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MEETING REPORT: Manzanitas & More with Su Kraus

By Karen Andersen.

Photo provided by Su Krauss.
Su Krauss at work at Moosa Creek Nursery.

October’s meeting on Monday 10-12-2020 had us diving head first into Native Season. What better way to celebrate these hardy and beautiful plants than to learn about what to plant to make your native gardens beautiful year-round. Su Kraus, is the Founder and Co-Owner of Moosa Creek Nursery, located here in San Diego. Their mission is to make natives readily available to gardens all over San Diego. Su walked us through design fundamentals on how to create structure using foolproof evergreen shrubs that will continue to perform in our tricky hot dry summers and flourish in our cool winters, providing color and sustenance for our pollinators, butterflies, hummingbirds and songbirds when most other flowering plants are spent.

Our first challenge is to make a plan. Beginning with design fundamentals, know your soil, aspect and temperatures and then choose plants that thrive in those conditions. Plant in groups with similar needs and wants for irrigation and drainage. Make sure to create an entrance, it draws the eye to the beauty and overall flow of your space. Focal points and hardscapes are important to help move the eye past the entrance and into the garden itself. Evergreen shrubs help to create this structural backbone in the landscape.

Manzanitas -

There are many varieties from ground covers up to trees and shrubs and in between from which to select. These beauties flower anywhere from December to February with pink or white flowers, providing habitat and food sources for our pollinators and birds. You can extend your flowering season by staggering varieties. They are very forgiving and once established are quite drought tolerant. Choose a type that fits your space and garden needs.

More native trees -

Native trees to include are Catalina Cherry and Holly Leaf Cherry. Often used for their bright and cheery berries during the holiday seasons. Did you know? Natives can be trained into formal hedges if desired. A few varieties that are handsome for this include Lemonade Berry, Sugar Bush, Laurel Sumac, Pacific Wax Myrtle, and the San Diego Sunflower. Ground covers include Dwarf Coyote Bush and native California Lilacs.

When using evergreen natives it is recommended to follow the 75%/25% rule of thumb. Your design will include 75% of evergreen natives and 25% of flowering natives that may experience seasons of rest, such as Bee Bliss Sage. These flowering powerhouses often look tired after summer and will leave you garden looking dried out and dead. When mixed with the evergreens, you can filter color in and out while having a structured backdrop of strength and green foliage.

For guidance and recommendations Moosa Creek has a wonderful interactive website full of features in their menu to help educate you on plants, types, names, availabilities, and an information library on how to. They also provide recommendations for landscape professionals and have Karen Park to assist you on the phone, and help guide you in how to find what you are looking for. As a part of their mission, they provide you with all the information you need to find and acquire your native needs. Check out their website and give Karen a call.

Hardy year-round beauty awaits! Now is the season to incorporate these gems into your garden. Thank you Su and thank you Moosa Creek.

Editor's Note: Moosa Creek has generously offered SDHS Members 10% off orders placed through their website to be delivered to a retail nursery near your home. The offer is good until May 2021 and cannot be combine with any other offer.  The offer is good only for SDHS members and the special promo code needed for the savings was sent in an email to the membership. Check your inboxes!


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