On Saturday at Rancho I taught the class, From Lawn to Garden (see presentations). More and more people are interested in removing their lawns in favor of … well something more interesting. It is exciting to hear what people want to do and how they are going about doing it.
The class was more of a how-to, not so much on why. The reason why seems to be getting out there. Still for those who remain unconvinced, I recommend the book by Douglas W. Tallamy, Bringing Nature Home. Although it has an east coast (Pennsylvania) perspective, the argument holds wherever you are. Just started reading this – been meaning to for some time now – and it is excellent! There are awesome pictures and lots of information on how and why.
But back to Rancho. After the talk, and a bit of visiting with former colleagues, I took a walk through the Garden, spending most of my time in the Communities (the wilder part of the garden). And this is what I saw…
These pictures are in no particular order, so here I am back at the front of the garden taking a picture of the oldest living plant in the collection, ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), planted I believe in 1951. It often looks kind of dead – but with a bit of rain it leafs out as it is doing here.
The sugar bush (Rhus ovata) has these wonderfully colorful flower buds at this time of the year. When I staffed the Garden Hotline, many visitors asked what this plant was. When asked to describe it, they noted the deep pink to red “berries.” No matter how much I tried to convince them that these were flower buds, they often remained sure they were berries.
Rainbow manzanita (Arctostaphylos rainbowensis) is a CNPS rare and endangered listed plant, and endemic to – only found in – California. This southern Californian is doing very well outside the Seed House.
A visit to Rancho without a stopping off to see the grandest plant of all would be lacking. I’ve taken so many pictures of this ancient coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) and none does it justice. It has an aura about it than can never be captured.