Designing Your Native California Garden
Given that I am formally trained in landscape architecture from the University of Kentucky, my breadth of knowledge dealing with the plants found in California was slim to none. California has a unique climate that is only found in 5 relatively small locations across the globe: the Mediterranean, most of California, Chile, South Africa and the Southwestern part of Australia. An opportunity arose, which allowed me to take a course at Stanford University called “Designing Your Native California Garden.”
The course exposed me to plants that are native to California. I never fully grasped how many plants there are in California, but when considering the different ecological zones it makes more sense. Along with California’s unique climate is its diverse ranges of topography and floral areas, such as seacoast bluffs and coastal mountains, interior valleys, arid foothills, alpine zones, and two kinds of desert.
The class had two field trips, one of which was a tour of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden in Berkeley, CA. This botanic garden is part of the East Bay Regional Park District in Northern California. The East Bay Regional Park District contains over 120,000 acres of land spanning across Alameda and Contra Costa counties on the east side of the San Francisco Bay. The EBRPD is actively acquiring land with the intention of using this land in preservation projects, open space, trails and parks for future generations to enjoy.
When considering plants, one of the things we like to consider is how the plant will perform in its given setting. By using plants that are native to California, their chances of survival increase because they have spent many generations adapting to the unique climate found here. Not only will the plants thrive better, we can attempt to recreate the beneficial habitat that important animals and insects rely on for their survival.
Ben Craven, Designer in the San Mateo Office
September 2, 2016 at 6:48 pm