Native Gardener’s Corner—Members’ Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

This column is a regular newsletter feature offering chapter members and local experts a chance to briefly share information on many things related to gardening with natives. Answers are listed in the order received.

Our question for this Newsletter is “What native plant has been successful in your garden, even though you planted it in the summer months?

Thea Gavin *

Rama Nayeri: “I have found that Autumn Sage, California Woodland Strawberry, and Yerba Buena tend to work really well in my clients’ gardens.”

Bob Allen: “Buckwheats!”

Chuck Wright: “I only plant in late fall and winter and early spring, except for cactus, like opuntia when it drops its pads. I will plant the pads with the edge facing south and a rock supporting each side and that seems to work.”

Mark Sugars: “In my experience, as long as you plant it in the shade and give it enough water to get it established, Fragaria vesca (Woodland Strawberry) does not care when you install it.”

Orchid Black: “I regularly do summer plantings, and I have planted Eriogonums, Ceanothus (with some shade help), Arctostaphylos, Salvias, Mimulus, and many others in summer with success. However, Epilobium californicum (formerly Zauschneria) has failed in more than one summer planting, so I don't include it in my palette for summer planting, and if in clay soils I don’t use Penstemon eatonii in summer either.”

Dan Songster: “Over the years at Golden West College Native Garden I have had the chance to test out a lot of different natives, including planting them in different seasons. Many of the plants from the Channel Islands, our oak woodland, and grasslands if given extra water did well with summer planting. But I would say for me the standout group that always perform the best are coastal sage scrub plants. It seems every one of them had no problem making it through the summer heat as long as they were given the needed water. Sage, buckwheat, sagebrush, encelia, and most of that community do just great—if you keep an eye on them through fall.”

Our question for the next newsletter is: “With fall approaching, what changes are you planning for your native garden this coming year?”

Email your responses to Dan Songster at . [When contemplating this question, think about preparing your garden for the 2015 garden tour! The Ed.]