Why Native Plants?
By creating a habitat garden you can support the local wild food web. Start with insects, and the animals that eat them will come. California’s wild creatures are adapted to coexist with and depend on native plants.
Notice how strip malls make suburbs all over the U.S. look the same? Gardens with the same old plants make one area look just like anywhere else. Instead, let your garden celebrate the special region where you live.
Indigenous plants need minimal maintenance and can be grown without insecticides and herbicides.
Natives attract insects that pollinate food plants and control pest bugs, making them ideal for permaculture landscapes.
Native plants have beautiful forms and textures, and their beauty is enhanced by the butterflies and birds they attract.
A multi-dimensional garden that includes native plants will give you more to share with your neighbors, both human and otherwise.
Native Plantings at Jug Handle
Surrounded by the natural and breathtaking beauty of the Mendocino coast, visitors coming to Jug Handle Farm and Nature Center will discover not only a diversity of gardens, but also a focus on the use of local native plants.
Native plants are used exclusively in many of our plantings to provide a local ambience and connect with nearby wild ecosystems. These plantings are found along the entrance to the center, around the guest cabins, at the top of the hill, in shaded areas of the Farmhouse backyard, the garden at Native Plant Nursery and its perimeter, and along pathways and trails.
Coastal native plants are adapted to local soils and climate conditions and require minimal watering and virtually no soil amendments. Natives are often more resistant to insects and disease as well.
Native plants provide matchless habitat value because native flora and fauna have co-evolved for centuries. Wild animals utilize native plant communities for food, cover and rearing young. Weaving native plants into the garden helps preserve the balance and beauty of natural ecosystems.
Look for signs in the plantings to tell you more about our native plants. You can also browse through books on native plants in the Farmhouse library.
Visitors can view these gardens at the following locations.
- Landscaping west of the Farmhouse at the entrance. At the entrance and hillside leading to the Victorian farmhouse an attractive and colorful selection of hardy native shrubs and trees have been planted. These include silk tassel bush, ceanothus (California lilac), pink flowering currant, wax myrtle, twin-berry and shore pine. Near the top of hill visitors are welcomed by the sky blue blossoms of seaside daisy, yellow sticky gum plant, and vibrant orange monkey flower bushes. These shrubs and perennials welcome visitors and attract wildlife to Jug Handle Farm and Nature Center.
- The Grand Fir cabin is planted with western columbine, salmonberry and red huckleberry.
- The Eucalyptus cabin has an established native plant garden of sword fern, western columbine, Aralia, wild ginger and wild strawberries. More native plants will be added this year.
- On the left at the entrance to the Farm house you’ll find a showy planting of local native plants such as wild strawberry, Seaside Daisy, Heterotheca, Douglas Iris and Grindelia (gum plant).
- In the backyard of the Farm house, just off the boardwalk and fence in a shady area, are well established plantings of wild ginger, western columbines, Aralia ( Elk Clover) and fairy bells.
- Lower greenhouse and shade house perimeter: New plantings of red elderberry, wax myrtle, willow, sword fern, cascara, and delicate, vibrant green lady ferns border the newly created pathway in this area.
- Flanking the south side of the native plant greenhouse is a local native plant display featuring colorful Fremontia, Mendocino Coast Indian paintbrush, seaside daisies, Heterotheca and coast lily.
- Alder cabin: The cabin is situated in a semi shady location. A few of the plants found surrounding the cabin are vanilla grass, red columbine, red huckleberry and delicate white fairy bells.
Our goal is to plant locally grown natives at Jug Handle to showcase the beauty of native plants in gardens, around structures, trails and throughout landscapes areas on the property.