Greening Your Garden — Literally!

You want to do the right thing for the environment by planting water-wise native plants in the garden, but you also want the garden to look appealing during the long, dry California summer. No matter the season, we humans like our gardens to look green. The color green evokes lushness, fecundity, life. Is it possible to have a California garden that stays green through the summer sustainably, without relying on an endless supply of water?

Yes, indeed, it is possible — through a careful selection of plants. Among California’s dizzying array of native plants, there are many that stay green through summer naturally. Here is a short list, covering the range from perennial to groundcover to subshrub, shrub, vine, and tree.

Think about introducing these to your garden and, once established, cutting back on the water. For contrast, combine them with blue-, gray-, silver-, and tan-colored plants to create an inviting display in the garden.

Plants With Summer-Green Foliage

Coastal gumplant

Coastal gumplant likes full sun and blooms in early summer

An early summer blooming perennial is the coastal gumplant (Grindelia stricta platyphylla). It grows 6” tall and 3’ wide, and is a good edging plant for full sun. Yellow daisies in June through August attract butterflies, skippers, and other insects. Contrasts well with large plants such as deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens). Continue reading

Seasonal Color – August – California Fuchsia

No discussion of year-round color in the native garden is ever complete without talking about California Fuchsia, Epilobium canum and other Epilobiums.  Just when the some of the garden is gearing down for summer dormancy, hot weather and no water, the bright red/orange blooms of California Fuchsia peek out and take center stage.   Continue reading