I love the autumn weather in California. The hot dry summer has come to an end and the promise of rain means it is time to plant native vegetation.
This past weekend we traveled north to the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden to take advantage of their Fall Plant Sale (going on through Nov. 3). It is a wonderful place to see the enchantment of native plants and the habitat they create for animals; We saw a variety of birds, butterflies, lizards, a gray squirrel and two deer. We strolled through areas of the garden most like our yard and looked for plants that would thrive in a few of our problem areas: dry, sunny slope and dry partial shade under oaks.
We've discovered that native plants from the Channel Islands, especially San Nicolas Island and Santa Cruz Island, seem to do well on our dry, sunny slope. This beautiful pink yarrow is from San Nicolas Island. We planted yarrows between the Mexican mountain marigold and the San Nicolas buckwheat that we planted two years ago.
This native aster is a low-growing ground cover that we hope will thrive on our front slope.
With the buckwheat, sage, yarrow and milkweed, the front slope is becoming a nectar garden for butterflies.
In the spring, I always have itchy fingers to put plants in the ground, but too often, the summer heat pounds those plants and they do not survive. Autumn is California's season of renewal. Plant now and tender new plants will have nurturing winter rains to help them establish.
A monarch butterfly has been visiting our newly planted milkweed!