Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Native plant-ing with local groups and Ilsa

Susan Valot recently did a story on a group in Orange County dedicated to the cause of native plants. I'm glad she's helping pick up the slack. When she was in this chair, Ilsa Setziol more than covered natives and native planting; Ilsa remains to this day a native planting champion, a deep ecologist, a deep encyclopedia of southern California's ecology. I live on a native named street; Ilsa grows native plants.

She took me on a walk this past weekend in Lower Arroyo Seco Nature Park after which, we went to the South Pasadena Nature Park where we ran across some lovely natives in the early-mid-Sunday-sun.

Mateo, her son, was skeptical of his mom's and my enthusiasm for the Toyon. He's a mananita berry eater, which Ilsa informed me IS related to blueberries.

Ilsa regularly offers information and stories about native gardening and hiking with little critters at her site, Rambling LA.

Today I just offer a public service announcement. This upcoming Sunday, Back to Natives hosts a native plant landscaping workshop in Newport Beach. From their announcement:

The landscape will consist of drought-tolerant locally native plants in mulched beds, with no water hungry turf grass. The design also incorporates a dry creek bed that will harvest rainwater, allowing it to percolate through the soil to the aquifer below reducing run-off and preventing pollution.

Native vegetation requires less water and maintenance, and no fertilizer or pesticides. Many native butterfly and bird species are dependent on the habitat provided by native vegetation. Come learn about the process of designing and installing a native plant landscape from start to finish! To RSVP, call 949-509-4787 or send an email to