100-plus gather for annual native plant tour

OCEANSIDE — More than 140 gathered at St. Mary’s School for a guided 1.5-mile native plant tour organized by the Buena Vista Nature Center.
The crowd divided into five smaller groups, which were each led by a native plant landscape architect.
On the walk plant names, native garden benefits and maintenance tips were shared.
St. Mary’s School itself boasts a student-planted native plant garden. “It’s part of their science curriculum,” Joan Bockman, Buena Vista Audubon Nature Center board member and Native Plant Club chair, said.
Upper-grade students study the food chain and primary students learn about leaves, stems and roots in the native plant garden.
“Natives aren’t just cactus,” Bockman said. “They’re leafy green beautiful plants.”
At the start of the walk a guide map, native plant list and nursery and landscape architect information were available. There was also a lemonade stand selling native berry lemonade.
The 1.5-mile native plant tour meanders through the historic South Oceanside neighborhood.
Plant discussion focused on the harmonious nature of native gardens. “It’s an entire habitat from the soil up to the birds and butterflies,” Bockman said. “It’s not just about particular blooms you like.”
Most of the gardens viewed only require monthly watering.
Many folks were on the walk to gain information to start their own native plant gardens.
“We’re changing our whole yard,” Shannon Bryant, of Oceanside, said. “Anybody can grow grass. We want to encourage birds and butterflies.”

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