The Importance of Native Plants
Native plants have evolved to be the most efficient and beneficial plants for our area. They are the best suited species for interacting with the local climate, soil types, and animals. There are many benefits to gardening with native plants such as less water usage, lower maintenance, natural pesticide defense, and native wildlife attraction. Native plants can also be just as beautiful as invasive species.
The Dangers of Non-native and Invasive Species
Some invasive species look pretty, but if they escape from your garden they may become serious wildland weeds that can cause extensive damage to our natural ecology and biodiversity. How does this occur? While our native species evolved, different pests and animals evolved with them to help cultivate and control their populations. Non-native species on the other hand have left their natural counterparts behind and are free to spread and take over massive quantities of land. These new plants can choke out our beautiful natives by stealing resources and changing the composition of the soil.
How do I know what to plant?
There are lots of resources out there for any gardener looking to create a beautiful all native garden:
Native Plant Tours
Spring Native Garden Tour - May 4th 2014
Bringing Back the Natives hosts an annual Spring Native Garden Tour every year in May. Various gardens in the Bay Area will be open for self tours and registered participants are welcome to browse these gardens and are encouraged to attend various talks that will be going on throughout the day. This is a free event, registration required. For more information or to register visit: www.bringingbackthenatives.net
A variety of bird- and butterfly-friendly, pesticide-free, water conserving, low maintenance gardens that contain 60% or more native plants will be open on Sunday, May 4, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at various locations throughout Alameda and Contra Costa counties. More than 40 garden talks will be scheduled throughout the day.
Music in the Gardens -This year, to celebrate the Tenth Anniversary of the Tour, a Music in the Gardens feature has been added. Come and hear the Appalachian dulcimer, lutes, flutes, banjos, guitars, Renaissance and folk music, and the a cappella Berkeley Community Chamber singers. Free, of course! See the garden guide for details.
Workshops - In addition to the Tour and plant sale, a series of workshops will be offered this spring. Learn how to sheetmulch your lawn away, or how to design a native plant garden that contains color throughout the year. Judy Adler will be leading three tours of her amazing Walnut Creek garden (think chickens, pond, rainwater harvesting, native plants, fruit trees, seed collection, and more!).
Native Plant Sale Extravaganza! - May 3 and 4, 2014
There will be native plants sales occurring at various nurseries throughout the Bay Area. Take advantage of this opportunity to purchase a great selection of hard-to-find natives and talk to experts about creating your own native garden. For a full list of participating locations check out www.bringingbackthenatives.net
Water-Efficient Landscape Rebate Program
Contra Costa Water District is offering rebates to customers who replace their front lawns and other publicly visible lawns with water efficient landscaping. For more information on this program and how you can participate vist: www.ccwater.com.
Bay Friendly Landscape Professional Resources
Check out the City's page on Professional Native Landscaping Best Pracitices for information on native plants, certifications and other useful resources.