Weekend plant sale at Grow Native

Juli and I wandered up to the Grow Native Nursery in West L.A. for their Autumn Garden Party last Saturday. We took a seat at the periphery of a lecture and I was pleased to immediately recognize the lecturer, Barbara Eisenstein, of the Weeding Wild Suburbia blog. I read her blog often for its insightful commentary and I'm pleased to report that her lecture was good humored, engaging, and informative. Even Juli, not even close to my level of native plant fanaticism, got interested. Later, I introduced myself to Barbara, not having previously met her in person, and she told me that she recognized me. What a nice bit of serendipity to have run into her!

I went with the intention of purchasing only a replacement for the dead Giant Chain Fern in the more-sunny-than-I-expected pot by the front door, but I ended up with much more. Of course.
I found three Ribes aureum var. gracillimum (Golden Currant) which I planted along the fence on the south side of the driveway on 5' centers. They will soften the fence (one of those horrible unrelentingly manufactured-looking vinyl fences) and provide foliage in counterpoint to the Cercis occidentalis (Western Red Bud) that I planted earlier this year in front of them.

Cercis + Ribes is a well-known plant combination that I used at my previous house. It's a bit odd that despite the fact that my landscape plans are orthogonal to most of the other houses in my neighborhood, that I'm a bit dissatisfied simply because Ribes + Cercis is a relatively commonplace combination among native plant gardens. I find myself yearning for the next least common thing. I guess I enjoy being a bit different. Still, it's the front yard, so in terms of being a public example for native plants it will work admirably. Following the guideline that repetition is a fundamental and attractive garden design practice, I may add several more.

I was happy to purchase Vaccinium ovatum (California Huckleberry). I haven't tried this before and it's somewhat rare in the trade. I'll plant three underneath the fruit trees in the side yard and try to mulch with pine needles.

I found two Rhamnus californica ssp californica (California Coffeeberry) from my long term shopping list. These go on the back hill.

Also scratching my itch for something new was Lepechinia fragrans (Fragrant Pitcher Sage), which I have not grown before, and which is native to the Channel Islands and LA County. Palos Verdes is often considered to be the most coastal of the Channel Islands given similarities in climate and soils. The helpful staff at Grow Native pointed me to it for the pot by the front door. Apparently it can take a variety of lighting and soil conditions, which makes it good for the front door pot where the Giant Chain Fern was.

In winter there's little direct light, but in summer it sees a few hours of intense direct sun every day. I bought a second one for somewhere else in the garden.

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