My California Native Plants Story: Mike Gonzales

I became a member of CNPS-San Diego Chapter over 28 years ago, for one reason alone – to drive my Nissan pickup truck to the Annual Fall Sale at Balboa Park and load it up with as many native plants as I could stuff into the bed, and then spend the next few weekends plugging up dead patches of ice plant which was the ONLY vegetation on the slopes in the front and rear yards of our first home purchased in 1992 (see attached photo). Having been a CNPS member for only 1-2 years before my wife and I bought our home, I gained a swift appreciation for the many benefits of “native-scapes” and was eager to pull out all this dreaded stuff. “Hold your horses”, my wife said, explaining she didn’t want our yards becoming eyesores of bare dirt turning into unsightly mud pits come rainy season, also resulting in erosion and chocolate stormwater runoff. So, the plan became–fill in small patches of ice plant as it dies off–which I did for years until the final patch. Subsequently different approaches emerged with respect to my journey of “native plant conversion,” eventually morphing into a combination of experimentation and learning how to water my plants through accrued patience borne from laziness.