Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
April, 2013
Regional Report

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Beautiful flowers attract beneficial insects to pollinate our edibles

Greening Our Landscapes

Instead of garden foliage, "greening" more and more refers to our attention and concern in all our living habits to caring for the future of our homes, neighborhoods, cities, states, countries, and the planet in total. We're increasingly recognizing that our individual actions and choices ultimately affect our broader living environment. Our preferences as gardeners either help our planet to thrive or push it further down the road toward ultimate unbalance. Sustainability is our byword and motivator.

Some tenets include:

  • Recognizing what our local climates provide -- seasonal rain, sun, heat or cold, fog
  • Choosing plant types and varieties that thrive under local climate conditions
  • Conservation and wise use of finite quantities of water
  • Attracting and providing food and shelter year-round for wildlife and pollinators and beneficial insects
  • Reducing invasive plants and encouraging alternative choices within our private properties, in public spaces, and in the wild

Here are examples of how I put sustainability into practice in my own garden.

  • I've considered the local climatic realities as the basis for my gardens. Here in Pasadena this includes 12 inches of rain between Thanksgiving and April; brilliant sun from March through November; coolness from November through March; warmth from March through May and October through November; and periodically intense heat from May through October.

  • I'm lucky to have multiple sun/shade growing areas, so I can play with many kinds of plants in different sitings. Even so, I've given up on some plants as unsupportable in my garden.

  • Great quantities of mulch cover all my garden spaces to a depth of 4 inches, except where groundcovers create their own living mulch. Soaker hoses are strung under the mulch.

  • I've chosen herb and ornamental plants that are aesthetically pleasing but also attract "the good guys" (beneficial insects) to my gardens and are alternatives to invasives that crowd out native plants.

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