North Coast Gardening: Native plants offer colorful options

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Your summer garden can be bright with color if you add low maintenance native plants in the sunnier areas. Just take a stroll through Humboldt Botanical Garden’s Lost Coast Brewery Native Plant Garden to see what colorful native plants will thrive in your yard. Check out these stunning specimens. All are deer proof, by the way.

MATILIJA POPPY — Romneya coulteri is the impressive matilija poppy. It makes a bold statement with its huge white flowers that average 6 inches across. Plants average 6 feet tall and about as wide, so give this one plenty of space in a sunny location. These poppies require no water or fertilizing once established after the first year. They do need a hard pruning to the ground each winter to keep plants fresh with flower the following summer.

MONKEY FLOWER — Mimulus aurantiacus is the cheerful monkey flower that blooms in a wide range of colors, including white, orange, yellow, pink and red. Plant this one in sun or part shade for bright color from late spring through fall. Although drought tolerant once established, monkey flower is especially attractive if given a good soaking now and then during the dry months. Cut back at least half way in the late winter to encourage fresh growth.

BEACH ASTER – Erigeron glaucus is the petite seaside daisy often found along coastal stretches of California. It forms a 12-inch mound of green foliage loaded with lavender daisies. Each flower sports a bright yellow button in the center. Beach daisy is a butterfly favorite. Plants need full sun and fairly well drained soil. It tolerates wind and drought, but looks its best with some summer water.

COASTAL CALIFORNIA POPPY — Eschscholzia californica var. maritima is a perennial California poppy that blooms all summer long. It forms a tight mound of lacy gray-green foliage loaded with yellowish orange flowers. If soil is well drained, it will remain perennial in the garden for several years. It also reseeds. Coastal California poppy needs full sun and well-drained soil. No summer water is necessary once established.

CALIFORNIA FUCHSIA — Epilobium canum is the stunning California fuchsia that hummingbirds love. The soft gray/green foliage becomes smothered with bright orange-red flowers in late summer. Plants have a flowing, informal shape averaging 18 inches tall and up to 24 inches wide. This tough perennial requires no summer water once established — just give it a hard pruning back in the late winter to force a flush of new growth.

CLEVELAND SAGE — Salvia clevelandii is a robust native salvia that sports lavender-blue flowers from summer through autumn. It averages 3 to 4 feet tall and is about as wide. For the pollinator garden it is a must as it attracts bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. Full sun and no water once established will keep this perennial happy. Give it a good shearing back in the late winter.

By Terry Kramer, Site Manager at Humboldt Botanical Garden

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