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Native gardens may help save California

June 30, 2009 6:33:10 AM PDT
Your garden doesn't need grass to be gorgeous. With strict water restrictions popping up around Southern California, native plants are the way to go.Native plants don't need much attention, and they'll actually save you money.

Birds seem to love a drought-tolerant garden filled with plants and trees that are native to California.

Natural gardener Debbie Taylor put the garden in about six years ago, and now her Sherman Oaks front yard is overflowing with native sages, wild flowers and trees, plants that you can find in the hills and canyons across the region.

"You don't even have to have cactus. You can have an English cottage garden with native species 'cause there's over 6,000," Taylor said.

With the state's water shortage getting worse by the day, her neighbors have started to notice.

"If you go by my house, birds are flying, butterflies are flying, hummingbirds are there, and I think they see that and they want that," Taylor said.

The biggest key to cutting that bill was taking out the grass. Lawns are big water hogs.

"A lot of people taking out their lawns, especially with the new restrictions. Something good to consider is a lot of different native grasses that are lawn-alternative grasses and can be mowed," said Louise Gonzalez, nursery manager at the Theodore Payne Foundation.

Theodore Payne Foundation is an organization dedicated to encouraging native gardens. It's a growing trend that not only saves water, it may also save a big part of California's heritage.

"I think we're going to see California again. California is beautiful, and it's called golden because the hills turn gold," Taylor said.

It may be a golden future that could also help solve the state's water wasting ways.

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