This adaptable mounding perennial is a selection from Cedros Island. It produces mounds of delicate green foliage and has dark purple blossoms with lavender streaks and the blossoms are lightly scented. Though there are more flowers in the spring, this plant has blossoms throughout most of the year which attracts butterflies throughout the year. This small shrub grows to about about 2' high and spreads to about 4'. It does best in well drained soils but will tolerate clay soil provided it isn't over-watered. This is a very attractive and versatile plant for any flower border, butterfly garden or plant it in containers on a patio. To maintain a dense form shear lightly in summer, and remove spent flowers. The butterflies will flock to your garden! De la Mina Verbena was selected by Carol Bornstein and introduced by the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden.
We love to witness Cities and counties learning to apprecitate the natural beauty within their jurisdiction. This month we are highlighting Jack's Pond located in the city of San Marcos just north of the Coronado Hills in northern San Diego County, California. We hope our readers will tell us about other cities 'doing the right thing'. Jack's Pond contains floral elements from the freshwater marsh and riparian woodland plant communities. The surrounding hillsides are dominated by patches of disturbed grassland and dense coastal sage scrub vegetation, mixed with elements of the chaparral plant community. Unfortunately, the pond and vicinity also contain numerous naturalized (weedy) species and escapes from cultivation. This interesting floristic area includes about 23 acres of undeveloped land and hiking trails, and has been preserved as a natural park within the City of San Marcos. Thank you San Marcos!
How to make a Holiday Wreath using Native Plant Materials.
You can create beautiful holiday decorations using the native plant materials around you. It’s easy and does not take much more time than driving to the store, parking and fighting the crowds. You’ll be satisfied with your creation!
• Gather your materials; A wire form available at craft stores, floral foam available at craft stores or florist supplies, floral wire, greenery such as native pine twigs, Toyon twigs with leaves and berries, coyote brush in flower, extra accessories of your choice such as fruit, acorns and pine cones for a natural look or bells and ribbons. Finally, a bow to finish off your wreath.
• Start by soaking the floral foam in water for about 20 mins.
• Open up the wire frame and insert the floral foam all around the frame.
• Cut your greenery into fairly uniform pieces about 8” long
• Insert greenery into floral foam going around the frame in the same direction and overlapping to hide the frame and the brown stems. Use the greenery as a foundation interspersing the green leaves and the white Coyote Brush plumes. Save the most berried twigs for accents.
• Any unruly or untidy twigs should be trimmed or wired down by wrapping the wire around the twig and the frame.
• Add your accessories either by inserting directly into the floral foam (such as the Toyon berries) or by attaching wire and then wrapping securely around the frame. If you decide to use fruit as an accessory (such as apples, lemons, persimmons or pomegranates) you will want to poke the floral wire right through the fruit and then wrap the fruit around the wire frame.
• When you are happy with look and balance of your wreath use a bow to add the final touch.
• Hang your wreath using a wreath hanger available from any store that sells holiday decorations.
Please cut your greenery sensitively from your own property or a place you have permission to collect from! Happy holidays!
We wish you a simple Christmas! More and more people seem to be yearning for, and appreciating, a much simpler, less commercial celebration. Our family has been trying to simplify Christmas for a few years now (not easy with four children raised in the age of technological gadgets and consumerist excess!) We want to share some of the ways our connection to native plants has helped us shape our holiday celebrations;
• Forget the frustrating battle for a parking space at the big box store where you wait in line to purchase those glitzy holiday decorations. Instead, take a walk in your yard or in the wide outdoors and gather decorations from nature.(Please remember to collect responsibly and with permission!) Holiday wreaths and garlands made from oak leaves, acorns, toyon berries and coyote bush plumes are fun to make and make a statement to all your holiday visitors. No need to find storage space for these decorations until next year, you can compost them!
• Long line of agitated families arguing over the selection of 'just the right' tree at the Christmas tree lot? Move on to your local independent garden center and select a beautiful living tree. Widen your horizons and consider a native tree such as Tecate or Cuyamaca Cypress, or Incense Cedar. ( 15gallon specimens available at our retail partners )Then use the time you would have spent at the tree lot walking your yard with your loved ones planning where you will plant your tree after the holidays.
• Feel the need for lights? Save some electricity and instead make a new family tradition. Light a fire outside, bring out the fair trade hot chocolate and admire the stars. If your area suffers from light pollution you might consider visiting one of our county's beautiful parks.
• Can't bear to purchase yet another unwanted knick knack for Aunt Jane? Consider a gift that will grow and grow. We suggest a few native plants that will thrive without masses of water or care and attract wildlife and butterflies into the bargain, or a gift certificate to a garden center where the receiver can select their own choice of native plants. Start a youngster off with a small patch of garden of their very own and make a date to go and select plants for their very own native garden.
• Time for tea! Wild Chaparral tea that is. Woolly Blue Curls Trichostema lanatum has long been a favorite garden plant of ours. It's also a favorite of butterflies and hummingbirds, but did you know that it was highly prized by Native Americans and then the Spanish as a medicinal plant? For centuries the leaves, flowers and stems were used to make medicinal teas and decoctions for a wide variety of ailments. As a tea it was valued as a stomach settler. Beyond that the tea has delightful, subtle, sweet-sour-piney flavor that we have fallen in love with. We love it so much we want to share it and have created Wild Chaparral - Distinctive Teas of California for that purpose.
We think you will come up with many inspiring ideas of your own. Please share them with us on our FaceBook page so we can all continue to simply enjoy the holidays.