Native plants maintain and restore California's natural heritage. Reincorporating native plants into the landscape helps bring the state closer to its own evolutionary and ecological history.
By Malloy Smith
Photos: Susan Gottlieb
They are beautiful and functional.
Everyone loves a beautiful garden. With native plants, a garden can achieve beauty with purpose.
Many of them are extremely fragrant.
If stepping outside and smelling the true fragrance of nature appeals, then native plants are the way to go. They provide food and habitat for native wildlife, supporting biodiversity. Supporting biodiversity in cities is part of a new wave of environmentalism, a movement that promotes aligning two things that have historically been at odds: human enterprise and conservation.
Most are drought tolerant.
With the ongoing drought, the importance of saving water is self-explanatory.
Many produce long root systems, which help control soil erosion.
According to World Wildlife Fund, half of the world’s topsoil has been lost in the last 150 years. Soil erosion is a serious issue that threatens the viability of flora and fauna. Native plants don’t require fertilizer and are pest resistant. Avoiding chemical fertilizers and pesticides helps prevent chemical pollution and the contamination of groundwater.
They are low-maintenance.
Once native plants take root in a garden, they require very minimal upkeep compared to non-native plants. Who doesn’t love doing good for the world without a huge time commitment?
Converting can be done cheaply.
Converting to a native garden doesn’t have to break the bank. For those on an extremely tight budget, just a few native plants will still make a difference. They are many resources available to help amateur gardeners switch to native landscaping inexpensively.
Being around nature and wildlife is good for human health and cognition.
Studies have shown that being in nature and experiencing wildlife strengthens the immune system, reduces stress, and improves memory and cognition. Plant away and create an oasis of healing right in your backyard!
Read more: The Gottlieb Native Garden: A California Love Story by Susan Gottlieb, an environmental philanthropist with a passion for gardening for wildlife. In 1990 she created the renowned Gottlieb Native Garden at her home in Beverly Hills.