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!