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The Coastal Gardner: Hear my story of going California friendly

January 28, 2011|By Ron Vanderhoff
  • Next Saturday morning at The Newport Coast Community Center, Ron Vanderhoff will present a program titled "Creating a California Friendly Garden," the story of his own garden's transformation to lower water use, take less maintenance and be more environmentally correct.
Next Saturday morning at The Newport Coast Community… (Daily Pilot )

I'm convinced gardeners love the outdoors, nature and the Earth more than most people. That's why they garden, to be closer to nature.

So when it's time to make decisions about the plants to place into their gardens, these folks are increasingly weighing things like water needs and climate suitability. Gardeners are asking good questions and they're reading the fine print on fertilizer labels, soil amendments and pest controls. Indeed, gardeners are in touch with nature and they want their gardens to contribute to the health of the planet, purifying our air and water, supporting pollinators, birds and wildlife, and cooling the environment.

When it comes to being a good citizen of this planet, gardeners really do want to do the right thing. But often, gardening can become complicated and confusing. So many plants, so many technical details. Gardeners sometimes just don't know what the right thing is.

On Feb. 5, join me at the Newport Coast Community Center for a one-hour presentation, "Creating a California Friendly Garden." During the program, I will use my own home garden as a way to illustrate a variety of California Friendly techniques and design ideas. This illustrated presentation will review the steps that I took in my small suburban garden, from removing the lawn, changing the irrigation and preparing the soil, to the design, the plant communities created and my planting techniques.

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If you're not sure what a California-friendly garden is, it is a garden that fits Southern California. It is a garden that does not rely on excessive artificial support, like copious amounts of water, nutrition or even a gardener's time and energy. In turn, a California-friendly garden is one that works with the environment around it; it is not polluting, contributing excessive waste or spreading invasive plants.

The story of the transformation of my typical suburban garden into a California-friendly version is one that I hope will inspire you in your own garden and perhaps give you some ideas toward what the right thing might be.

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