Las Pilitas Nursery

California Native Plants are all we grow!

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Santa Margarita, CA 93453

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This website is dedicated to Bert Wilson. His genius continues to inspire us.

Native Landscaping ideas.

Here are some landscaping ideas showing examples of native plants in their element. We find this useful to match up to a hillside or garden slope. If you're landscaping a slope in Barstow, here's an example, if you're planting a hillside in Los Angeles here's an example of that. I'll try to add more examples and ideas as we find them.
When I used to design gardens I'd think of plants in the nursery and images in my mind like some of these places I've seen and compare to the possible vision of the garden I was designing.
Native landscapes should be weed free. There should be very limited irrigation for the upland plants, and no drip irrigation (except for marsh plants). Appropriate mulch is required and the soil should not be amended.

Here are Brown Pelicans, Pelecacarus occidentalis camping on a coastal bluff with a few Giant Rye showing in photo. (The little sticks).
California is very diverse. But a coastal bluff can be as dry as the desert because of the salt spray and bird poop.
Encelia farinosa, Brittlebush, Goldenhills, Incienso on a Newberry Springs hillside - grid24_12
Here's the Barstow image of a hillside with Encelia farinosa.
This Yarrow grows on coastal bluffs and sand dunes. Bluffy the dune slayer? - grid24_6
There's no irrigation on any of these coastal bluffs and they look good. If you irrigate coastal bluff in greatly increases your chances of a slide.
A planted coastal bluff. This was a native restoration  that had been a cow pasture. - grid24_12
Here's a landscaped coastal bluff near Cambria.
Galvezia speciosa, Island Snapdragon on a landscaped slope in Morro Bay. - grid24_12
A landscaped coastal bluff in Morro Bay..
A hillside of coastal sage scrub. Vast areas of Los Angeles basin probably looked like this. - grid24_12
There was a reason why the Spanish Cowboys wore leather up to their chins.
Coastal Sage scrub with Cliff buckwheat, Eriophyllum confertiflorum, Blackberry, Bracken Fern, Coyote Bush, Poison Oak, Coastal Live oak, etc.   - grid24_12
Coastal Sage Scrub used to extend from about San Diego to Monterey in various flavors. All the landscape was weed free and full of flowering plants most of the year.
Cliff Buckwheat in coastal sage scrub south of Los Osos. Often you can find a trail a few miles from your home full of native plants. - grid24_12
When the native landscape is replaced with weeds the yearly precipitation rate commonly drops to half of what it was before, erosion increases and stream flow decreases.
Quercus wislizenii frutescens, Dwarf scrub up about Los Angeles, courtesy of Roger and L. - grid24_12
The brown hillsides around Los Angeles are the non-native weeds. The green spots are the remaining native plants. The native plants burn slowly, the non-native plants flash. A thinned landscape of weed free native plants is generally safer than a mowed slope of non-native plants. (Because of spot fires.)
The Brown hills are why a native landscaping attracts so many hummingbirds and butterflies, they have no where else to go.
This is an area north of Big Bear where the Joshua tree woodland and Pinyon Juniper Woodland meet. Pinus monophylla,    Juniperus californica and Yucca breviflora. - grid24_12
And then theres the desert to the east. This is what the desert Joshua Tree/Juniper Woodland interface can look like.
Sphaeralcea ambigua out in Joshua Tree Woodland. - grid24_6
Notice there are no weeds in a native Joshua Tree woodland.
Salvia dorrii, purple desert sage with a sea of butterflies. To bad the Joshua Trees will not support a hammock.  - grid24_12
The desert has pockets of full vegetation.
A is a view of a native Creosote woodland that is fairly weed free. Notice the spacing of the plants in the landscape. The desert didn't burn until we covered it with weeds. When the weeds are allowed into a desert landscape and it burns, no more desert plants. - grid24_12
When the rainfall is very low like it is in parts of the desert the plants space themselves in the landscape.
Eriogonum wrightii subscaposum, Wright's Buckwheat southeast of Big Bear at about 8000 ft. - grid24_12
Even at 8000 ft. the plants naturally space themselves in the landscape. In desert areas there is commonly bare ground between plants. In forest areas there is natural mulch. In chaparral areas it's mixed.
 	Atriplex polycarpa out in the old Owens Lake bed. - grid24_12
A salt flat in Owens Valley. Much of the Western San Joaquin Vally looked like this.
Simi Valley is where they filmed many of the westerns in the 1930's. Now it's full of houses and weeds. - grid24_12
The valleys north of Los Angeles were full of ranches that the westerns were filmed at in the 1930's.
Ceanothus spinosus,  Red-Heart Mountain Lilac  near Santa Barbara. - grid24_12
San Marcos Pass has Ceanothus, Styrax, Oaks and even Pines.
Arctostaphylos crustacea subsp. eastwoodiana, Harris Grade manzanita, in its natural habitat of chaparral, in the California coastal zone.  Vaccinium ovatum is also present here along with Pinus muricata. Here it is making a square mile of mounding ground cover about 2 ft. high. It would be lovely if someone would give us money to do this. - grid24_12
Between Lompoc and Santa Maria there are Douglas Fir Trees, Huckleberries and Bishop pines.
Lupinus polyphyllus up on Mt. Pinos - grid24_12
Some of the Mt. Pinos area looks kind of like the Lompoc area above. Here it is low Buckwheats instead of low Manzanitas that make the ground cover.
A rather dry mountain meadow in the Southern Sierras - grid24_6
The Southern Sierras at about 7800 ft. The ground cover is largely a form of Ceanothus and Manzanita.
Leymus triticoides - creeping wild rye, Valley Wild rye, alkali rye down at the end of our road in Santa Margarita - grid24_12
A Central oak woodland 'meadow' Alkaline Rye and Valley Oaks used to cover much of the inland valleys of California.
A Sierra meadow at 7500 feet. - grid24_12
A Sierra Meadow up in Sequoia Park.
Penstemon oreocharis Meadow Penstemon - grid24_6
An Eastern Sierra Meadow.
The Sierra Monkey flowers loving the boulders in the southern Sierras. The folks that have these rocks on their property hate them, those of you without them would love them. - grid24_12
In many places in California the native plants are only surviving in the rocky outcrops. Monkey flowers like to be in rocks.
Penstemon rostriflorus, Bridge's Penstemon amongst the rocks with Pinus monophylla. The Penstemon is maybe 3ft tall.  - grid24_12
Penstemons like to be in rocks.
Ephedra viridis, Green Ephedra, is shown here growing amongst the rocks, and the pattern of rocks and plants, almost appears as  a designed landscape.  - grid24_12
In many areas of California, rocks are easier to grow than the plants.
Pinus monophylla in the rocks at Joshua tree - grid24_6
If you have rocks, planting can be interesting. Pinus monophylla in the rocks at Joshua tree
Nolina parryi in the rocks at Joshua Tree - grid24_6
Nolina parryi in the rocks at Joshua Tree
Here is a picture of the few remaining native plants above Los Angeles. The rocks are protecting the natives from the weeds and the fires that come with weeds. This area should burn every 200 years or so, not every year. Weeds can burn at any time. - grid24_12
The rocks above Los Angeles provide cover for the few remaining native plants around Los Angeles.
California Bay in the rocks above Los Angeles. - grid24_12
There is a reason why we love to use rocks in our native landscaping.
Here is what the native landscaping in Los Angeles used to look like. If you look at the old westerns in the 1930's most of the hills of Los Angeles looked like this. <BR>Walnut, Hollyleaf Cherry, Chamise, Brickella, Coast Live Oak, Mulefat, and Laurel Sumac. - grid24_12
Here is what the native landscaping in Los Angeles used to look like. If you look at the old Allen 'Rocky' Lane westerns in the 1930's most of the hills of Los Angeles looked like this.
Coreopsis gigantea plants growing on a slope in west Santa Barbara County. - grid24_12
In Santa Barbara County things get different.
Looking south from  the old Las pilitas Bridge - grid24_6
Here is the Salinas River.
Cephalanthus occidentalis, California Buttonwillow, in the foreground, growing along the Kern River, in the narrow Kern Canyon, of Kern county, California.  - grid24_12
Here is the Kern River. There's those rocks again...
The riparian area of the Kings River extends a few meters up the bank. If you dig a 1-3 meter deep hole and find no moister, it's probably not riparian. - grid24_12
Here's the Kings River.
Spiraera along a Sierra Creek. - grid24_6
At about 8000 ft. the rainfall in the Sierras is about the same as a conventional garden.
A creek running through a meadow in the Southern Sierras. - grid24_12
You can duplicate this look in a lowland garden with regular water. About the same as a lawn.
Western Tiger Swallowtails on  Lilium kelleyanum, Kelly's Lilly.and  Sphenosciadium capitellatum, Rangers Buttons. - grid24_12
Many of the native lillies follow water courses.
A path through a closed pine forest. - grid24_12
A path in a closed cone pine forest.
This is an old picutre of our garden path. The oak at the end of this picture has grown about another foot across the trunk and it is now shady. - grid24_12
A path we made under our oak trees.
Rhamnus californica, Coffeeberry lining a fairy path to Oz. - grid24_6
One of the paths along a coastal creek.
A path through a coastal forest of Redwood trees. Native ferns flank the path. - grid24_12
A path in a redwood forest.
We go down the least traveled path for our photos. - grid24_12
You could try to duplicate this path at home.
A trail through coastal sage scrub. Plants include Lupinus chamisonis, Coyote Bush, Cliff Buckwheat, Deerweed, Sticky Monkey flower, and Giant Rye. - grid24_12
A path through the coastal scrub.

California has very diverse native landscaping ideas out there for you to explore. This was on the east side of the Sierras just above the desert.