Deception

Don’t let these gently flowing fronds in this photo deceive you.

Pampas grass is invasive and chokes out the growth of beneficial California native plants. This out of control stand of grass invaded all the scorched earth from the big fire in Carlsbad almost two years ago. Visit the link for that post: https://enchantedseashells.com/2021/01/20/fire-in-carlsbad/

Interesting fact: Pampas grass is not illegal in the United States, though it is illegal in Australia and carries a $10,000 fine.

Pampas grass is a quickly growing grass that forms massive clumps along roadsides, steep cliffs, river banks, and open areas that have been disturbed by human activities or natural disturbances. Introduced to Santa Barbara, California in 1848 by nursery operators, pampas grass has spread all over the state, threatening native plants and the animals that rely on them.

An individual pampas grass stand can produce millions of seeds annually that travel several miles, and because these grasses are very tolerant of intense sunlight, drought, and frost, they are very efficient at establishing in many habitat types. Due to the fact that pampas grass can live over a decade, it has become a favorable plant for people to grow in their gardens.

Invasive plants such as pampas grass displace native plants and create habitats that are lower in biodiversity. Furthermore, pampas grass has leaf blades that are highly undesirable as food or shelter to birds and other wildlife, and can actually cause physical harm to those animals, including humans, because the leaves are extremely sharp. Therefore, it is important that we do our part by not planting pampas grass in our gardens, but instead plant native plants that are comparably beautiful and provide the same utility.

Native Alternative: Giant Wildrye (Elymus condensatus)

Giant wildrye is a grass that, like pampas grass, forms dense stands in a variety of different soils. It remains green year-round and is drought tolerant, but will also survive in regularly watered locations, meaning little maintenance is required to keep this grass looking great in your garden throughout the changing seasons. Giant wildrye has beautiful blue-gray or dark green leaves that are topped by clusters of yellow flowers during the summer and although this grass prefers full sunlight, it can also tolerate shady locations.

Unlike pampas grass, Giant wildrye is native to California and does not readily outcompete other native plants for resources such as space, light, and nutrients. It also spreads slowly compared to pampas grass, and therefore, it is much easier to contain within your garden fences. Furthermore, while pampas grass is not desirable to most animal species, Giant wildrye attracts various birds that enjoy their seeds.

Giant wildrye is a great native alternative to invasive pampas grass because it provides the same beauty and utility in your garden, but unlike pampas grass, it contributes to higher biodiversity and does not negatively impact the natural environment or those animal species that rely on it. Try out this native plant alternative in your garden today!

For more information on any of the topics above, please contact the Native Plant Program at nativeplants@wildlife.ca.gov.

From: https://wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Plants/Dont-Plant-Me/Pampas-Grass

Glad-iolus to See YOU!

This hot spell is a catalyst for all of my blooming bulbs. Here are the first two gladioli who decided to flower together in shades of pink.

All pink, ALWAYS.

Cup of Gold

Important info: Regarding Solandra maxima, Cup of Gold Vine–all parts of the plant are toxic and poisonous, so be aware of this before planting if you have pets or small children.

If that’s not an issue for you and you love vines with gigantic flowers — about six inches in diameter — take a look at this!

The flowers deepen in color as they age which make this plant even more appealing and that’s when they become fragrant.  

About a year ago, a gardener friend gave me a few rooted stalks of Cup of Gold and they seem to really love it here. One of them is already about 40 feet and growing every day. The others are doing well too, but not as great as this one.

I’ve rooted more and now I have them growing everywhere; in a few years it’s going to look like a jungle around Casa de Enchanted Seashells.

Fragrant Freesias

These are the first fragrant freesias of spring. (I like alliteration.)

#WordlessWednesday

Happiness is a Blooming Hedgehog Aloe and Stunning Ceanothus

The temps dropped nearly forty degrees and we were lucky enough to get some unexpected rain.

In the morning I was greeted by this flowering orange Hedgehog Aloe against a background of a very healthy ceanothus covered in lilac blooms.

Blossoms of July

These (not mine) bluey-blue hydrangeas are amazingly beautiful.

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So is this dogwood (also not mine).

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But my own very rosy red hydrangea gift is special and belongs to me!

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That’s it. Nothing more to say, but enjoy the 4th!