More Fab Front-Yard Natives

Let’s explore a few more “front-yard” California natives that are HOA-approved, evergreen, and are pleasing to the eye no matter what the season.

The California lilac (Ceanothus sp.) is a must-have native plant for every front landscape. This gorgeous shrub blooms in the spring with soft, fragrant flowers. When not in bloom, the shrub has deep, evergreen leaves. No front garden is complete without at least one Ceanothus species.

Maritime ceanothus in the front garden. (Photo by K. Ethington)

Carex pansa is a native sedge that can be grown as a grass replacement. This plant may spread aggressively–it’s easier to maintain if planted in an area that is contained. Carex pansa can be mowed or trimmed, but is most beautiful in its soft, mounded natural habit.

Carex pansa growing in front of a retaining wall and steps. (E. Wallace)

Dudleyas are structural accent plants for the garden. And, if you are looking for an easy native to grow in a pot, Dudleya is a great choice because it only needs winter rain to thrive. These California succulents are in such high demand that they are (sadly) being poached from wilderness areas and sold illegally. Make sure to buy your Dudleya species from a reputable nursery.

Chalk Dudleya (Dudleya pulverlenta). (E. Wallace)

Deer grass (Muhlenbergia rigens) is a dramatic and striking filler plant for the front garden. Deer grass can grow six feet wide and three feet tall. Give it space to grow and show off its flowering stems. Deer grass pairs well with leafy native plants like Baccharis ‘Pigeon Point.’

Deer grass softens a nearby boulder. (E. Wallace)

Lastly, the iconic California buckwheat is a prolific summer bloomer loved by pollinators. My favorite buckwheat species for the front garden is Ashy-leaf buckwheat (Eriogonum cinereum). Ashy-leaf buckwheat has silvery, light green leaves and masses of soft pink flowers that bloom during the hottest days of summer.

Ashy-leaf buckwheat planted with Wooly-bluecurls (Trichostema lanatum). (E. Wallace)

Many people ask where they can buy California native plants in Orange County. For the biggest selection of native plants in California, visit Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano.

Also, Green Thumb Nursery in Lake Forest carries a broad range of California native plants accompanied by descriptive signage. Green Thumb Nursery is located near the 5-freeway and El Toro Road.

California native plants including Chalk Dudleya for sale at Green Thumb Nursery in Lake Forest, California. (E. Wallace)

Just this week, two people have come by my front garden and exclaimed, “I love your yard!” Native plants support nature and people too with their pleasing appearance. Give native plants a try and discover how lovely they can be.

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