We went to the Theodore Payne Foundation on Saturday and it was very nice. Theodore Payne was an English horticulturist from London who fell in love with California natives around the mid 1890's and dedicated his life to preserving them. His nursery started out in Downtown Los Angeles and moved around several times before its current location in Sun Valley. The staff was very helpful to answer questions and show me where to find plants. They even offered me a planting guide and asked me where I live and how I plan to use the plants. The nursery was very clean and organized. The plants were separated by plant communities such as riparian (streamside) or desert, and very well labelled which makes life a lot easier. There was a nice little clearance section with a couple of gems left.
A couple of years ago I fell in love with the Japanese dry garden and really wanted to build one in our backyard. However with the Southern California heat, the water bill would be ridiculous. My plan B for the backyard was creating a garden with California natives mixed with my collection of succulents, cacti, and other desert plant material. Our backyard is still in the very beginning stages of development so I bought a few California natives to begin building a foundation to work with.
I bought a 1 gallon parajo (paradise) manzanita, scarlet monkey flowers (mimulus cardinalis), 1 gallon desert willow (Chilopsis linearis), 1 gallon Howard McMinn Manzanita, 1 gallon Coast Live Oak to add to my bonsai growing collection, a small packet of California poppy seeds, and a nice brown rectangular pot. The Mimulus Cardinalis is a herbaceous perennial, which means that it will die down to the ground during dormancy but parts of it will survive underground and it will grow back when growing season returns.
I wanted to get the Big berry Glauca Manzanita (Arctostaphylos glauca) because they look spectacular in the ground, but they were out of stock. You can make jam with the berries. I will have to come back for that guy.
This nursery has some serious native gardening courses. They have a book store, potting station, and also sell pots, gravel, and soil. It is a very well rounded nursery with a hiking trail and example gardens of the plants grown in the ground.
I was inspecting some native drought tolerant grasses that you don't have to mow, and a ferocactus that was not for sale, but first things first; establish a foundation to create some shade and a general plan for how the garden will be used. The drought tolerant grass goes dormant in the summer and comes back when the temperatures cool down.
A few good reasons why we should build native gardens are to save water because they establish after one or two years and are fully drought tolerant. The plants support local bees, butterflies, and birds. They are easier to care for because you don't have to fertilize, amend soil, or use fungicide or any other chemicals. Lastly, they are quite beautiful plants and we have a huge variety to suit our tastes.
If you live in the near area, I highly recommend you visit this nursery. They also have an uphill hiking trail behind the nursery which gives hikers a lovely view of native flowers. We didn't get to walk the trail, but we will visit again and take more photos in the future!
For more info please visit their webpage link below:
Theodore Payne Foundation