Saturday, August 23, 2014

Native Check Up

“It’s been a year since we planted the natives,” I said grabbing my hat and sunglasses.
“And they’re doing okay,” Mr. Wonderful said looking up from his comic book.
“Are they?”
“Are you asking me or telling me?”
“What do you think?”

A year ago we ripped out the turf and in its place planted drought-tolerant and California native plants. And it wasn’t a day too soon since rain has skipped visiting the great state of California and instead soaked the Mid West, New York and London town. Last year Mr. Wonderful thought all we had to do was plunk the plants in the soil and PRESTO! they would take off, which is ridiculous. Meanwhile I held that the baby plants needed to be planted, monitored and watered (just a little) until they were established, then we could cut out the watering, which is realistic, savvy and just plain brilliant.

So on this summer day I traipsed out to the garden to check the status of the drought tolerants and California natives.

Last year we planted Buckwheat, a California native. It was scrawny in the ground.

But this year it grew and bloomed yellow flowers. They were funky and unusual and I liked them precisely because they were funky and unusual.

Last year we laid stepping stones sprinkled with Dymondia and Salvia.

This year the Dymondia and Salvia grew. Although the former needs to grow even more to live up to its nickname of “Silver Carpet”.

Last year I planted a Mallow with high hopes. The nurseywoman had told me it would grow into a large shrub with pink blossoms. A pretty native shrub with a pink blush? I was in! With this in mind I planted it near the street to block out said street and any cars. When I planted it, it was so small Mr. Wonderful pushed stakes around its perimeter to protect it. 

This year the good news is that the plant grew like Jack’s beanstalk! From that little wee-like plant grew a large shrub! The bad news is when it got to be a shrub, it died. I don’t know why it  died, but when it died, it did so magnificently, on a grand scale. The whole plant just shriveled up and croaked. What didn’t die were the Red Apple Succulents that grew toward it as well as a noxious weed at its base. Sigh.

“You think the Mallow is dead?” I said pointing at the brown skeleton of our plant.
“Are you asking me or telling me?”
“Gee, what do you think?”

Next: Who killed my Mallow? 


  1. I love this! I wish my land lord would agree to go native in the front yard. I refuse to waste water on the lawn, so it's 80% dead anyway. I tried to encourage them to go native for the tax credit. They said they wanted to wait until other people in the neighborhood did it and see how they like it. *sigh* I guess they're not trend setters.

    1. Thanks, Kristy!
      It was a lot of work to transform the turf into our native and drought-tolerant succulent garden, but I'm really happy we did it. In L.A. it's not a tax credit but a REFUND of $3 per square foot of turf that is removed. Tell your landord that! Miss you! Enjoy today!

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you, Patty! You know what a long process this has been! I hope all is well in your world! Enjoy today!