Low-maintenance California native plants still need… some maintenance to grow

Having a front yard, planter or garden—or whatever amount of space you have —full of California native plants isn’t just trendy these days, it’s a political statement.

From succulents to poppies, you don’t have to be a horticulturist to understand these richly colored, textured flora are good for the environment, using 80% less water than conventional gardens and requiring less fertilizer (less ground contaminants) and less pesticides, among other benefits.

That’s all according to the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants, which, in partnership with Rancho Los Cerritos, is hosting a native plant garden maintenance course in Long Beach on Wednesday, the second in a new series of collaborations with the Rancho.

During the afternoon class, students will be instructed by the foundation’s director of operations, Andrew Chaves, on how and when to prune, groom and water their plants, how to develop good maintenance goals as well as manage pests, among other maintenance topics.

Rancho Los Cerritos Horticulturist Marie Barnidge-McIntyre said visitors can also reference the site’s sages, located in the native plants section of the grounds in front of the Visitor Center, as an example of when when to prune your plants, how plants respond to irrigation, and when and when not to encourage growth.

Not only will you receive a heavy dollop of knowledge from Chaves but, afterward, you’ll receive a tour of the gorgeous Rancho grounds—designed by another late native plant champion in the 30s, Ralph D. Cornell—that boasts a Moreton Bay Fig Tree planted in 1881 and Italian Cypress trees planted in 1844.

Part of the session will be held outside, so please avoid sun damage or dehydration by bringing a hat and a water bottle. And if you’re still not convinced that native plants are the way to go for your summer landscaping plans, here’s a comprehensive case for natives.

Is this the Hi-lo or your grandmother’s gardening blog?

Native Plant Garden Maintenance with Andrew Chaves is Wednesday, Feb. 5 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 4600 Virginia Road. Tickets are $35, unless you’re a member of Rancho Los Cerritos, then they’re $25. You can purchase them on Eventbrite here.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.
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