If you go for a hike in one of the state parks or nature preserves in northern California now, chances are, you will see blossoming wild flowers. They can be as tall as a tree (Matilija Poppy), or as small as a daisy. Standing with flowers of all the different colors and shapes, they make spring come to life. Wild flowers under blue sky – one of the most beautiful scenes you can see in nature. Benefits of Gardening with Native Plants Native plants are not only beautiful, they are great for gardening. Adapted to California’s dry and windy environment, they are hardy, strong and can thrive without any care. There are a lot of benefits of gardening with native plants:
- Water efficient: these plants do not need that much water; compared to a lawn, a garden with mostly native plants can save a significant amount of water;
- Low maintenance: they can thrive on their own; no or little care is needed.
- Attracting butterflies, birds and bees: they sure like the food from the plants that they know well, and you can view them often in addition to the beautiful blossoms.
The native plants below are excellent choices for a garden. They are all water efficient plants and all qualify for Santa Clara Water District’s Rebate Program. Matilija Poppy What does the flower look like to you? That is right, a fried egg! Also named Fried Egg Flower, Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) is native to dry, sunny environments in Southern California and Baja California. The flower is one of the biggest of any species native to California. Matilija Poppy is very drought tolerant. It can grow to be 7 feet tall and 28 feet wide. The flowers usually begin from early spring and can last until late summer. California Poppy When spring comes, the bright color of California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) lights up hills and open spaces throughout California and other western states. Easy to grow, drought tolerant, and that golden color – this plant is ideal for a water efficient garden. California Lilac This shrub with dense blue flowers ((Ceanothus spp.) can be seen everywhere in California. It is very tough and drought tolerant. It can grow to be 4-6 feet tall. Monkey Flower Monkey Flower (Mimulus spp.) is a perennial plant native to the west coast areas from Southern Oregon all the way to Baja. It can grow to be 5 feet tall. In flowering season, the whole plant can be covered with golden blossom, which makes it really stand out. It is quite drought tolerant. Beach Aster As its name indicates, this perennial plant ((Erigeron glaucus) is native to the beach areas on the west coast. Very hardy and drought tolerant, it doesn’t need any care once established, yet flowers for a long time (spring to late summer). It can grow to be 1 feet tall and 2 feet wide. This is a great choice for gardens on the west coast. Douglas Iris The plant with the beautiful flower is native to areas along west coast. Very easy to care, quite drought tolerant. It can grow to be 2-3 feet tall. Another great choice for a water efficient garden. Yarrow This perennial plant (Achillea millefolium) is very easy to grow and drought tolerant. There are different varieties, with white or yellow blossoms. They can grow to be 1-3 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide, depending on the variety. They are aromatic and attract butterflies.