Buckwheat Buddies

Some folks who planted their free California ‘Dana Point’ buckwheat are searching for plants to keep their buckwheat company. This is a great idea because California native plants help each other thrive as they share micorrhizal fungi through their roots. When California native plants share space, it makes life easier because they don’t need much water once established: just a deep soak once a month will do.

Photo of a ‘Dana Point’ California buckwheat along with native plants sharing the space in a home landscape. (Kris Ethington)

It can be tempting to crowd new plants close together for an instant landscape, but this will cause problems in the future. Give your California native plants plenty of space to grow into their full size in a year or two. Use a light layer of mulch between the plants to keep weeds out and soil moisture in.

Brand new native plant installation with a swale to harvest water. Plants wisely spaced. (E. Wallace)

Buckwheats begin their super bloom in late spring. To maximize your garden’s flower time, consider pairing your buckwheat with early spring bloomers like mallows and

Buckwheat paired with a mallow (Abutilon Palmeri). (Kris Ethington)

sages such as white sage (Salvia apiana), ‘Bees Bliss’ sage and

Close-up of a Bee’s Bliss sage blossom and a hover fly. (Kris Ethington)

Bush sunflower (Encelia californica) and

Encelia californica paired with buckwheat in early spring. (E. Wallace)

Yucca (Hesperoyucca whipplei) or a Dudleya species for structure.

Hesperoyucca whipplei (yucca) just about to bloom. (Dan Songster)

One of the most important things to consider when adding native plants to your garden is their eventual size. Bees bliss sage grows low but it spreads eight feet wide! Dudleyas are small succulents that can be tucked into small spaces in your garden.

Flowering chalk dudleya in a home landscape. (E. Wallace)

If you have room for taller plants, consider adding a manzanitaCalifornia lilac, and a Western Redbud to the mix.

Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis) and California lilac (Ceanothus ‘concha’) in full bloom. (E. Wallace)

You can find many of these plants at Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano. Before you make the drive, check to see if the plants you are hoping to install are available. Local nurseries and Home Depot garden centers are beginning to stock a small selection of California native plants. The popularity of native plants is increasing as the public gains an understanding of their beauty and importance to wildlife.

Butterfly visits a mallow. (Kris Ethington)

With the COVID 19 virus on everyone’s mind, why not spend some time in the garden? The garden is a safe space, and you will see some amazing sights in your own backyard especially when native plants are providing nectar and food for the butterflies and birds.

American Kestral perched in a backyard garden. (Kris Ethington)

Upcoming A Buckwheat in Every Garden giveaway events have been impacted by protective measures for the COVID-19 health crisis. We are discussing safe ways we can distribute free buckwheat plants to people who want to install them in their garden. We will announce plans for future buckwheat giveaways soon.

California peony growing with buckwheat in the background. (E. Wallace)

Best wishes for your safety and good health.

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.