3 design tricks to keep your (native) garden party all year long
September 15, 2017. By Cassy Aoyagi: When compared to the older set (Um. Miss Rose?) Some of LA’s native starlets seem to be up and on at all hours. Others, not unlike their predecessors, need their beauty sleep. They just have a different schedule.
Native Sleeping Beauties tap out just the party really heats up in August and September. I know what you are thinking, and, no, it’s not rude to say it. We understand, you have a reputation to protect, and you don’t want it to ride on flaky flibbertigibbets.
We would never put you in that position. You see, your party may feel like improv, but we have a script. We know when the Sleeping Beauties will need their rest, and we’ve thought through how to help them get it. We’ve also ensured, by design, that your plot is thicker than first meets the eye.
Here are a few tricks we use to keep audiences enthralled.
Just when you thought you knew Salvia Cleveladii and the Buckwheat sisters, we give them a chance to bring something new to the table. These are our girls – we don’t want them type-cast! One of our favorite tricks is to actually write in a moment when they aren’t in full bloom.
You may miss their party girl side for a moment, but these are the scenes in which they will earn your respect. You’ll notice that when Miss Clevelandii isn’t center stage, her scent lingers and even the birds and bees seem to respond. Miss Sulphur drops her pom-poms on stage? Watch that timing. See how she shows just enough silver foliage to make her partner’s greenery or your hardscape pop?
As the star power of your spring and summer favorites dim, you’ll begin to appreciate other members of your all-star ensemble. There are a few we think you should keep an eye on.
Indian Mallow is well known, performs consistently in a wide variety of roles, and has a lovely bloom of her own. Sadly, her consistent competence and flexibility can hurt her, as she is often overlooked within her clique (above). All the same, it’s when others are down for the count (below), her beauty and extraordinary skill can most certainly carry a show or two.
Coyote Mint is overlooked for another reason. When Sulphur Buckwheat is around, Coyote Mint’s similar but comparatively muted purple blooms play a supporting role. By allowing Sulphur and Lilac Verbena fade, we empower Coyote Mint to capture eyes and hearts.
Act Two Banishment
Some stars bring in the gold but they also want it, if you know what we mean. Deer grass, for example, really leaves us no choice but to cut it to the ground every once in awhile.
We could let him bask in all his golden glory for awhile, but banishing him periodically helps the show stay in the green. You know he’ll be back – everyone loves him. And isn’t it kind of fun to watch and wait for just when and how he’ll return?
In 2021, Theodore Payne Foundation revisited its annual garden tour sites each season, showcasing LA’s authentic fall color to complement that of spring.