Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: California Fuchsia

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Sep 4, 2015 10:02:41 AM

Our Plant Pick-of-the-Week: California Fuchsia

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California Fuchsia (once botanically known as Zauschneria, recently reclassified as Epilobium) is probably the most recognizable California native perennial besides the famous CA poppy. It's no wonder- the flowers are such a vivid red-orange that they're highly visible from yards away. Thanks to this perennial's dazzling blossom, many new cultivars are being sold each year, which is great news for water-conscious gardeners, hummingbirds and native pollinators too!

NickCaliforniaFuchsia-349991-editedThere are many new varieties of California Fuchsia on the market that vary widely in size, but they generally reach 1-2' high with a spreading habit 4-6' wide. They grow in areas with very poor soil and little water, so don't make the mistake of "loving them to death" with rich soil, plenty of fertilizer and regular irrigation. If you place your California Fuchsia in full sun and give it barely any attention, it will be far happier than if you pamper it like a prima donna.

If you're inspired to give this fuss-free beauty a try, remember that fall is the best time to plant, especially when it comes to native plants. This is because the cool weather allows the plant to establish an extensive root system and adapt to your soil before the weather gets hot again. It's Nick's pick-of-the-week because:

"California Fuchsia is easy to grow, very drought tolerant, and a hummingbird magnet! It's a great pop of color in the dead heat of summer when most other plants are bloomed-out."

Yearning for more un-thirsty plants?

  Drought Tolerant Plants

 

Topics: California Native Plants, Flowers in the Heat, Low Water Plants, Hummingbirds, Low maintenance, pollinators

How to Create a Pollinator Paradise

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Jun 19, 2015 5:36:15 PM

Bees_On_Poppy_0925-692619-editedWhat is a pollinator?

Any insect or animal which moves pollen from one flower to the next. This includes bats, bees, butterflies, small mammals, moths, birds, flies, and beetles. Flowers are designed to attract pollinators with their bright colors and enticing fragrance, and in return the pollinators feed on the flowers nectar and pollen. 

Pollinators are essential to the survival of many species of plants and animals, including people. Approximately one-third of the food we eat is delivered by pollinators. Recently, populations of many of our favorite pollinators are in decline, partially due to loss of habitat and food.

In honor of National Pollinator Week, here are a few things you can do to make your garden a welcoming environment for all types of pollinators.

  • Plant many different flowers that bloom all year long
Because there's such a diverse mix of creatures which pollinate flowers, the best way to make your garden a welcoming place is to plant a wide variety of flowers,that bloom all throughout the year. Different species are attracted to different flower types, and having a wide selection of flowers which bloom during each season will ensure that they don't go hungry. 
  • Plant a variety of color
Different types of pollinators are more attracted to different colors. It is easier to draw passing pollinators into your garden if you plant your pollinator-attracting perennials in a patch of 3-5, and plant big groups of similar colors together.
Bees are drawn to yellow, blue and purple. 
Fun fact: bees see in a spectrum of light that's invisible to us- ultraviolet. Many flowers have ultraviolet markings on them called "nectar guides" which draw bees directly to the pollen and nectar of a flower. 
Butterflies prefer flat-topped "cluster" type flowers in red, orange, yellow, pink and blue.
Hummingbirds enjoy tube or funnel shaped flowers in shades of orange, red, violet and pink.
  • Entice with fragrance
Scent is another thing that draws pollinators to flowers, so seek fragrant flowers when planning your pollinator garden. Herbs like lavender, sage, basil and oregano contain many fragrant oils, so their flowers contain nectar which is especially delicious. 
  • Know your natives

When planning your pollinator paradise, consider catering to the local species. There are approximately 1,500 species of bees and 200 species of butterflies that are native to California. Native pollinators are most attracted to the plants with which they co-evolved. Native plants are also well adapted to our climate, making them a sustainable choice, which will be easier to maintain in the long run. 

Our Favorite Natives

  • Provide a place to nest and rest
Many species of bees are solitary, meaning they overwinter and nest in soil, sand or dead wood as opposed to hives. Large screening shrubs make a great shelter for all sorts of pollinators, and some of them, such as wild lilac and toyon are good sources of pollen and nectar too.
  • Set up a bath for birds, bees and other pollinators
Keeping a birdbath is a great way to attract an assortment of beautiful songbirds to your garden, and it's especially appreciated in low-water years. However, you should also find a spot in your pollinator garden for a bee & butterfly bath! Take a shallow tray, line with pebbles, and keep it filled with fresh water. This provides water for smaller pollinators, especially butterflies who get many of their essential minerals from drinking muddy water (an act known as puddling).
  • Learn to control pests naturally

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a way of controlling pests in your garden with less impact on the environment. Many pollinators also feed on insects such as aphids, that's why maintaining the balance of beneficials and pests in the garden is important. 

Intro to IPM

Topics: California Native Plants, Flowers, Beneficial Insects

Looking for Lawn Substitutes? We Have Ideas...

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Aug 14, 2014 2:31:00 PM

Now that the drought has done a number on our lawns, what are the choices for long-term water savings?

house with deadlawn 

Mandatory water restrictions put landscapes a little lower on list of priorities. Most of us enjoy a lush landscape, so it’s good to know water restrictions don't make it impossible to create a very functional and enjoyable garden space without lawn. While so many gardeners are faced with replacing dead lawns this fall, it’s probably a prudent time to consider other options.

There are endless possibilities for lawn substitutes, and making the change is easy to do.
Take a look at a few of the options we suggest for long-term water savings:
 
Edibles
The popularity of edible gardens has grown substantially in recent years, often taking the stage in front landscapes. The average gardener waters their tomato plants a little bit every day. Did you know a tomato planted in the ground prefers water just a couple of times a week in the height of the Sacramento summer? Most fruiting plants enjoy a deep soaking occasionally.

 

Vegetable gardens and fruit trees with mulch or traffic-friendly groundcovers make beautiful landscapes with the benefits of some shade, a variety of edibles, and considerable water savings. 


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Citrus and fruit trees are notable accents to an edible garden. A not-so-well-known fact is both are quite drought tolerant once established. Whether you enjoy oranges, apples, Australian finger limes or Jujube’s, the options and combinations are endless.  

Groundcovers and Sub-Shrubs 
Groundcovers are some of the more obvious choices for lawn replacements. They are best
suited for areas where there is light foot-traffic. Mix with a permeable surface, such as decomposed granite, gravel for paths. Sub-shrubs are placed where there is no traffic. They make the perfect filler for large areas.

California natives are high on the list of recommendations, although there are a number of non-native options. The benefit to natives is their built-in tolerance to the soils and water conditions in our area. Local wildlife thrives amongst native habitats. 


California Natives Make Drought Gardening Easy and Beautiful 

  • California Wild Lilac (Ceanothus) ‘Carmel Creeper’ and ‘Centennial’ are two evergreen varieties that spread and stay fairly low. Blue flowers come in spring and bees love it!
  • Manzanita (Arctostaphylos) ‘Emerald Carpet’ and ‘Massachusetts’ have pinkish white blooms that develop in spring. The dark green foliage contrasts well with dark red stems. 
  • California Fuchsia (Zauschneria californica) comes in a few varieties that
    fit the bill for sun/part-shade, summer to fall bloom, and, the hummingbirds love them.
  • Ornamental Strawberry (Fragaria) is a tight, very low perennial groundcover for rock gardens and slopes. 
  • Dwarf Coyote Bush (Baccharis pililaris ‘Pidgeon Point’) is an evergreen sub-shrub that grows to about a foot tall, but spreads wide. Ideal for slopes!
     
Zauschneria californica 'Olbrich Silver' 3Baccharis pilularisArctostaphylos x coloradoensis Panchito 2 D. Winger

Non-Native Groundcovers Well-Suited for the Sacramento Area
  • Thyme is an aromatic groundcover with varieties that are perfect for
    areas with foot traffic. Try 'Elfin' for a very tight cover, or a number varieties of Creeping Thyme between pavers. 
  • Sedum ‘Angelina’, ‘Dragons Blood’, and ‘Ogon’ offer color interest and require low water. 
  • Senecio ‘Dwarf Blue Chalks’ can add fun contrast and texture. Mature size is 1'x2'. Minimal water is required for this succulent, shrubby perennial.
thyme on paversSedum rupestre %27Angelina%27dwarf blue chalks
 
  
                                    
 
Red maple
Trees are a Critical Part of a Water-Wise Landscape
Plant trees for reduced temperatures and cooler soil. Once established, many trees require less frequent watering. The cooler soil temperatures will benefit everything planted in the soil below. 
  • ‘October Glory’ Maple  
    One of the most desired maples, with dark green leaves in spring, turning radiant red in late fall. A fast-grower with a mature size of 45'x30'. It provides a beautiful shade canopy for larger landscapes.
  • ‘Pacific Sunset’ Maple 
    A maple hybrid, its smaller size and tolerance for urban conditions makes this tree perfect for patios or small yards. Mature size is 25'x25'. Initially, it requires moderate to regular water but is drought tolerant once established.
  • ‘Emerald Sunshine’ Elm  
    This Elm variety is highly resistant to disease. Its vase shape is well-suited for a street or landscape accent tree. Mature size is 35' x 25'. Deep green leaves turn to yellow in the fall. 
  • Arbutus 'Marina' (Strawberry Tree)
    A one-of-a-kind evergreen tree. The mahogany bark peels back to reveal a cinnamon bark in the summer. Clusters of urn-shaped flowers draw hummingbirds, followed by bright orange-red fruit. Its mature size is 25'x25' and requires very little water once established. An eye-catching tree for smaller areas.
Strawberry Tree


California Natives

Low Water Plants

Topics: Native Plants, California Native Plants, Smartscape, Waterwise, Sacramento Low Water Plants, Edibles, Drought Resistant, Reduce Water Costs, Water Rebates

Our Favorite California Native Plants

Posted by Green Acres Nursery & Supply on Mar 25, 2014 2:13:00 PM

If you're rethinking your yard for water efficiency, it helps to know your natives.  Native plants, that is!  There are over 5,000 species of plants that are native to California.  Of those, over 2,000 are endemic, meaning they aren't found anywhere else in the world.

Why grow California natives?

  • They are tough.
    • Plants that are native to California are perfectly adapted to our climate, including our long, hot, and dry summers.
  • They are easy.
    • These plants require very little maintenance and add to the natural beauty of your landscape.
  • They are drought resistant.
    • Once established, they are low water plants, saving you money and conserving water.
  • They attract native pollinators and beneficial insects.
    • Providing food and habitat for native insects is the cornerstone of integrated pest management, and is the best way to build a healthy organic garden. 

The following is a small sampling of gorgeous, tried and true native perennials which have earned their place in our nursery, and in your garden!*

Check out our California Native Landscape 2.0 design for ideas


California Native Plants for Sacramento 

 

 low water plant

 

Red Buckwheat

Eriogonum grande var. rubescens

This compact beauty only grows one foot tall by three feet wide, and is covered in clusters of reddish-pink blooms summer through fall. It provides food for bees and butterflies and in addition is deer resistant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 low water plant

 

Penstemon ‘Margarita B.O.P.’

Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Margarita B.O.P.’

The flowers of this penstemon can be sky blue or violet purple, or both at the same time! This dreamy perennial grows only two feet tall and wide. It is very attractive to hummingbirds and bees, and will bloom continuously spring through summer if trimmed back occassionally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 low water plant 

 

 

Cleveland Sage

Salvia clevelandii

This evergreen shrub grows four-to-five feet high and wide and it’s greyish-green leaves emit a strong herbal aroma. Blooming in late spring and early summer, spikes punctuated with whorls of tubular blue flowers beckon hummingbirds, bees and butterflies to your garden. Deer resistant!

 

 

 

 

 

 

low water plant

 

 

 

California Fuchsia

Epilobium canum (Zauschneria californica)

Bearing little resemblance to other varieties of fuchsia, CA fuchsia is by far prettier, tougher, and more irresistible to hummingbirds! It forms a soft mound of grey-green foliage, topped with tons of striking red-orange tubular flowers summer through fall. Reaching about three-to-four feet high and four-to-five feet wide, it is a great choice to plant en masse on dry slopes. Deer resistant!

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Inventory levels are subject to change, please call stores for current availability

 

Drought Tolerant Plants

Do you like butterflies?  Learn even more ways to bring them in your yard.

Become a Monarch Waystation  

  

Topics: Native Plants, California Native Plants, Sacramento Low Water Plants, Drought Resistant, Planning Your Landscape, Low Water Plants, Beneficial Insects

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