Regardless of where you live, by selecting plants that are from your area, or from an area with the same climate, you eliminate the majority plant plant problems that can occur. We suggest here plant selection ideas that will lead you to a beautiful, maintenance free landscape. We'll use mediterranean and desert landscaping plant guides as case studies, so to speak. However, the general rules for plant selection apply to any climate.
Within the mediterranean climate there are many micro-climates. These are localized climates that deviate from the dominant climate. They are primarily influenced by the topology of the land. Foot hills block the coastal influence from reaching the interior valleys, changing the climate drastically. On a typical July mid-day, you can drive within 1.5 hours from 100 degree F. in Walnut Creek to 60 degrees in San Francisco. If you buy a plant at a nursery in San Francisco during this time and bring it to Walnut Creek, you can almost guarantee the plant will wilt and die. So when choosing plants for the landscape you must be aware of your dominant climate and your micro-climate characteristics.
Although California's coastal mediterranean climate is influenced by the Pacific Ocean, most fresh water comes from dammed man made lakes and the glaciers of the High Sierra Mountain Range on the eastern edge of the state. With the mild winters and summers, just about any plant can be grown with supplemental water from artificial sources. Agriculture is the largest income producer for California because of this. Periodic droughts of dry winters happen about every seven to fifteen years. They deplete the reservours and put a strain on agriculture. Near the coasts, dry winters can cause salt water intrusion, which makes fields unsuitable for crops.
Although most wild-lands have been replaced by "modern agriculture", then housing tracts, mediterranean climates supported an abundantly high diversity of plant species. There is an attractive community of native plants that are adapted to every micro-climate. In addition, plant communities in mediterranean climates around the world will do well in your mediterranean climate. The three climate zones where plant material come from that do well in mediterranean climates are Southern Europe, Southern Africa, and Coastal California. The highest diversity of plant species comes from Southern Africa and many have been exported to Southern Europe and Coastal California.Being that the mediterranean climate is a two season climate - wet and dry, most native plants go dormant during the stressful dry summer season. They do the most growing in late winter through spring when the rain water has saturated the ground. If this natural culture is maintained in the landscape, the plants maintain a nice compact mound shape that is very attractive. If watered too much in the summer, they will become leggy and more open; needing trimming. It's best to stop or minimize watering of native plants after they are established.
We're going to suggest a small list of native and mediterranean climate plants for coastal California, then refer you to extensive information on many more plants. We'll break the list down into four categories: south coast, central coast, north coast, and coast inland. Take a look.
Then there is the milder, but longer winter rains. They typically come from the mediterranean - ocean climates. The winter desert rains are usually much softer, slower, and longer. In a wet winter, the rain water gives the ground a really good saturation. If the temperatures were mild, then the desert wild flower display in the spring is spectacular.
Although deserts are considered to be hot places, many deserts have freezing temperatures. The Great Basin Desert, for example, exhibits winter temperature well below freezing most of the year. It has only a very short hot summer.
Even though deserts appear to be stark landscapes, the sheer number and diversity of plant species is staggering. In the Southwest USA, there are officially four main deserts. There is the Mojave, Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Great Basin deserts. Each has it's own distinct dominant plant communities, as well as plants that are adapted to micro-climates within the main desert. There are similar analogies on just about every other continent. There are deserts in South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia. They all have their own unique plant communities.
We're going to suggest a list of native desert plants for the four American deserts, then refer you to extensive information on many more plants. We'll break the list down into three categories: wet-warm deserts, dry-warm deserts, and dry-cold deserts. Find out more here.
Invasive grasses and weeds, that have escaped private landscapes, spread throughout the wild-lands surrounding private property. The weed seed germinates very easy during the wet season. When the dry season arrives, fires, caused by lightning, high hot winds (Santa Ana Winds), or arson, happen very easily. Because the dry weeds have filled in the spaces between the native shrubs, the fires spread very quickly, taking the shrubs and trees with them. Government agencies repair the damaged land by contracting with local colleges, native plant nurseries, and botanical gardens to collect and propagate native seed. These local propagating stations typically have sales to the public in the spring and fall.
So, if you are having trouble finding native plants for landscaping, check your local newspapers for native plant sale announcements. Call your local colleges and botanical gardens. If still no luck, contact the nearest Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the Department of Forestry. They should be able to point you in the right direction.
Plants for Landscaping, Landscaping Flowers, Flower Bed Landscaping Ideas, Landscaping Bushes, Landscaping Plant Guide, Landscaping Trees for Landscaping, Landscaping Under a Tree