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Thursday, February 20, 2003



A Visit to the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wildflowers and Native Plants





Today turned out to be a wonderful day with blue skies and bright sunshine even if the winds were a bit blustery. My son, Joe, and I decided to visit this wonderful native plant nursery, seed store and bookstore in Sun Valley, California. We heard about the foundation from a friend who refently became interested in using native plants in his garden. I had vaguely remembered hearing about the foundation many years ago but never had an opportunity to visit.


The nursery has a wide selection of California native plants, including many different varieties of the same species. I counted at least 10 different varieties of Ceanothus alone. They also have a wide variety of native grapes, currants, grasses, trees and much, much more. The signage, which is very detailed, contains information on water usage, sun requirements, soil type and average size of the plant when mature. Different plants are available at different times of the year, so if you're looking for a particular variety, he would be well advised to call ahead and check on its availability.


Joe and I had a wonderful time strolling through the nursery, which is tucked up a small canyon very near La Tuna Canyon Road. Except for a few jets departing Burbank airport in the distance, it was quiet and filled with wildlife. We saw several different varieties of butterflies and birds and thousands of honeybees making great use of the nursery plants. The grounds of the foundation are also planted with a large variety of natives so you may see how the plants would work in your garden when they're fully mature. There are picnic benches available, too, if you want to come and spend a few hours in a beautfiul environment.


The foundation bookstore is well-stocked with a variety of materials and hosted by knowledgeable docents who can give you further information on any plants you might be interested in purchasing. They also provide a large variety of seed packs including single species and a large selection of mixes. We purchased their "shady mix" for use in a problematical corner in the back garden. Native plant seeds don't require a lot of preparation. You simply disturb the soil, scattered seeds, tamp them in lightly, and keep them moist until they sprout.


If you have an interest in using native plants in your garden, I highly recommend visiting the foundation and nursery. Prices range from $7-$20 depending on a size of the plant. I made quite a few notes about some plants that I want to add to my garden, but I need to think about where I want to place them first. It also gives me a great reason to go back and browse some more.


The foundation is located at:


10459 Tuxford Street

Sun Valley, California 91352

818-768-1802

818-768-3533 Wildflower Hotline

www.TheodorePayne.org


Hours:


Tuesday through Saturday 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM

Closed Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and major holidays


Summer hours may vary, please call ahead.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Recent Books



cover


Finding God in the Garden: Backyard Reflections on Life, Love and Compost


An interesting combination of Gardening and Christianity.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Projects/Birds


Sunset Birdhouse Project




Sunset Magazine has an excellent birdhouse project to do by yourself or with your kids. I know it may seem like there are thousands of projects like this, but I like seeing how each person has put their house together.