Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Native Plant of the Month
The Sonoran Desert offers us one the most interesting native plant palettes anywhere. Native plants like the Brittle Bush above (encelia farinosa) especially, but also locally grown desert adapted plants make perfect sense for our landscape projects. Locally grown and native plants will always use less water, require fewer soil amendments, need very little or no fertilizer or insecticide, and generally require less maintenance then plants trucked in from somewhere else. A no-brainer right?
Still, a huge number of plants are trucked in from Southern California growers to sell in home improvement stores and large discount stores. This didn't seem odd to me when I first started in this business, partly because I didn't understand the difference. It definitely seems odd now.
Do-it-yourselfers and some landscapers alike buy these plants I think because they don’t understand the difference either. They are available at the nursery, they look good, and the price seems right, why not? The more you learn about plant care, landscape irrigation, Sustainable Principles, Permaculture and of course our wondrous Sonoran Desert environment the more often the “Why not” question gets answered. But, I’m getting off track.
Instead of ranting, I would rather feature our Native plants and some selected desert adapted plants in a series of Plant-of-the-Month articles. I'm not qualified to bore you with Botany, but maybe some interesting articles and discussion on plant placement, some creative ideas on usage, and care would be helpful and fun. I would also love to see and hear about how some of you have used Native Plants in your landscapes, so post away!