Monday, April 14, 2008

The Genius of Nature

“Nature is full of genius, full of divinity;
so that not a snow flake escapes it’s fashioned hand.”
~ Henry David Thoreau

Two major events, dear to my heart, occurred this weekend on opposite coasts. The Sniffapalooza Spring Fling in NYC and the Native Plant Garden Tour here in Los Angeles. Alas, I was not able to attend this years Fragrance Event in NYC instead, I was immersed in the aromatics and beauty of California natives such as: Ceanothus, Artemisia, Salvias and the California Rose (pictured above). As a native plant advocate and a member of the Theodore Payne Foundation I decided to volunteer as a docent for this years garden tour. On Saturday we toured approximately five gardens with my mom while Sunday Greg and I were docents for a location in Encino consisting primarily of wildflowers (pictured at left) in a Walnut Tree woodland.
The native gardens on the tour are so inspirational, it really makes you wonder why more folk haven't caught on by now, especially with our water challenges. Perhaps this years
garden will spur on more consciousness in this realm.

Here are just a few of the benefits of California Native Gardens:
  • Only 7% of insects can eat non native plants. Without insects to convert plant material to protein, most higher land animal forms will go extinct. Insects are an important protein source to our lovely songbirds. Native plants maintain bio-diversity.
  • Native plants require very little water, once established. In fact some of the gardens on the tour are only watered six times throughout the entire year! Compare that to those thirsty lawns that have become emblematic with Los Angeles suburbs.
  • Native plants require no soil amendments, no fertilizers or pesticides. What a paradigm shift huh! Just put them into the existing earth.
The trick is to select the right plant for your area and not to over water!

The California iris is called Iris douglasiana. Pictured above are a spattering of the different Iris hybrids offering a variety of color and shape.

The most interesting fact I learned this weekend was that the town of Encino, in Los Angeles, was named after a non-native oak tree! The Holm oak, Quercus ilex, is native to Spain, and resembles our native coastal live oak in that it is not deciduous like most European oaks. In Los Angeles and the surrounding areas we have many towns, cities and communities named after Oaks: Encino, Sherman Oaks, Woodland Hills, Thousand Oaks and Los Robles to name a few.

Within our line of botanical perfumes we have four fragrances based on the California landscape, some of which utilize tinctures of native plants. The California line consists of "Q", Chaparral, Vera and Sierra. We intend to release a new perfume, which has been in the works for about five years, within the next month. Can you guess what it will be? To read more about our Californica botanical perfume series click here.

Pictured at right is the California Poppy.

Theodore Payne Foundation
Roxana Illuminated Perfume™

The photos were taken at this weekends native tour ©Roxana Villa.

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