Sunday, March 07, 2010

California Natives in Spring

The ceanothus is blooming in bursts of blue-purple flower sprays. This lovely California native is green year round but is shows off in the early spring. Throughout the Santa Monica Mountains large specimens are edged in purple to white blooms, giving them the common name California lilac.

There are a variety of cultivars and this Yankee Point ceanothus hugs the ground, making it perfect along the walkway up to the house.

Meanwhile, the spring rains and the increasing sunlight have awoken the slumbering redbud. While I love our flowering ornamental plum, the tree is older and suffers from termite damage. It is at the later part of its life. Beneath it we have planted a young redbud, a native species that will one day replace the plum. The redbud also blooms and the seedpods it produces are a food source for a variety of birds. Succession is a normal cycle in a habitat and we have chosen to let the plum nurture a native tree to eventually replace it in our wildlife habitat.

Planting native plants doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition. Gradually adding natives allows you to learn where different species will be successful.

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