Gardening with Natives
The beauty and fragrance of the California flora alone is a good reason to bring natives into your home garden. With the incredible diversity of native plants, there are choices for every garden niche. Lower water and fertilizer needs make native plants excellent choices for gardeners worried about sustainability issues. Native plants also support wildlife by providing the nectar, pollen, and seeds that butterflies, insects, birds and other animals depend upon.
Why grow California native plants?
Californians are fortunate to live in a hotspot of botanical diversity. Of the more than 5,000 plants found naturally in the State, more than a third are endemic, meaning they are found here and nowhere else in the world. This unique California flora is our heritage -- an irreplaceable gift passed to us, and one that we will leave to our children. Home gardens allow both young and old to explore, conserve, and steward these plants, so different from those in the rest of North America. Natives are naturally part of a landscape requiring relatively little in added resources.
Fragmentation of habitats on a local scale has been damaging to wildlife dependent on these associations of plants. Bringing these plants, sought after by animals, birds, and insects, into our home gardens is a way of providing some connection between habitats separated by urban development. It can provide both food and homes for these creatures, and gives them a reason to visit where we can most easily see them.
The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden fosters the conservation of California's native plants through our gardens, research and education, and serves as a role model of sustainable practices.