San Diego Garden Tour with Calscape Creator Dennis Mudd

The hills and canyons around San Diego are tough,  dry terrain, but hundreds of amazing native plant species thrive nonetheless. Although rugged, these hills are home to delicate flowers like Weed’s mariposa lilymission manzanita, and great horned owls. Dennis Mudd, founder of MusicMatch and Slacker Radio, wanted to recreate this same natural beauty on his six-acre property — a desire that ultimately ignited his passion to help Californians restore nature one garden at a time.

A California native plant oasis

Located in Poway, Mudd’s garden is an inspiring example of a California native garden at its best. With more than 120 types of plants, simulated creeks, rain water catchbasins, the Mudd property is not only a beautiful oasis for humans, it’s also home to many types of pollinators and more than 40 species of birds, including a resident family of Great Horned Owls.

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But it wasn’t easy at first. Like many drought-conscious Californians, Mudd launched his landscape project 12 years ago using commonly sold low-water imports like rock rose, butterfly bush, and kangaroo pods. Yet those didn’t get him any closer to the native landscapes he saw while mountain biking on the trails near his home. He then invested in a wide range of California natives, but within five years, many were dead.

Think Locally

Although Mudd was on the right track , most of the California natives he initially used weren’t native to his location. And that was Mudd’s light bulb moment.

In a state as biologically and geologically diverse as California, locality matters. What grows in the loamy soil of the Sacramento River Delta is bound to be vastly different than the arid hillsides of Southern California. And yet, many gardening enthusiasts make the same mistake — planting California natives that may be totally inappropriate to a specific region.

It was this understanding that inspired Mudd to create Calscape, a powerful garden-planning tool for laypeople and professionals alike that lets users discover which plants are truly native to where they live.  Using Calscape, people can search multiple criteria to build plant lists for their gardens, see which nurseries carry those plants and get tips for growing and cultivation. The site features a database of nearly 7,000 California native plant species with maps based on more than 2 million GPS field observations from the Consortium of California Herbaria.

Making it Easy to Grow Native

With a fresh round of recent updates, Calscape is more powerful and easy-to-use than ever:

  • Advanced Search — This new feature allows you to search by multiple criteria at once, layering in queries for location, plant type, water needs, size, fragrance, flower color and more! You can even select specific nurseries to quickly see where your plants are available.
  • “Quick Shop” — Now, you can add plants to your list without opening a new page. Build a plant list in less than two minutes!
  • Mobile Friendly — Calscape is now as easy to use by phone and tablet as on your desktop. Use it to look up plants at the nursery or reference your plant list while you shop.
  • Climate Modeling on Range Maps — Bringing more data to the tool, plant ranges are based on the actual observations for each plant, as well as the annual rainfall range, summer rainfall, coldest month temperature and hottest month temperature ranges for each plant in each Jepson bioregion.
  • Sign and Label Printing — Print with QR codes for any Calscape plant list with easy spreadsheet export functionality. Let’s you easily makes sign for each plant in the plant list, as well as comprehensive plant list.

 

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Share Your Story!
Have you used Calscape for your garden? We’d love to hear your story! Contact us at cnps@cnps.org.

It’s CNPS Fall Plant Sale Season!

liliesFall is the right time to prepare your garden for spring!

When is your local chapter hosting a plant sale, presentation, or native gardening workshop? The CNPS Horticulture Events Calendar is searchable by CNPS chapter and type of event, including “Plant Sale” to help you plan for regional CNPS Chapter plant sales. The calendar is frequently updated, so be sure to check back for events in your area, or follow the CNPS Facebook page where we are posting many of these events as well. There’s never been a better time than now to transform your yard into a water-thrifty, habitat-extending, native garden!

Free CNPS “Ditch Your Lawn” workshops to be offered in Modesto, Chico, Redding, and Sacramento this summer and fall

ditchyourlawnSponsored by the California Department of Water Resources, CNPS is pleased to announce free residential landscape conversion workshops for homeowners. No experience required! Anyone with an interest in replacing water-thirsty lawns with beautiful native plant landscaping are encouraged to attend. Workshops will be held in Modesto, Chico, Redding, and Sacramento this July and fall, with the first classes in Modesto and Sacramento coming up July 18 and 19th, respectively. For more information, to view the dates, or to register, click here. Classes are limited to 50 attendees, so be sure to sign up in advance.

Southern California homeowners, we haven’t forgotten about you either! A two day “Ditch Your Lawn” workshop will be held October 29-30 in partnership with Southern California Garden Clubs in Encino. There is a fee for this class, but CNPS and SCGC members receive discounted registrations. Click here to learn more about the Encino “Ditch Your Lawn” workshop, or to register today!

 

Videos from CNPS 2015 Conservation Conference are now on YouTube!

Thanks to our very dedicated volunteer, Steve Rosenthal, of the CNPS Santa Clara Valley Chapter, videos from our conservation conference last January are now online. You can view them on the Santa Clara Valley Chapter’s You Tube page. There are 71 videos in all, ranging in topics as varied as the conference sessions themselves – from conservation efforts in California and Baja, efforts to “clean up” the native nursery trade, lichens, rare plants, public policy, restoration, climate change, environmental justice, and more.

Do you know of Jens Jensen’s work?

Jens Jensen

image courtesy jensejensenthelivinggreen.com

 

Deirdre Kennelly, our CommunicationsDirector, passed along this interesting item:
The film Jens Jensen The Living Green, will be screened in  Los Angeles on April 27th, with Earth Day.
Jens Jensen pioneered the use of native flowers and plants in his designs for midwestern parks and became known as the Dean of Landscape Architects. Today his story resonates on a high level as cities struggle to deal with expanding populations and decreased green space, water and many issues here in California.

If you are in Long Beach next week…

lax-logo-top-2015I’ll be speaking at the LA Expo – which is an industry conference for the landscape industry, with thousands of commercial design elements, lighting, structures, hardscapes and specialized products. Why are we there? To spread the message amongst the industry that is most affected by plant material choices!

We look to garden with natives, and in order to do that, we are supported by a ton of commercial interests: plant growers and sellers, gardens, designers, people with ancillary products, even companies that sell soils and synthetic chemicals.

And they all need to hear our message. So, I love to go out on the road and evangelize for our viewpoint. These sessions are fun and eye-openers. It is great to see how the industry is slowly but surely embracing better gardening practices.

And we are at the center of that!

The LA Expo is this March 12th & 13th at the Long Beach Convention Center. IF you want to check it out, I’ll be speaking at 9 AM on the 12th. Stop by and say hello.

California Licensed Contractors Association Show was a success

CLCA LISJust a quick note to follow up – we recently gave a seminar at the California Licensed Contractors Association Landscape Industry Show in Ontario and the response was very encouraging. This fee-based seminar was a hit. Over 215 people pre-registered and, with on-the-spot additions, we had over 50 people in attendance.

The key point here is that these were licensed contractors – the people responsible for maintaining all those lovely gardens we have. And they were interested. And they asked great questions. And they want to know more.

This is a really good trend.