Saturday, October 17, 2020

Native Plant Palette Set

 The native California plant palette has been set with the help and direction of Randi Gunder at Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano.  Randi is a Landscape Designer and a tremendous help to us as we evaluate and plan the next steps of our native landscape.

So, why native?  There are many reasons that we chose to go with a more native landscape.  First, I have always enjoyed the great outdoors and am most impressed with mother natures ability to create grand gardens.  These eco-systems always seem to strike a balance and plants flourish.  Second, the native plants of the region are well adapted to the climate, and therefore require much less water and are less susceptible to disease.  Third, I appreciate the small and proportional flowers and showmanship of native plants.  Far to often I see plants that have been bred to produce flowers they can barely hold up.  To me this looks like a Frankenstein anomaly, and I struggle to find the beauty in it.  I am convinced that many of the natives produce better looking foliage with striking colors and textures.  These plants have evolved to protect themselves for survival and the armor that they've built is beautiful and purposeful.  And finally, native plants draw wildlife and insects while maintaining a natural balance.  These are just some of the reasons why we're committed to an 80% native plant garden.

We arrived at the Tree of Life Nursery at around 11am.  From there, we sat with Randi and shared the work that we'd done to date.  She had prepared a base drawing using photos I had sent her earlier.  Fifteen minutes into the design consultation and we were browsing the Nursery grounds discussing plants, textures, insects and fragrance.  This was a really wonderful way to develop the conversation and learn about each others tastes and interests.  In fact, we learned a lot about what native plants make great cocktail infusions.  What a fun idea!

After an hour of discussing plants and looking at all different shapes and sizes, Randi was off to the races heads down building out a conceptual landscape plan based on our likes, the space we have and all the considerations that we discussed.  There was some discussion during the design/drawing phase to clarify and work towards the final product.  This took her approximately 45 minutes, and the final product was this:

To better visualize this, I loaded the plants into a spreadsheet and attached photos.  The IDs in the document correspond to the numbers on the design.  This document makes up the palette that we plan to work with.  We are making a few adjustments and will continue to look at this for the next couple of months as we plan the planting project in phases.

Overall, our experience working with Randi and the Tree of Life nursery was exceptional.  It was exactly what we were looking for.  We had spent months looking at books, but were overwhelmed with the choices and needed direction.  Her help to build the palette was what we needed and we would recommend it to anyone taking on this type of project.

1 comment:

Sharon Kwilter said...

We have a mix of natives and cultivated plants in our yard. I had planned to just put in natives but then I fell in love with the colors of some of the hybrids. We do try and stick with plants that don't need a lot of water once they're established.