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Planting Native Garden - Hiding awkward stage?

Posted by slowjane USDA 10 - Sunset 21 (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 12, 14 at 14:10

Hi all,

I'm working on landscaping the front of my little cottage in Atwater Village in LA - and using only natives, mostly from Theodore Payne - two kinds of Ceanothus, several kinds of buckwheats, a fuschia, a lupine, and others....

I got some of the free city mulch - and now thinking it will be too rich for these plants - and having a hard time getting a good answer as far as what I can put on the bare dirt to keep it from blowing into my house so I won't feel like I live in the Dust Bowl like my granny - last summer was crazy!!

So it's sort of a mulch question - or maybe a groundcover question - or an erosion question - ? It seems like I should mulch around the plants later in the year as it gets warm - but what to do about the aesthetic/dust bowl problem between the plants as I wait for them to fill in?

Perhaps bark is the right idea? - if so, is it important that it's redwood? what about decomposed granite to keep things tidy and keep the dust down?

Any advice much appreciated!!!!!

slowjane
los angeles, atwater village 90039


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Planting Native Garden - Hiding awkward stage?

Natives are a journey & those that plant them are appreciated by the Mother. As long as city mulch you have down is 3 or more inches away from the crown you are probably fine.
I would remove it only if:

If you have access to oak leaves - California natives love oak leaves. Shred them and use this as the mulch. Again keeping it 3 or more inches away from the crown so they can breath.
Or
Rocks. A biggish rock or 3 on the hottest side of the plant, 6 to 8 inches away from the base. This creates a moist shadow in the soil that they will send feeder roots into & draw from in the hottest part of the summer.
Good luck.


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RE: Planting Native Garden - Hiding awkward stage?

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 13, 14 at 14:36

If you go look around a native area there is mulch-like material on the surface, fallen leaves and so forth. Mulch is not a problem.


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RE: Planting Native Garden - Hiding awkward stage?

When I first planted my natives garden there were a lot of spaces between what would someday become large plants. Someone gave me many packets of annual seeds. I put all in a bowl, mixed thoroughly, and tossed all over. For the next couple of years the garden was a riot of annual color. The annuals started to disappear just as the natives were starting to get large enough to make a presence.


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RE: Planting Native Garden - Hiding awkward stage?

  • Posted by nil13 z21 L.A., CA (Mt. Wa (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 11:11

The mulch from the city is just fine for those natives, just keep the crowns clear.


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RE: Planting Native Garden - Hiding awkward stage?

your selections from Theodore Payne sound LOVELY!!

when we planted our native garden here in LA we used city mulch to start, 3-4" thick, but kept the mulch away from the crown of the plant (where the plant goes into the ground) and it worked out fine. 1-2 years later we got beautiful Sycamore tree mulch from a tree trimming company and used that to supplement and replace the older mulch. And it was FREE-- tree trimmers have to pay to dump their mulched up trimmings, so they're happy to deliver to you and get it of their hands. Just make sure you work w a reputable tree trimmer so you know what you're getting (not a diseased tree or something).


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RE: Planting Native Garden - Hiding awkward stage?

Just reiterating what everyone else basically said: natives will take some times to get established (but you'll be so happy when they do). Some people like to plant fillers, like annuals, as previously said, or other short-lived plants, like Gambelia (aka Galvezia) or Acmispon, to temporarily fill it in. There's a lot more choices out there.

Really glad to see another California native gardener :)


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RE: Planting Native Garden - Hiding awkward stage?

  • Posted by slowjane USDA 10 - Sunset 21 (My Page) on
    Mon, Jan 20, 14 at 13:54

Thanks so much everyone! Glad I didn't sweep the mulch back into the green bin. ;) Thanks for the recommendations. The folks at Theodore Payne mentioned planting wildflowers so perhaps I will clear away some spots and throw some of my Shady Mix down for a little color in the meantime.

Thanks for your help as I navigate the waters of native gardening for the first time!!


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RE: Planting Native Garden - Hiding awkward stage?

Wildflowers are good, it's true. There is a saying about the growth of natives: first year, they sleep, 2nd they creep, third year they leap. Be patient!


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RE: Planting Native Garden - Hiding awkward stage?

  • Posted by slowjane USDA 10 - Sunset 21 (My Page) on
    Tue, Jan 28, 14 at 15:11

okay - theodore payne's shady mix planted...fingers crossed...;)


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