Chapter General Meeting - All are Welcome!

At the Duck Club in Irvine, Doors Open 6:45 pm, Speaker at 7:30 pm

The Native Plant Gardens of Caspers
Speaker:  Laura Camp
March 15, 2012
Caspers Wilderness Park is a part of the OC Parks system, located in Southern Orange County adjacent to the Cleveland National Forest and Starr Ranch Audubon Sanctuary.  Come explore Caspers Park with Laura Camp: the vistas, the plants, the plant combinations, the wildlife, and the trails.

What can we learn about native plant gardening by exploring a wilderness park such as Caspers? Caspers is the quintessential Orange County habitat and a model for restorationists, landscapers, planners and home gardeners of how beautiful a native area can appear, and how garden-like natural California can be. Indeed, if more people understood and appreciated our native plants, there just wouldn’t be room in our gardens and landscapes for exotic plant materials.

Caspers’ plants grow in such gorgeous combinations, and flower and fruit so beautifully, that they show us what our gardens and slopes can look like if we embrace our local native plants. Some examples Laura will share in photos: Everything looks better with a rock; Artemisia californica is the perfect sage green color to offset everything; Accent plants should be accents and not the whole landscape; If you build it butterflies will come; California natives can make lush borders; etc.

Caspers boasts stunning views of the iconic Saddleback Peaks of the Santa Ana Mountains, and spectacular natural white and red cliffs. In all seasons, the park exemplifies the native plant treasures of our county, with riparian, oak woodland, grassland, coastal sage scrub and chaparral plant communities. Rare plants, including Dudleya multicaulis and Calochortus weedii var. intermedius, are protected in the park near easily accessible trails.

Laura Camp is a board member of the Orange County Chapter of CNPS since 2006, was president in 2008-10, and is a member of the state CNPS Board of Directors since 2010.  Laura considers herself a “naturalist” and is constantly studying some aspect of nature – birds, plants, wildlife and ecology.  She enjoys hiking and taking photographs of natural scenery. Laura works at Tree of Life Nursery, so between work, volunteerism and hobbies, her life is pretty much all native plants all of the time.