Sunday, June 2, 2013

Bold & Daring Early Native Landscape Theme Attempts Started Mostly With Commercial Building Projects

Citracado Dental Group - Escondido

Credit Mine

Western Redbud
(Cercus occidentalis)
Back when this place was first built I believe in or around 1990 (although someone would have to check for sure), it was one of the first real mostly Native Plant Themes I had seen with an attempt to go strictly Native. Although they have incorporated some non-natives, it mostly adheres to the Old California look with a Spanish Mission style architecture for which both compliment each other beautifully. Take a weekend drive and explore many older turn of the century neighbourhoods in Southern California and Native plants were often used, as many of today's exotics weren't even heard of or available anyway. I just recall seeing this on the corner of El Norte Parkway and Iris Lane in Escondido when it was first built and landscaped and even in those early stages of plant development it was beautiful. Western Redbud here is under some shade canopy with a partial window of sunshine at around noon time. I think in such interior valley climate locations, a shade location is probably best. I planted my Redbuds under my Mum's 6 California Sycamore tree colony where they are incorporated with other native shade preference plants. And of course I would never plant without inoculation. 

Photo Mine

Autumn Sage 
(Salvia greggii)
Summer or Autumn Sages like the one pictured to the left here are another one of those interesting plants that will provide tiny petite pink reddish flowers which will give a splash of accent colour along with a bright vibrant green foliage. The Summer Sage for me is more of a delicate pattern textured leaf, while Autumn Sage seems to have a thicker smoother leaf if I remember correctly. The one picture here again is underneath a Engelmann Oak (Quercus engelmannii) for which this property has incorporated several Engelmann Oaks along with Coast Live Oak (Quercus agrifolia). I've taken photos of several Oak examples in the San Diego backcountry on this trip and they are beautiful illustrations of how many shade loving native plants just thrive within and slightly beyond the tree drip-line canopy. With posts on my Earth's Internet blog explaining the benefits of fungal network grids allowing connections between smaller plants and large trees of a forest, it will be a great illustrative feature for home gardeners and landscapers to attempt replicating these into urban landscapes where watering will be keep to a minimum. I'll also show plants I purchased at Las Pilitas Nursery 6 weeks ago, took back to Mum's place and immediately put into the ground with good species blend mycorrhizal inoculent and what they look like today. Maybe I'll publish these tomorrow night which will be Monday the day before I leave.

500 West El Norte Parkway, Escondido, California

Photo Mine

This is the area on Iris Lane where the building towards the back parking area is where Citracado Dental Group's clientele actually arrive to enter the building. I love this Spanish Mission Style with the Southern California Native plants. Not big on real Missions, but love the romantic architectural style just the same.

Photo Mine

This front view on El Norte Parkway incorporates Bunch Grasses, Manzanita, California Holly (Toyon), Cleveland Sage, and low growing and spreading Ceanothus. I think when it comes to bunch grasses, you can use any type of Southwestern variety. This place has also always had native annual plants blooming every Spring.

Photo Mine
Here view westward on El Norte at the end of the property we have a bit of a Riparian Theme going on within the Native Plant scheme with California Sycamore and White Alder in the background. One note each on both of these trees. First, I've never really found many truly ideal locations for White Alder in interior valley landscapes. Don't get me wrong, I do like White Alder, but older trees have greater water requirements than when they are young. In Southern California Riparian habitats, White Alder ONLY truly does well where permanent water is flowing above ground. I have never seen them doing well or being present for that matter in a dry wash, riverbed or alluvial fan where water was 10 foot or deeper under the ground. No problem for Cottonwoods, some Willows, Ash, Box Elder and Sycamore trees which will penetrate into the subsoil and tap into the moisture layers. White Alders are better with permanent water and really large shallow roots which will bind many boulders together to hold together river or stream banks better than most other riparian trees. It should be noted that even heat is not an issue as long as generous water requirements are met. I remember in the early 1980s when Tahquitz Creek which flowed off Mount Jacinto and in through downtown Palm Springs when ice cold water flowed all year long, temperatures were often 110 Fahrenheit. There was never any leaf burn whatsoever. California Sycamores are another one of those interesting tough survival trees, especially considering they are for the most part a riparian species plant. Very very wetter than normal season period of two or three years are first important for their young early growth. After that normal or even drier than normal rainfall years seem no problem if roots have done there deep penetration job. More on this in two other posts, one dealing strictly with Sycamores and another dealing with Bajadas or Alluvial Fans and the periodic wetter season periods that use to be more common, but contain important landscape lessons for plant establishment in Urban Landscapes.


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