California’s distinctive beauty is recognized around the world. However, the rich biodiversity we enjoy is under threat. Gardens in the urban setting play an important role as we navigate through changing climate. Water resources are no longer the only crisis we can address through good design. Loss of wildland habitats and isolation by development can be offset if we choose a balanced ecological approach to designing urban landscapes. Our gardens need not be messy or wild to achieve this outcome.
Here is just one example of a slope once covered in ornamental juniper and ivy. Formerly a wildlife food desert, the dry slope has been converted to a diverse array of California native sage, mallow, sunflower, and buckwheat species endemic to the southern California coast and Channel Islands. Seasonal blooms span from mid winter through late fall, providing a constant flow of beautiful flowers and vital floral resources to over 20 varieties of native bees, a plethora of resident and migratory birds, and other animals.
Each native landscape, small and large, can make a dramatic impact, provide critical pathways to reconnect fragmented wildlands and ultimately create the healthy ecosystems that sustain life.