Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Native Plant Sale: the best local plants are natives

Land of Four Seasons

Jon Hammond.

California Wild Lilac (ceanothus) is a beautiful spring-flowering shrub that is available.

As many of us can attest, the Tehachapi Mountains can be a difficult place to get plants to thrive. It can be very cold in winter and spring, then warm up, and then get cold again. The summers can be long and hot. So what are often the best plants to grow here? California natives.

Plants that are native to California are better adapted to our Mediterranean climate of cold, wet (hopefully) winters and dry summers with abundant sunshine. Gardeners tend to have better luck with native plants, and these often benefit native butterflies, hummingbirds, and assorted pollinators. Many of the plants carried in chain stores or purchased out of town and brought to Tehachapi don't thrive here.

To encourage area residents to plant hardy California native plants, the Tehachapi Resource Conservation District sponsors an annual Native Plant Sale, held in conjunction with Earth Day in April. This year's sale is at the TRCD office at 321 W. C St. on Saturday, April 20 from 10 a.m to 1 p.m.

There will be a variety of California perennials, shrubs and grasses available for purchase.

Jon Hammond.

Plant buyers at a TRCD Native Plant Sale.

The TRCD has held a plant sale for many years, but it was interrupted because of the Covid pandemic and it was brought back last year for the first time in several years.

Customers preorder the plants they want, and then pick them up at the TRCD office on the day of the sale. There will be some plants available for same-day sale, but supplies of these are always limited and tend to sell out quickly. If you want to get some native plants for your garden, yard or patio, it is best to preorder them.

There will also be some assorted information tables on the day of the sale, as well as Maria's Kitchen food truck.

The easiest way to browse and purchase from the Native Plant Sale selection is to visit TehachapiRCD.org and follow the instructions. There are descriptions and prices for each of the different species available.

Alternatively, you can fill out a digital order form and send it by email to [email protected] and mail in a check, or you can print out an order form and mail it with a check. If you have any questions or need help, please call the TRCD office and speak to Jillian Wood at (661) 825-5400.

Jon Hammond.

Ed Sampson developed this lovely plant, Coyote Mint "Marian Sampson," at his botanical garden on Old Town Road.

I am a TRCD board member, and we are excited about upcoming the Native Plant Sale back to Tehachapi. Proceeds from the sale of the plants go to the TRCD, which is a local, non-regulatory special district.

Resource Conservation Districts were organized after the Dust Bowl of the 1930s to help farmers, ranchers and property owners access federal and state funding and expertise to help conserve soil, water and wildlife habitat.

The Tehachapi Resource Conservation District was founded in 1947, and in the ensuing 75 years has been involved in many important projects, including the establishment of the Tehachapi-Cummings County Water District, and the Antelope Canyon and Blackburn Canyon flood control projects on Highline Road.

Many local windbreak tree lines, soil erosion reduction efforts, flood control mitigation and other resource protection projects have been completed through the TRCD. Our purpose is to help conserve and enhance the natural resources of the Tehachapi Mountains. We do this in different ways, including through technical assistance and grants in conjunction with the federal Natural Resource Conservation Service.

Jon Hammond.

California Buckwheat is a wonderful native that is also available.

If you want to try growing some California native plants that can be difficult to find in nurseries, check out the TRCD plant sale at the TRCD.org website. Hurry though! The ordering deadline is April 10, so it's time-sensitive. The TRCD thanks you for your support, and your interest in growing native plants.

Keep enjoying the beauty of life in the Tehachapi Mountains.

Jon Hammond is a fourth generation Kern County resident who has photographed and written about the Tehachapi Mountains for 38 years. He lives on a farm his family started in 1921, and is a speaker of Nuwä, the Tehachapi Indian language. He can be reached at [email protected].

Jon Hammond.

Scarlett Bugler is a type of penstemon that is native to the Tehachapi Mountains, and hummingbirds love it. It is one of the plants offered at the TRCD Native Plant Sale.