Photo by pete veilleux on Flickr.
This beautiful garden is so not mine. I love native plants and do try to use California natives in the yard, though, agave and succulent love notwithstanding. I have a little native oak; ceanothus; yucca and opuntias native to the foothills where I live; salvias, sage, a toyon... (Doesn't hurt that the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is just 45 minutes away.) This article does an excellent job of describing just how important natives are:
Landscape ecologists estimate that only 3 to 5 percent of the lower 48 states is undisturbed habitat for plants and animals. Farmland now covers more than half of the country. Most of the rest is taken up by suburban sprawl and about 40 million acres of lawns (“eight New Jerseys,” as Mr. Tallamy put it), along with highways, malls and growing cities. A world with half those lawns, he said, might have 20 million acres of habitat, or more than 13 national parks, including Yellowstone, Yosemite and the Adirondacks, if you added up the acreage.
Instead, thanks to vanishing habitats, Mr. Tallamy said, “We have 50 percent fewer birds than 40 years ago,” referring to results of yearly bird-banding studies that track those numbers. And some 230 species of North American birds are at risk of extinction, he added, citing the 2014 State of the Birds Report.
“But we can do something about this,” he said. “We can bring nature back to our yards.”
Amen, brother. And it's an easy call when native plants are this beautiful.