Tree of Life Nursery

This is another one of those interesting California Native Plant Nurseries that I have bought heavily from over the years for many of my personal projects and learned quite a bit from as well. I posted an article on one of my other favourite native plant nurseries Las Pilitas and my other favourite native plant nursery Tree of Life Nursery deserves it's own.

This place has really come along way and has been around for even longer than most others of it's kind. Beautiful picturesque location in Orange County behind San Juan Capistrano California. Like other responsible Cal-Native Nurseries they likewise have a great educational program to get folks into the spirit of the thing Natives-wise. We in fact visited there last year my wife and I to pick up a few plants for my mum's place.

Original Retail Sales Office at Tree of Life Nursery
The two photos above are the original Native American styled Hogan Sales building built from Straw Bale Construction. This building technique is yet another feature about this company's dedication to Sustainable Living Ideas and Practical Applications. They still display plants in front of this little strawbale hogan and have added a few featured plants. One of them being the cross bred native grape with a domestic grape from up north in the wine country and allowing it to grow around the Arbor porch in the front.

As well as being a Native plant nursery, they've also been advocates of Strawbale construction which actually started with their seed storage barn facility. This was followed by the Native American hogan style design for a retail store as seen in above photos. But they've come along way since the round Hogan Building. I don't think they use anything but strawbale for construction material. Here below is the newer retail store called Casa La Paz.

The nursery was started by two partners. Jeff Bohn & Mike Evans. Jeff is the more quiet and reserved of the two (though by no means shy)  with Mike having an ever present kind of smirky expression when you see him each time as if he's always about to say  something humorous or silly of whatever's on his mind. Seriously, it's true and anybody working there can verify this. Right ? Come on, right ?

There was an interview with Mike Evans recently and you may listen to it here from the link here below. Very , very informative interview and gives a good feel and background history for Mike , Jeff and the Tree of Life Native Plant Nursery.
An interview featuring Mike Evans aired Sunday June 19, 2012
Radio Interview above

Okay changing directions for a moment. Education is also a natural part of their program here. They just don't want more customers, repeat sales or a reputation as another Cal-Native Plant Nursery to go to if you need or want to try natives. They want people to be successful and as Mike said in the interview, the conventional care that science-based big business models have indoctrinated people with for generations isn't going to cut it with the natives. 

The dirty little reality though is that none of Earth's plant life needs convention science based products. They excel at nature based applications and replication. Nature has been doing this for countless thousands of years and it's been only in the last 100 years of science-based technologies having the monopoly and look at where our planet is now. Seriously, look at it and realize who is responsible. It sure as well isn't going to be some freak of nature of some mythical Asteroid Fable destroying life on Earth someday !!! At this present rate this human failure will beat it to the punch.
I've already dealt with the subject of the strawbale program and education in an article I did on the Earthships buildings movement and I referred to Tree of Life's past educational programs there.
Earthships: the future of self-sustainable living ?

So let's deal with something they are educating people about now with regards to giving your yard a complete make over. Many folks need help in this regard to be a successful native landscaper. Their program is basically an encouragement to dump the traditional lawn concept brought out west by natives from back east, along with their back east plants and the challenges and failures this has brought to western gardening. Here below is an example of an educational workshop with Jeff Bohn as guest speaker at the Going Native Group.

Jeff Bohn - Google+ page

Jeff Bohn, co-owner of the renowned Tree of Life Nursery, as the first guest speaker. Jeff wove his personal stories about his love of native plants and the wildlife they invite with the practical lessons of how to get rid of your water-guzzling grass. He offered several options and ended with the easiest and most effective way.

While Jeff is hard at work in the field and teaching among the numerous plant biology workshops, Mike takes on some of the more difficult tedious business tasks & decision making back at the office by consulting with some of the Nurseries largest business clients.

And there are other uses for their barn besides storing Seed and as a make shift replanting shed where much of the physically hard work takes place by their hard working dedicated employees. Sometimes classes are held under one of their multi-trunked California Sycamore trees, one of many here. Debbie Evans and Gene Ratcliffe teaching the course on replacing your lawn with natives course. And of course as usual Mike Evans entertaining *cough cough* I mean doing the tough job of Public Relations about Tree of Life's Main Purpose Driven Goals here with National Public Radio in 2006 with environmental reporter Ilsa Setziol. Also offering folks previews of plants.

Outdoor Educational Classes

This at least and all humor aside gives you all a serious look into a very quality run Native Plants Nursery. They also inoculate their plants with a healthy mycorrhizal fungi and beneficial bacteria program down into the soil media in each container of the plant's root area. This ensures a head start to your use of their nature based nursery products. If you have any technical questions, their staff is fully up to scratch on the basic fundamentals & principles of California Native Plant health care.

On a closing side note. If anyone is familiar with Parry Pinyon (Pinus quadrafolia), they would be very interested in a source for seed. This tree can be easily viewed and cones obtained in the foothills of north-eastern Anza Valley California when you drive from Temecula CA to Palm Desert CA. Just before you get to the Palms to Pines Hwy 74 Jct. You've now only got a short window of opportunity at the end of August thru September when the cones open up and release their seed to the local ScrubJays who won't hesitate to pig down and hide as many as their obsessive behavior for hording allows. I tried some years back in the early 2000s to collect some of the seeds for them before I moved to Europe, but the seed nut shells were hollow for 3 years in a row and I found that very bizarre because I had tried many different locations to collect these cones. The only thing I got were hands full of pine pitch from the cones. Be sure to take some type of gloves and paper bags for storage.


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    1. Richard GumsleyAugust 25, 2015 at 1:46 AM
      Thanks for such a wonderful post.
      nursery trees (SPAM)

      I'm curious Richard (which probably isn't your real name since you no doubt come from India), if you thought it was that great of a post, why the stupid SPAM tactic ??? You've been reported to Google. I'm sick of this!!!


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