Calscape – Restoring nature one garden at a time

The goal at Calscape is to help Californians restore nature in their neighborhoods and gardens, and to save water in the process. We can do this by providing in-depth
information about which plants are really native to any location in the state, helping to determine which ones to select, listing sources where the plants can be purchased, and then giving details about how to grow them.

The idea for Calscape comes from the notion that if our gardens were to transition from exotic to native landscapes, eventually they would become an extension of the
natural open spaces that surround them. This, in turn would create a continuous natural habitat right across the urban spaces, providing incredible benefits to all living
things. Of the more than 300,000 visits annually to the State CNPS website, roughly 200,000 are directed towards Calscape!

The estimates for which plants are native to any location in California are based on almost 2 million field occurrences of native California plant species collected over the last 150 years by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria. Seven variables are used to predict whether or not a given location should be included in a given plant species’ natural range:1. elevation; 2. annual precipitation; 3. summer precipitation; 4. coldest month average temperature; 5. hottest month average temperature; 6. Jepson geographic subdivision; and 7. distance from a known plant occurrence.

Calscape uses an interactive format where each user selects a series of options for the following plant characteristics:

  • Your location (an address)
  • Plant type preferences (from annual herbs to trees and vines)
  • Sun vs. shade
  • Soil drainage capacity (from slow to fast)
  • Water requirements (from low to high)
  • Ease of care (from easy to difficult)
  • Common uses (from ground covers to hedges to bird gardens)
  • Availability in nurseries (from easily available to difficult to find)
  • Fragrance preferences
  • Flower color preferences
  • Flowering season preferences
  • Height of the plants

Calscape also offers a series of gardening tips:

  • How are California native plants different?
  • How to choose and place the desired plants: soil conditions and topography, sun and shade conditions, etc
  • How to plant California natives
  • How to water California natives: watering new plants vs. watering established plants; drip irrigation vs. overhead sprinklers vs. hose watering,
  • How to weed and control pests in California native gardens

Please visit Calscape on line and learn what a fantastic tool it is. Tell your friends about Calscape. Show them how easy it is to select native plants for their specific needs.

-Bill Waycott