Going Native with Theodore Payne

March 28, 2009 § 3 Comments

Natives in Bloom on the Theodore Payne Garden Tour

Natives in Bloom on the Theodore Payne Garden Tour

I’ve mentioned the Theodore Payne Foundation (full name: Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants) and their native plant nursery here briefly before, but I want to elaborate a bit and alert the local creek freaks to some events that they’re hosting coming up next week.

The non-profit Theodore Payne is the premiere resource for California native plants. They have an excellent nursery located in Sun Valley – not only can you purchase native plants and ask questions to experts, you can see a lot of examples of how the natives will look in the ground. You can also find Theodore Payne at the Sunday Hollywood Farmers’ market, too. They also host a wildflower hotline/website with up to the minute advice on where to find the best native wildflower blooms.

For my garden, I grow mostly edibles. Around the edges, though, but I do grow natives, including yarrow, California fuschia, sage, and a few others. All these are plants I got from Theodore Payne.

Why plant natives? Well, for one, we’re in a drought (or perhaps a climate catastrophe) so it’s important that we conserve water. Natives are adapted to the rainwater that we receive. They’re also part of connecting with the land where we live. Just as we creek freaks try to understand the creeks that used to flow through our neighborhoods, we also want to connect with the plants that originally grew in and along them.  Many natives provide habitat for local birds and butterflies.

Thinking about planting a native garden? Or just interested in learning more about natives? Well, you’re in luck. This week there are two events:

Theodore Payne Foundation’s Sixth Annual Garden Tour takes place this Saturday and Sunday, April 4th and 5th, from 10am to 4pm in 45 homes – from Altadena to Topanga, and in a neighborhood near you. You probably can’t see them all, but if you go to backyards near you, you can get a sense for what might grow well in your garden. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online or by calling (818) 768-1802.

California Native Plants for the Garden, Cachuma Press 2006

California Native Plants for the Garden, Cachuma Press 2006

In conjunction with the tour, there’s also a free lecture by Carol Bornstein entitled “Indulging Our Senses in the Native Garden” on Saturday, April 4th from 6:30pm – 8:30pm at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood 90027 (easy access from the Metro Red Line Sunset/Vermont Station.) Bornstein is the co-author of California Native Plants for the Garden.

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