June 2011

Shawna Burreson has written a great article about the “Easy California Natives” class that I taught last week for the Theodore Payne Foundation out at Mountains Restoration Trust in Calabasas.

“In her lecture ‘Easy Native Plants,’ Orchid Black discusses the vital relationship among birds, bugs and blooms and how to fight fire with flora… …“I work for the birds and bees, but the people pay me,” Black said, evoking laughter from a group of dozen gardening enthusiasts. “Our goal is not just to have pretty flowers, it’s to have habitats that work.”  Read Article

Shawna captured the essence of both the class and the work the Trust is doing.

“In addition to a native plant sale, the trust is hosting a variety of events this summer aimed at providing awareness of restorative efforts, including nature camps for children, docent-led trail hikes, naturalist programs and an open house.”

It’s a fun piece, and while there are a few errors of fact which will be corrected, the enjoyment of the participants shines through.


I’ll be teaching ‘Greener Gardens: Sustainable Garden Practice’ again at UCLA Extension starting Thursday, June 23  with co-instructor David King. People who take this class will get the benefit of the breadth of experience that each of us brings to sustainability in the garden. This class fulfills an elective for the certificate programs in both Horticulture and Global Sustainability.

We’ll be covering sustainable design, soils,  swales and earthworks,  appropriate use of greywater and rainwater harvesting, along with the basics of native and drought-tolerant planting. All aspects of sustainable backyard food will be addressed.

Following is a quote from the UCLA Extension website:

“Sustainability is today’s buzzword and many people seek to create a lifestyle with a more favorable impact on the environment. From home and school gardens, to commercial sites, our gardens present the perfect place to start. Designed for horticulture students, gardening professionals, educators, and home gardeners, this course focuses on turning your green thumb into a “greener” garden. Topics include composting, irrigation, water harvesting, water wise plants, eating and growing local produce, recycling, and moving away from a consumptive, non-sustainable lifestyle when choosing materials and tools. … “

I’m pleased to teaching this class again with David.  He will be a panelist for the upcoming Dwell on Design event and is regularly quoted by the Los Angeles Times and other outlets. His expertise includes sustainable food gardens. He teaches for both Extension and for the Master Gardeners, as well as frequently lecturing and writing about gardening. He blogs at The Beautiful Food Garden.

Here’s a link to UCLA Extension page for the class, which is still open: