Fun learning about native plant landscaping….

Report from Barbara Brydolf and Denise Griego

The Alta Peak Chapter held a fun and successful landscaping workshop at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia on Saturday, August 27. Taught by Alta Peak Chapter native plant horticulture experts,  Melanie Keeley and Cathy Capone, the workshop focused on techniques for converting lawns and more thirsty landscaping into drought tolerant native plantings. While many Mediterranean plants around the world are grown successfully in our area, they don’t have the conservation and habitat values that our native plants provide. In at time when many animal species are in decline, providing habitat for insects, birds, and other animal species is more important than ever. Additionally, many native plants originating from outside our area or grown elsewhere and brought in, fail to thrive in our hot, arid climate.

A favorite part of the workshop was a slideshow presented by Melanie, where she showed us her favorite plants that have done well in the local area. For example, she mentioned a barberry, Berberis aquifolium ‘Compacta,‘ a low growing plant successful in dry shade. In addition to being a good plant for under our native oaks, the plant in different seasons is attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies (flowers) and other birds (fruits). Fall foliage color change is an added bonus. Another favorite mentioned was St. Catherine’s Lace, Eriogonum giganteum. Although a California native not from our local area, it has proven successful here and provides an extraordinarily long season of bloom.

Part of the workshop consisted of the nineteen participants using plans and photos of their own yards to design new landscaping. People did a lot of sharing of their own situations with the hopes they had for their new gardens. It was exciting to hear all their ideas and challenges. A side bonus was that the workshop attracted twelve new CNPS—Alta Peak Chapter members, including two who came all the way from Fresno! The timing is perfect for participants to order plants for their projects from the upcoming Alta Peak Chapter annual native plant sale coming on October 1, 2016.
Happy Planting!
swallowtailonsalviaclevelandii
Swallowtail butterfly enjoying native Clevland Sage (Salvia Clevelandii)
photo by Melanie Keeley

Sources for native plant horticulture tips…from the CNPS State organization
Gardening with Natives: cnps.org/cnps/grownative
Calscape Native Plant Data Base: calscape.org

DIY Native Landscaping Workshop

Saturday, August 27, 2016 from 9 am-12:30 pm
College of the Sequoias in Visalia, CA*
Presented by:
Melanie Keeley, Native Plant Specialist, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
Cathy Capone, former owner of Cal Natives Nursery in Porterville

NativeLandscape © Melanie Keeley
photo by Melanie Keeley

The traditional garden of expansive lawns, lolly-popped shrubs, and sporadic trees is a thing of the past.  With California’s unprecedented drought, it is time for a beautiful new model.   California native plants not only use a fraction of the water that typical gardens do, they are attractive and colorful as well.  In this class, designed for native plant novices, we will help you learn 1) how to ditch your lawn, 2) how to select tried and true native plants, 3) how to combine them for maximum effect and 4) how to design your own drought tolerant native garden.   With a plan in place, you can landscape your garden in manageable steps. This is a great opportunity to transition from a high care, water indulgent garden into a natural, sustainable low water use, beautiful garden.

Registration fee:  CNPS members – $40, Non-members – $50
Note: By joining the Alta Peak Chapter of the California Native Plant Society at this time, you will also be eligible to pre-order native plants, at a 10% discount, prior to our October 1 Annual Fall Plant Sale.

Pre-registration is required. Class size is limited.
Call 559-799-7438 for registration, as well as questions.
*Directions to location will be given at time of registration.

Field Trip to Intermountain Nursery on October 10

Saturday, October 10, 2015
8 am to late afternoon

, meet at Nursery at 9:30 am

Harvest Festival at Intermountain Nursery
30443 Auberry Road
Prather, California

Meet to carpool at 8 am at Mary’s Vineyard Shopping Mall (near the McDonald’s)
at 1447 E. Noble Ave, Visalia at the Ben Maddox exit off Highway 198

In lieu of the annual Alta Peak Chapter’s native plant sale, which will return October, 2016, a special field trip is slated to visit Intermountain Nursery in Prather, one of the best Central Valley located places to find quality California native plants. A vast selection of well grown native plants, naturally adapted for drought-tolerant landscapes, will be available. The field trip coincides with the annual Harvest Arts and Peace Festival at the Nursery and will include music, art, fine crafts and artisan foods.

Alta Peak Chapter members will be with the group to answer questions about growing native plants. The nursery sales staff will also be on hand to answer questions and will help in selecting the right plant for the right place.

The group will carpool  from Visalia to Prather or participants may choose to meet at the  Nursery at about 9:30 am.  Although the Harvest Festival actually starts at 10 am, the Chapter has been invited by the owners, Ray Laclergue and Bonnie Bladen, to arrive any time after 8:30 am. Please allow room in your vehicle for any plants that may be purchased at the nursery.

This Field Trip is free and open to anyone. A map to the Nursery can be found here.  For information about the field trip, call 559-799-7438.

Intermountain Nursery[nursery grounds, photo via intermountainnursery.com]

Intermountain Nursery[herb garden, photo via intermountainnursery.com]

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Other Fall Events with Alta Peak Chapter

September 19: Chapter Fall Program
“Creating Drought-Tolerant, Wildlife-Friendly Native Landscapes”

October 3: Native Plant Landscape Design Clinic

Native Plant Landscape Design Clinic on October 3

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presented by Cathy Capone, Horticulture Chair for Alta Peak Chapter
and Melanie Keeley, Restoration Horticulturalist for Sequoia National Park

Saturday, October 3, 2015 from 9-12 noon
Three Rivers Union School
41932 Sierra Drive (Hwy 198), Three Rivers

Growing plants in this arid, hot climate is definitely challenging, but California native plants are proven survivors!  To help plan a beautiful, drought-tolerant, low care native garden, the Alta Peak Chapter of the California Native Plant Society is offering a colorfully illustrated, DIY native plant landscape design workshop. Don’t miss this great opportunity to learn how to landscape any yard in a low care, sustainable, practical way. With a simple planting plan in place, the landscaping process can be done in manageable steps or phases.

Native plant experts, Melanie Keeley and Cathy Capone, together with a combined thirty year experience in growing California native plants, will share information about the most colorful, showy, and popular native plants, including planting, care and maintenance principles. Learn ways to combine plants in a new landscape for the longest possible flowering. The landscaping workshop will guide participates in designing individual native plant gardens.

Participants are encouraged to bring photographs of existing landscapes, a rough sketch of the area to be landscaped with specific dimensions, noting sun and shade exposure, special features and concerns. The instructors will provide native plant and landscaping expertise, graph paper, pencils, beverages and snacks.

Registration fee:
$40 for members of the California Native Plant Society
$50 for non-members
Workshop size is limited and reservations are required.
Call 559.799.7438 to register.

Native Plants © Melanie Keeley[Native plant landscape with deer grass and buckwheat © Melanie Keeley]

Urban Native Plant Garden Design

[sample of a garden design for an urban setting via cnps.org]

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Other Fall Events with Alta Peak Chapter

September 19: Chapter Fall Program
“Creating Drought-Tolerant, Wildlife-Friendly Native Landscapes”

October 10: Field Trip to Intermountain Nursery

Fall Program Set for Saturday, September 19

“Creating Drought-Tolerant, Wildlife-Friendly Native Landscapes”
presented by Bobby Kamansky, Biologist and Ecological Consultant

Saturday, September 19, 2015 at 7 pm

Meeting and Greeting at 6:30 pm
Three Rivers Arts Center
41673 North Fork Drive

This program is free and open to the public.

For this timely program, Three Rivers’ own Bobby Kamansky will be sharing his perspective and considerable experience on landscaping and restoring lands using California native plants. He will describe landscape methods and designs he has found that will minimize water use, while increasing drought resilience as well as beneficial insects, pollinators, birds and other desirable animals. Using various examples, he will compare, contrast and illustrate site concepts, plant color pallets and costs.  Applying these practical principles in many kinds of landscapes will conserve essential natural resources, while creating an appealing, sustainable and successful landscape in the increasingly challenging climate.

Kamansky, owner and principal biologist for Kamansky’s Ecological Consulting, has nearly twenty years of biological and ecological experience across a broad range of project complexities, habitats, communities and ecosystems on two continents.  Knowledgeable and passionate about all things natural in the Sierra Nevada Foothills and throughout the Central Valley, he has accumulated an impressive resume managing land planning projects, doing biological assessments and impact studies, research, restoration projects on a variety of habitats. His expertise includes planning for endangered species conservation and restoration, natural lands management and restoration, mapping, and natural resource interpretation.

NativeLandscape © Melanie KeeleyCalifornia Native Plant Garden Landscape” © Melanie Keeley

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Other Fall Events with Alta Peak Chapter

October 3: Native Plant Landscape Design Clinic

October 10: Field Trip to Intermountain Nursery

Design and Plan a Native Plant Garden

Native Plant Garden Design Clinic

Held from 9-12 noon, choose from two dates, either
September 14, 2013 in Three Rivers
or September 28, 2013 in Porterville

The clinics will be taught jointly by Melanie Keeley and Cathy Capone.
Keeley is the Restoration Horticulturalist for Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks.
Capone is owner of Cal Natives Nursery in Porterville.

Pre-registration is required for clinics. Class size is limited.

To register for September 14, call 559-799-7438.
To register for September 28, call 559-361-9164.
CNPS members $10, non-members $25
California Poppy © Melanie Keeley[photo © Melanie Keeley]

Growing plants in our extreme climate is challenging and our amazing California native plants are proven survivors!  Having a simple planting plan with compatible plant selections will help make your landscape a beautiful success.  This workshop is a great opportunity to make progress in beautifying your surroundings, while creating bird and butterfly habitat in a natural and sustainable way. With a plan in place, you can break down the landscaping process into manageable steps or phases.

You will be introduced to a basic palette of native plants, and then you will be able combine them for compatibility and longest possible flowering.  Relevant and informative reference books and posters will also be available to purchase during each clinic. Plants will be available for sale at the Chapter’s Annual Native Plant Sale on October 5 at the Three Rivers Arts Center from 9:30 am to 3 pm.

Bring the following items (as best you can):

  • photos of the existing landscape
  • rough sketch of area to be landscaped, with a directional “North Arrow”, dimensions, noting sun and shade exposure and special features or concerns
  • soil sample (1/4 cup)

The Chapter will supply:

  • native plant and landscape design expertise
  • graph paper and pencils
  • beverages and snacks

Melanie Keeley has had a breadth of professional experience over the past twenty-five years, working on varied aspects of California native plants.  As restoration horticulturalist, she currently runs the Ash Mountain Native Plant Nursery at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, where she oversees the production of plants used to revegetate approximately two dozen parks-wide restoration projects.

As an independent consultant, Keeley has specialized in the cultivation and propagation of California native plants.  Some of the contracts she has undertaken include planning, supervising, and monitoring land restoration projects, floristic and surveys, education, interpretation, freelance author, and nursery development. With the Redbud Garden Club, she assisted with the design and installation of five public native plant gardens in Three Rivers. You can see these gardens at the Three Rivers Post Office, the Veterans Memorial Building, the CAL Fire Station, the Tulare County Fire Station and the Three Rivers Public Library. Keeley is currently President of the Alta Peak Chapter.

Cathy Capone is the owner of Cal Natives Nursery in Porterville, which she started in the late 1990’s. Her interest in gardening began early in life where gardening in the sand dune soils of the Sunset District of San Francisco was easy but much different than the Central Valley and Foothills. She completed coursework in arboriculture at Canada College. Extended time spent in the coastal redwood forests, both as a resident and later as a naturalist at an outdoor education camp, provided a native plant aesthetic to her landscape knowledge.

After moving to Porterville, Capone became actively involved with the Tule River Parkway Association and held the position of President of the association for a decade. During this time the need for locally specific native plants became apparent.  She has written and managed a number of grants for tree planting and small park development

Re-imagining the California Lawn and Garden
 Using California Native Plants

Alta Peak Chapter Fall Program
September 15 , 2012 at 7 pm

Presenter: Bart O’Brien
,
Horticulturalist and Director of Special Projects
at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont

Three Rivers Arts Center
Directions: east on Highway 198 to Three Rivers. Turn left on North Fork Drive (just before Anne Lang’s Emporium).The Arts Center is the first building on the left after crossing the bridge over Kaweah River.

Bart O’Brien is one of the authors of Reimagining the California Lawn, along with Carol Bornstein and David Fross. They are visionary horticulturalists, who also wrote the award-winning book California Native Plants for the Garden. In this program, he will share his passion for water-wise plants and landscapes to help us discover the many possibilities and pleasures that come with reimagining our California lawn and garden.

This talk will cover the basics of gardening with California native plants (What is a California native plant? Why should I be interested in growing these plants? Why are these plants different from the usual plants found in nurseries?) as well as providing examples of some of the most beautiful and useful native plants from some of our best gardens and landscapes. These spectacular plants are then showcased through the prism of our five senses: touch, smell, sight, taste, and sound.

 

Bart O’Brien is Director of Special Projects at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (RSABG) in Claremont an educational institution dedicated to research, conservation, and horticulture of California. A fifth generation Californian, he is an authority on the native flora of the state and of northern Baja California, Mexico and is an accomplished collector, grower, photographer, lecturer, and author.

His most recent publication is a 514 page edit of a Percy Everett manuscript which was completed and published online earlier this year (2012) and is titled Second Summary of the Horticulture and Propagation of California Native Plants at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden 1950-1970. Bart’s ongoing work with the rivers of Los Angeles County resulted in the collaborative publication of the Los Angeles River Master Plan Landscaping Guidelines and Plant Palettes for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works in 2004, and his Plant Lists for the San Gabriel River Watershed for the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy in 2007.

Bart was named Horticulturist of the Year in 2005 by the Southern California Horticultural Society. O’Brien was listed as one of “The 100 Most Powerful People in Southern California” by the editorial staff of the Los Angeles Times/West Magazine (Aug. 13, 2006). Bart was also editor of Fremontia, the journal of CNPS, from 2006 to 2009.

Also, Bart is currently working on a wide array of native plant projects, including the following:

• Leading the rare, endangered, and endemic vascular plants of northwestern Baja California, Mexico project (primarily funded by the Jiji Foundation; The project cooperators are: José Delgadillo Rodriquez, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Ensenada, Mexico; Steve Junak, Herbarium Curator, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara; Thomas Oberbauer, Chief Land Use Planner, San Diego County Department of Planning and Land Use, San Diego; Jon Rebman, Curator of Botany, San Diego Museum of Natural History, San Diego; Hugo Riemann, Departamento de Estudios Urbanos y del Medio Ambiente, El Colegio de la Frontera Norte, Tijuana, Mexico; and Sula Vanderplank, Herbarium Collections Manager, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont).

• Co-curating (with John Wickham of the Theodore Payne Foundation, Carolyn Bennett, and Kitty Connolly of The Huntington) the exhibit When They Were Wild of California native plant folk art at The Huntington’s Boone Gallery in the spring of 2013.