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Demand More Native Plants, and the Nurseries Will Follow

June 15, 2003

Susan Heeger's series of articles on California native plants was right on the mark (Special Garden Issue, May 18). Angelenos had better start adapting to the realities of our climate, which means adjusting our gardening and landscaping fashions. Heeger's articles also suggested that nonnative plants could be used during those times when native plants tend to look a little weary. However, if more Angelenos were to begin cultivating native plants, more would become commercially available. In fact, only a tiny fraction of California native plants can be obtained from nurseries. As demand increases, so will supply (in quantity and diversity), and then there will be no need to use any plants but those that grow naturally in the L.A. basin.

Kurt Schasker

Lake View Terrace

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One key consideration in planning a native garden was missing: fire. I recently moved to a half-acre lot that borders a natural hillside and have spent countless hours investigating what California natives I could plant that would be acceptable to the local fire authorities. I have found quality documentation on this subject, but fire departments and botanists do not always agree on what can be planted safely near natural areas. While fire authorities are going to err on the side of caution (as I reluctantly elected to do in my plant selection), a discussion of this aspect of California natives might be educational to both the fire personnel who set the rules and gardeners who must live by them.

John Allday

Newbury Park

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Last fall I toured the San Jacinto Mountains with a group hosted by the Southern California branch of the Mediterranean Garden Society. It was perhaps the driest time in years because of poor rains the previous winter. While there were several pine trees dotting the landscape that had succumbed to this extended drought, the majority of plants were alive and looking quite attractive. This example holds out hope that home gardens also can look attractive by using less water. Southern California gardens need not look like a desert to be climate-appropriate.

Sean O'Hara

Mediterranean Garden Society

Berkeley

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Your garden issue was a breath of fresh air! Thank you for the beautiful photography, creative ideas and inspirations to "go native," conserve water and appreciate our environment as it once was.

Annette Cincotta

Rolling Hills Estates

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