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GOING WILD WITH NATIVES: "The Artful California Native Gardens of East County" CNPS-SD Tour

Photo credit; Edmund Piffard.

By Susan Lewitt.

When you think about planting your garden, consider California native plants; they can be a perfect fit! Native plants need minimal water, don’t need soil amendments, fertilizers or a lot of maintenance and can be lovely all year. Also keep in mind that Native plants can be adapted to just about any style garden from manicured formal to the wild look, or even Japanese style.

Many of our pollinators are attracted to specific native plants, therefore a varied native garden will not just bring you flowers all year round but also birds, butterflies and native bees. There are over 700 native bee species in San Diego County that rely on our native flora gardens.

Photo credit; Judie Lincer.

Come see how beautiful and functional a native garden can be on the California Native Plant Society-San Diego (CNPS-SD) garden tour. “The Artful California Native Garden of East San Diego” tour will give you the opportunity to explore 12 private residential gardens with many delightful features. Bioswales, natural areas, sloped gardens, water catchment devices, water features including a pool to pond conversion, bridges, sculptures and other inspiring elements abound. Artists selling their native plant themed artwork and other crafts will be stationed at select gardens. In addition, there will be five other Front Yard Inspiration (FYI)  gardens to view along the route or any time in the future.

Photo credit; Christine Hoey.

The Water Conservation Garden will host planting demonstrations and a butterfly pollinator talk in The Native Plant Garden.  Take a self or docent guided tour of the three California plant communities: Coastal Sage, Wetland and Oak Woodland. The instructional presentations will show you how you may incorporate native plants easily into your garden.

The tour takes place on April 4th, from 9:00 am to 4 pm, in the East County area, including gardens in Mt Helix, La Mesa, San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Lakeside and Blossom Valley. Tickets may be purchased online for $35 per person, or on the day of the tour for $40 at the Water Conservation Garden located at 12122 Cuyamaca College Dr West, El Cajon, CA 92019. Please go to for updated information.


Join with us in welcoming our newest Going Wild with Natives columnist, Susan Lewitt. Susan currently writes about native plants for the Clairemont Times and her articles can be found on the Clairemont Times website.

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