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Creating Native Landscapes

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The typical suburban backyard has an area of groomed lawn, flower beds which follow the fence line and a tree or three to provide shade. In contrast, native habitats have free-flowing lines and often random, organic distributions of plants located in the exact spot which best favors their growth. Native habitats are home to pollinators such as native bees and support a wide variety of wildlife. They can bloom profusely and can also provide dramatic contrasts in textures and form. They can be self-sustaining through periods of summer drought and are refreshed during our cool, wet California winters.

Are you interested in adding native plants to your garden? Do you wish to “weather-proof” your landscape? Want to attract native pollinators to an organic garden? Interested in attracting and supporting wildlife? Would you like to be able to garden in a way that’s evocative of our sense of place in the Sierra Nevada foothills? Are you curious? If so, then “Gardening with Natives: Creating Native Landscapes” is for you. The Sierra Foothills Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) will present the third annual Gardening with Natives Symposium on Saturday, September 14, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Sierra Building of the Mother Lode Fairgrounds on Stockton Street in Sonora, CA.

Keynote speaker is Judith Larner Lowry, owner and proprietor of Larner Seeds, providing California native seeds of wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, vines, & trees for the past 35 years. Her keynote address is titled, “35 Years of Gardening with a Wild Heart: Intended and Unintended Consequences.” Lowry promotes the preservation and restoration of California’s ecosystems. She is a wildland seed collector, propagator, garden designer, lecturer and author. Her books include “Gardening with a Wild Heart,” published by UC Press in 2000, and “The Landscaping Ideas of Jays,” published in 2007. She was awarded the John Burroughs Association Award for “Best Published Nature Essay of 2005.” She is currently working on a book on edible native plants.

Other speakers include Julie Serences, native bee expert; Mary Anderson, native plant propagator and retired native nursery owner; and Helen Popper, author of “California Native Gardening, a Month-by-Month Guide.”

Julie Serences is a professional educator with over 25 years of experience. Her workshops focus on teaching people to be land stewards of their own outdoor spaces by increasing the biodiversity of their landscapes. She will be speaking on “Bees Are Not Optional – Native Bees All around Us.”

Mary Anderson has lived in the Sierra Foothills for over 40 years. As owner of Lost Hills Nursery for 25 years, she focused on native and drought-tolerant plants. She has done extensive landscape consulting, specializing in the unique challenges of growing plants in the foothills. She will speak on “From Nursery Tub to Thriving Shrub: How to Get There.”

Helen Popper is the author of “California Native Gardening, a Month-by-Month Guide.” She will share a sense of the rhythm that guides us through her talk, “Seasonal Rhythms of the Native Garden.”
Registration is $40 and includes lunch, morning and afternoon snacks, and program hand-outs. Participants will also receive a list of native plants that will be available at the upcoming October native plant sale, thus allowing you to plan additions to your garden recommended by symposium speakers.

More information and a down-loadable registration form are available on the local CNPS website: Registration will be accepted at the door, as space allows. To make a reservation for your lunch, please contact Patricia Hohne at (209) 352-4312, .

The Sierra Foothills Chapter of the California Native Plant Society sponsors the Gardening with Natives Symposium, with support and assistance from UCCE Tuolumne County Master Gardeners and the UCCE Central Sierra Natural Resources program.