The Coast News Group
Landscape designer Nathan Smith talks about California native plants. Photo by Promise Yee

Native plant club readies for garden tour

OCEANSIDE — Landscape professionals and avid gardeners will lead small groups on a 1.5-mile walking tour of California native plant gardens April 15. 

The Buena Vista Native Plant Club is holding the event to educate residents about native plants.

Joan Bockman, president of the Buena Vista Native Plant Club, said people often confuse drought-tolerant plants and low-water use plants with true California native plants.

True native plants do not need soil amendments. They thrive in clay and sandy soil.

Spring is the peak season to see native plants in bloom. Participants can expect to see beach evening primroses, California poppies and flannel bush flowers.

“A lot of nurseries have some natives, but you have to know your plants,” Bockman said.

The walking tour starts at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea School and winds through the historic beach neighborhood. It includes 16 homes and two school gardens. Bockman said the tour is educational and informs participants on plant type, placement and care.

Some of the benefits of native plant gardens are that they need minimal care and do not require pesticides.

“If they’re set up correctly there is a lower weed problem and you use less water,” Bockman said. “You weed two to three times a year instead of every week.”

Native plant gardens also provide a natural habitat for birds.

“You’re doing something good and providing part of the flyway,” Bockman said.

Bockman teaches native plant gardening at the two schools on the gardens tour route. Fourth-grade students learn about the food chain through plants and bugs in the garden. First-grade students learn about plant structure through weeding.

“There’s no better way to learn, than by pulling up roots,” Bockman said. “Kids completely maintain the garden.”

On the day of the tour there will be information tables on local conservation efforts and native plants.

The guided gardens tour is scheduled for 2 p.m. April 15. It will begin at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea School parking lot, 515 Wisconsin Avenue.

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