The key to successful, sustainable cultivation, suggests landscape architect Anooshey Rahim, is rooted in your local climate, not an imagined ideal.
IF CALIFORNIA’S dry gardens teach us a lesson, it’s to make choices that hinge on solar exposure and water availability. “Plants that are native to your area are adapted to the natural cycle of rainfall throughout the year,” she says. Here, more on finding the right picks for your region.
➊ IDENTIFY YOUR GARDEN’S
MICROCLIMATES. “This takes a bit of patience and close observation of sun patterns through an entire year,” Rahim says. “In some seasons, for example, a certain patch may be in full sun, but during wintertime and when the sun is at a lower angle, it may get mostly shade. So this would require a species that can do well in full sun and part shade.”
➋ GET TO KNOW THE LOCALS.
“When in doubt, a gardener should always turn to native plants,” Rahim says and suggests finding a local nursery with a kindred focus. Be prepared to talk about the specific conditions you’ve observed, and ask for natives that will thrive.
➌ OBSERVE AND EXPERIMENT.
“Like all good initiatives, gardening and planting design is a honed skill,” Rahim says. “Just start observing, testing, and reading up. These are the exact steps a professional would use in their own garden.”