With help from the Santa Clara Valley Water District Landscape Rebate Program, my friend Lisa is converting her fairly large garden to natives. Of course I was very excited when I heard about it, and Ms. Country Mouse and I went for a visit during the planning phase.
"Oh, how about some Eriogonum here! And maybe two or three Mulenbergia over there?" we exclaimed. And then:" You can have some seedlings from me. And some Iris. And we can propagate some coral bells!"
That was more than a month ago and now, with the plan complete and the first gentle rain of November bringing the plants back to life, I invited my friend to come for a propagation party. For me, one of the miracles of using natives is how easy many of them are to propagate - and none of them are copyrighted either. So your garden can truly become a gift that keeps on giving.
When my friend had arrived, I made sure to dress properly:
And to get my tools - clippers, shovel, and Hori Hori.
Lisa brought some well draining potting soil, and a collection of pots. The we went to work:
- Dug out several Festuca Californica seedlings and put them in large pots because their roots grow long.
- Dug out a few Epipactis giganteum (stream orchid) - an experiment, right now they are dormant.
- Took cuttings of several Ribes sanguinium var. glutinosum, both the species and 'Claremnont". I'm keeping a few Claremont because it's so pretty.
- Took cuttings of Heuchera maxiuman, Heuchera Wendy, and a Heuchera with beautiful pink flowers.
- Divided white and yellow Iris - Ms. Country Mouse has already set aside some purple Iris for Lisa, so I focused on yellow and white.
- Dug out several Epilobium (California fuchsia), Penstemon heterophyllus, and Eriogonum grande rubescens seedlings.
After just a few hours, every plant was in its pot and the garden looked a little less messy. We looked at the results of our labors (about 50 plants) and were very pleased indeed. Here's hoping that by March or April, everything will be well rooted and the former expanse of lawn will become a native plant paradise, teeming with pollinators, butterflies, and birds.