Friday, January 21, 2011
One of my holiday gifts in 2009 was a pair of California Bush Sunflower plants, Encelia californica. They were captured somewhere around Long Beach under the supervision of the Los Cerritos Wetlands Stewards, and transported in gallon containers. They tried to make a go of it on my front porch, but clearly they yearned for the freedom of open land. So eventually I planted them in my gardens, one in the back and one in the front. They climbed and spread a bit, and now finally they are starting to bloom. These are not huge sunflowers, but they are of a respectable size and beautiful, and they belong here. I don't believe I'll ever go entirely native in my planting, but I think it's important to foster our native plants, especially as we lose more and more of the natural habitats of our native birds and bugs.
You can see from the photo that something has already snacked on the edges of the flower petals. I'm okay with that. I think it makes a pleasing fringe. My personal theory of gardening is that a garden becomes healthier and better with each living thing that occupies it. My principles were only a little strained when a baby grasshopper polished off my basil.