As I sit down to write I ask myself, how long has it been since I posted anything here and like when a tree falls in the forest, if there is nobody there did anyone notice? Well, noticed or not I am back, in the mood, and making some time to share.
In the California native plant garden summer is a quiet time. A time for all to take a restful vacation. The winter and spring thrill of seeing new plants coming into flower and watching for buzzy foraging insects is a past time mostly passed. However, during these long hot summer days, this is also the time of year when birds, reptiles, spiders, and sometimes larger critters are most active. With new spring broods to feed these fellow urbanites are abundant, hungry and thirsty, and for the observant they make for pleasurable garden moments as we tend to our summer garden maintenance.
One popular summer past time of course is reading. Now we all have varied tastes in literature but most native plant folks have a passion for their local natural world. One of the most revered writers of this genre is our beloved naturalist and wildland evangelist, John Muir. If you are not yet a convert to native plant gardening, but feel you might like to be, here is a quote of his on gardening which I came across this summer. It might serve as a test of sorts.
Question: How do I react to the following statement?
" I never before saw Nature's grandeur in so abrupt contrast with paltry artificial gardens. The fashionable hotel grounds are in exact parlor taste, with many a beautiful plant cultivated to deformity, and arranged in strict geometrical beds, the whole pretty affair a laborious failure side by side with divine beauty."
John Muir, 1867; Kentucky Forests and Caves, TMW, 11-12
If you find this statement perplexing or 'wacky' as many folks thought John Muir was (I call it enthusiasm) you may require order, neatness, conformity, and predictability in your garden and maybe a different garden style might be your path. However, if these words resonate, it may be you are indeed ready to start building a garden of divine beauty for your own.
A New Book
Towards building this divine beauty I am really excited to share with the seven or so readers of this blog the publication of a brand new book on gardening with native plants. Now while I have yet to read it, actually I am hoping for a free copy, I have known the author for many years and I cannot imagine a more qualified or passionate person to write on this topic. Every gardener has their own tricks and secrets and in this book I am certain we will find personal anecdotes, trials, and errors, which will help us all be better and happier gardeners. Native plant gardening is not simple and not for the lazy nor the disinterested. To reap the rewards of a native plant garden requires of us (or one's designated garden steward) something in return: a sincere effort to understand native plants; a basic knowledge of the ecology and practice of bringing native plants into cultivation; and a commitment to caring for them over the years. While native plant gardens can be care free and partially self sustaining they do not take well to being ignored and misunderstood. Sort of like us humans I guess. If you are interested in building a relationship with your garden Barbara Eisenstein's new book will assist, educate, hold your hand, and inspire you along your way. Here is a descriptive quote from Amazon.com.
"Wild Suburbia guides us through the process of transforming a traditional, high water-use yard into a peaceful habitat garden abounding with native plants. Author Barbara Eisenstein emphasizes that gardening is a rewarding activity rather than a finished product, from removing lawns and getting in touch with a yard's climate to choosing plants and helping them thrive. Supplementing her advice with personal stories from her decades of experience working with native plants, Eisenstein illuminates the joys of tending a native garden-and assures us that any challenges, from managing pests to disapproving neighbors, should never sap the enjoyment out of a pleasurable and fulfilling hobby. For plant lovers curious about their own ecosystems, Wild Suburbia offers a style of gardening that nurtures biodiversity, deepens connection to place, and encourages new and seasoned gardeners alike to experiment and have fun.
You can order or get more information on the book by clicking on the photo. However I also want to encourage one to consider ordering it from your local book sellers who are having such a hard time making it in this online world we live in.
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Michael Wall - Hemet, CA