SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is the first to focus exclusively on California native plants, and now they’re inspiring landscapers to do the same.
The California native plant landscaper certification is a four week course that teaches working and aspiring landscape professionals to manage native plants and California-friendly landscapes.
It includes instruction on plant identification, soils, weeding and integrated pest management, and garden assessment.
“What we're looking to achieve with native plants when we plant them is helping them develop a deep, robust root system, and we achieve that through deep and infrequent watering. So after a year, folks who plant native plants will start to see the cost in their water bills and start to see those water saving benefits that native plants provide," said Horticultural Educator Alejandro Lemus.
The online classes will culminate in an in-person workshop at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, where the professionals will get to learn about irrigation and pruning. They’ll also get to check out the nursery that houses dozens of native plants.
“We really think this is going to help a lot of the small business owners that are landscapers and working in the horticulture industry because there is a demand for native plant horticulture. And so this is going to help them be able to respond to that demand,” said Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Executive Director Steve Windhager.
And though part of that demand stems from a desire to save money, a huge part of it has to do with wanting a “Wildlife Wonderland.”
“Native plants are fantastic not only at saving money in terms of irrigation and actually reducing overall maintenance costs. But the other thing about native plants is that they provide for the biodiverse city that is so important for all of us. People want to see birds and bugs and bees in their backyards. Well, the truth is, native plants are what help bring those in,” said Windhager.
The course starts on February 5 and ends on 29.
For information on registration you can visit sbbotanicgarden.org.