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Native Ecology

Foliage for a Strong Foundation
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Gibs SlopeFlower color can be overrated at the expense of foliar contrast and massing. Note here that the blue-gray leaves of the hummingbird fuschia contrast dramatically with the different shades of green behind, as well as the textural contrast with the native bunch grasses (giant wild rye). Not to mention the fact that the fuschias become balls of red in summer/fall. The hummingbirds chirp wildly from all directions when we venture into this landscape (sounds like an Alfred Hitchcock movie). This garden also combines nicely with the north slope chaparral on the right, which we pruned up to form a private park from impenetrable scrub. He has a natural seasonal creek bed which we ran paths down to, along with high boulder overlooks that he now has access to. We didn’t remove any shrubs-just cleaned them up. If you are blessed to have natural chaparral on your property, why not let us carve out a mature native landscape (park, preserve?) with paths that give access and double as firebreaks? Why destroy beautiful natural habitat that thrives on no supplemental water and very little maintenance? Guess you can’t wait to spend tens of thousands of dollars ripping out native vegetation to replace it with irrigation systems and non-native vegetation. When was the last time you saw a dog-face butterfly? Or something more common, like a monarch? Maybe a horned lizard?

Contrasting PlantingsHere is another picture taken out of blooming season. This illustrates that massing plants of similar characteristics against others with contrasting distinctiveness can be an effective design element. Using lots of evergreens ensures that the garden doesn't end up looking like tumbleweeds during the summer. This garden still looks good, seen in late summer. There is virtually no maintenance in this landscape, and most of this lady’s 5 acres is non-irrigated. She is also blessed with native coastal sage scrub on her property, and it is re-establishing in all areas kept free of weeds.