something. I’m looking forward to reading the book. We will have to discuss it once we are finished.

  3. March 18, 2010 at 7:17 am

    I took the challenge – I’m in the sand country of northwestern Indiana. I manage an extensive wild area (~350 acres), but live in a small town a couple of miles away. I’ve posted the native plants I grow in my garden, many collected from the abundant populations on the natural areas. Since some of them may not be grown in cultivation that often, I’ve included my comments for what they are worth. Not too scientific. Anyway, here’s the link:

    Bigeastern.com

    Writing this up was a great exercise, and reminded me of some other things I’d like to try.

  4. Kat
    March 18, 2010 at 8:31 am

    Hi Marty, I found this to be a great exercise too. You have quite a list on your blog. It’s funny that some of your natives are the exotics that I like to grow.

  5. March 18, 2010 at 8:32 am

    ooops…my link doesn’t work.

    try this:

    http://www.bigeastern.com/

    sorry about the double post.

  6. March 26, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    What a great idea. I best get educating myself.

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