Native Gardeners’ 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 listed in order received.

The request for this edition of the OC-CNPS Newsletter is: “I found my Calochortus venustus that had sprouted so nicely eaten to the ground by rabbits and said, Arrgggh!!! What has made you say “Arrgggh” so far this year?”

Ron Vanderhoff - “My Aristida purpurea – purple three-awn grass. I should have known better, having seen the naturalized planting at Tree of Life Nursery, but I planted a few of these anyway. They are beautiful, but after trying to hand pull all the volunteers for the past few years I have now officially lost the battle. The patch is bigger every year. I need to make it go away before I have a complete “purple three-awn” landscape.”

Leon Baginski - ”Snails!!!! I live by the coast and the moisture in the air brings them out in this cooler weather and they eat all my lupine to the ground!!! Arghhhh!!!!”

Rama Nayeri - “For my own garden I ARGG that I have a 100 square feet of concrete patio, the only garden space I have that I cannot remove or change. I also have an AC unit that I cannot permanently cover.”

Mark Sugars - “Arrgggastropods!”

Jeanne Carter - “I lost several plants to skunks digging for grubs a El Modena HS Nature Center. Arrggh!!! Anyone have solutions? Wire mesh around the plants did not work.”

Helen Smisko - “After watching Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer/Fusarium (PSHB) attack Acer, Platanus, and Parkinsonia trees, it was then found on Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden's first Populus tree.”

Laura Camp - “I looked out my back window this past winter, an my Arctostaphylos ‘Howard McMinn’ was wilted and obviously going downhill fast. At that point there was nothing I could do but watch it die. Arrgggh! In the end I only lost part of it (a maibranch split) but part of it lived, and new growth is sprouting from a rooted branch, and will fill in the missing plant.”

Curt Craft -“My moment is with Encelia farinosa. I did not prune the stalks back and when some strong winds came along, some of the stalks broke off at the base of the plant. Arrgggh!!!”

Celia Kutcher -“Hot dry winds, instead of the predicted rain, that dried up the Baby Blue Eyes & Freeway Lupines before their time.”

Sarah Jayne - “I arrived one morning at the native plant school garden I have tended for the last 8 years to find that half the garden had been stripped and replanted with non-native “drought tolerant” things. This was way beyond arrrrggghhh!

Dan Songster - “Besides my Calochortus being nibbled down to stubs by rabbits at Golden West College Native Garden (yes, it really did happen), at home my favorite 9 year old Humboldt Lily did not reappear this year but had rotted away. Super Arrrggghhh!!!!!”

Our question for the next newsletter is: “Which natives do really enjoy as a small tree and why?

Email your responses to Dan Songster at. Please remember to keep replies brief so we can include most of the responses!


2018 CNPS Conservation Conference Travel Grant

Congratulations to Marlee Antill, James Bailey, Rebecca Crow, Hailey Laskey, and Wilnelia Ricart, winners of our 2018 CNPS Conservation Conference Student Travel Grant! We look forward to seeing them at the Conference next February. 

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