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"Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, waterbugs, tadpoles, frogs & turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, hickory nuts, trees to climb, animals to pet, hayfields, pine cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets – and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of his education." -Luther Burbank 1849 - 1926
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California Heritage Gardens - Secrets to Success

California is almost an ecosystem unto itself. With its long coastal diversity of natural systems, it is sometimes hard to realize that we live among beaches, mountains, deserts, wetlands, plains, and magnificant forests. But in our urban yards, it is easily forgotten as we trot off to the retail stores that ship products in from hundreds or thousands of miles away. It takes some effort to realize the beauty of what is native to this highly diverse state.

Several utility companies have joined forces to help make California a bit friendlier to its native species. They have started a website called to help educate us on how to conserve our very precious, and growing short supply of fresh water. Conservation is not reserved for the educated natural scientist any longer -- it is a necessity for all of us who have lawns, yards, gardens, and who enjoy wild lands that depend on their natural water supplies. When we use too much water in the middle of Los Angeles, that water is stolen from trees in the magnificent forests upstream.

But learning about another way of living is as rewarding as the experience of becoming a first time parent. Things change. You no longer can afford luxurious trips to exotic places. But you begin to realize that the little one at your feet is about as exotic as life gets! It's the same way with discovering the beauty of nature that lies at our feet. The wonder is quiet. The beauty is subtle. The smile is just as wondrous!

Check out the information about California's Heritage Gardens, a slice of California's past, filled with the native and California Friendly plants perfectly suited to our mild winters and warm, dry summers.

Discover the romance and beauty of the Heritage Garden and learn how to transform your outdoor spaces into a slice of California past by browsing through the creations of some of our region's most noted garden designers, landscape architects and garden hobbyists. Use this Web site to explore more than 100 gardens and 1,000 beautiful and less-than-thirsty plants to find the right look for your garden, balcony or patio. Together, we can reclaim Southern California's natural landscape heritage, yard by yard.


Native flowers and heritage flowers tend to have more aroma than highly cultivated versions. Heritage plants also have an intangible benefit -- they foster family memories that give us grounding and psychological well being.


What were your grandparents' favorite plants? Are they available in your area? Are they water-conscious? You might find that the heritage plants were more sturdier than today's cultivars because irrigation wasn't all the rage a hundred years ago. Creating a scrapbook of your family's "natural heritage" could be a great summer project for grans (grandparents and grandkids).


Collecting can overtake wisdom. Sometimes making smart choices take courage. It's an exercise in character!


What WILL you do today to move toward your goal? Even one small action today makes a difference. And you can add a little tomorrow and the next day... Together we will restore our environment in our community and around the world.

For more articles about ENJOYING NATURE

Botanical Garden Links
California Poppy Reserve
The Botanical Garden and Montreal Insectarium
America's Ecosystems
California Poppy Reserve
California Agritourism