October 2013 home page

support us

Sage Advice
Ed Mirsky | Hoska Drive


Ed Mirsky’s garden. Photos Ann Gardner.  Click to enlarge.

This is the second of three articles by Ed on drought savvy gardens that also attract birds, bees, butterflies, and other helpful critters.

Support your local wildlife and nourish your soul. The coastal sage plant community has evolved over the millennia. It has been adapted to the local soils and climate. In the coastal sage community everything is connected to everything else. Hence, by supporting one component of the community, you support many elements of the community. By planting native plants you attract native pollinators, many of which are extremely narrow in their preference for native plants. The plants in turn support the insects that feed on them and the butterflies and bees that pollinate them. The insects in turn support the birds, lizards, and critters that depend on them for food. And the birds, lizards, critters and spiders in turn protect the plants by controlling plant-feeding insects. Plant a diversity of plants and support a community of organisms. And together they make our lives richer and more productive as they nourish our souls. Here are a few project ideas.

CREATE A WILDFLOWER MEADOW AT THE EDGE OF A POND: Build the pond or dry creek from natural stone. In the sun, select from San Diego Sage (lavender flowers), Coast Sunflower (yellow), Red Monkey Flowers, Santa Cruz Island Buckwheat (pink-chocolate), Wayne Roderick Seaside Daisy (white-pink), and Bladderpod (yellow). In the shade, combine Orange Monkey Flower with native fuchsia (red). In addition, birdbaths and sand baths (a bare patch of sand) attract birds.

ENJOY A SUNNY PATH: Select foundation plants such as Del Mar Manzanita (light pink), Pacific Mist Manzanita (white), along with fast growing Ceanothus ‘Joyce Coulter’ (blue), Island Bush Poppy (yellow), and Cleveland Sage (blue).
DEVELOP A SHADY PATH: Your side yard may be a good place for a shady path. Select from Red Buckwheat, Orange Monkey Flower, Island Snapdragon (red), Mountain Penstemon (scarlet), Evergreen Currant (red), Buckwheat (red), Fuchsia species (red), Coyote Mint (purple), and/or Hummingbird Sage (magenta). If you have room, use Spice Bush (red).

GROW A PRIVACY HEDGE: Good choices for a privacy hedge include blue Julia Phelps California Lilac (blue), Bush Mallow (pink), Toyon (white), and/or Ian Bush Manzanita (pink). In shade, use Bush Anemone (yellow), and/or Chaparral Currant (pink). Both may require supplemental water in the summer.

STABILIZE A SLOPE: Use large rocks then plant California Sagebrush, California Buckwheat, Dwarf Coyote Brush, Bush Mallow, Ceanothus Joyce Coulter, and/or Evergreen Currant.

ADD INTEREST IN THE GARDEN: Bulbs (Star Lily), grasses (deer grass), and succulents (coast Dudleya) add interest in the garden. Also, ask your nursery person about native ferns.



© 2007-2013 Del Mar Community Alliance, Inc.  All rights reserved.