The California drought is getting so bad that some people are losing their homes to the devastating effects, and some farmers are unable to plant their crops. To make matters worse, the state has been hit with an unprecedented amount of rain in the past few months, which has made the drought even more devastating.

In February, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its Pacific Drought Outlook for 2017-2022, concluding that California will remain in a persistent drought for the next five years. A drought of this scope is unprecedented in the state’s history, and it’s going to have a major impact on the landscape.

Native plants are a miraculous resource when it comes to helping us cope with drought. Native plants do not require the kind of intense watering that non-native plants do. Native plants evolved with the climate and landscape of their specific region. Native plants are more drought tolerant, require less water, and even produce more of their own water. Native plants are the best choice for California gardeners seeking to grow water-wise plants. In the coming years, California will have to deal with more and more droughts. As of 2011, the current drought is the most severe on record. The drought of 1972 was the second most severe, and was followed by the dust bowl of the 1930s and the drought of the late 1960s.

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Nurseries made record sales during the coronavirus pandemic as many people looked to pick up gardening as a new hobby. word-image-8054 The Theodore Payne Foundation nursery in Sun Valley in Los Angeles. May 2021. (CBSLA) However, most plants people grow come from outside of California and can be harmful to nature, especially monarch butterflies. Many people don’t realize that California native plants can bring their yards to life, with butterflies, hummingbirds and more. READ MORE: Man Killed, Second Wounded In Shooting Outside 7-Eleven In South LA The Theodore Payne Foundation in Sun Valley is leading the movement to transform the state’s landscape by promoting drought-friendly plants that will still thrive in people’s yards. It’s a unique nursery in that all its plants are native to California. “It’s (California) not a desert landscape,” Evan Meyer with the Theodore Payne Foundation told CBS2 News This Morning’s Suzanne Marques. “A lot of people think that. But it’s a Mediterranean landscape. So it’s much more of a shrubland, with flowers, and really lush with a lot of vegetation.” California native plants are drought tolerant, requiring little water. The added magic is what Marques calls the Snow White effect: they’ll attract hummingbirds, honeybees and butterflies. “The plants of California have evolved with the animals of California, so when you bring those plants into your garden, you’re creating habitat for the native animals, not only the native plants, but the native animals as well,” Meyer tells Marques. WEB EXTRA: Watch a tour through Theodore Payne’s nursery with one of the foundation’s experts. READ MORE: Man Wounded In Mysterious Roadside Shooting Near Palmdale Theodore Payne is located just outside of a heavily industrial area of Sun Valley. The 22-acre oasis is located in a canyon with gardens, picnic benches, hiking trails, seed stores, bookstores and nursery. “People love the hummingbird sage, which is a beautiful aromatic plant that grows in shade, which is great to have,” Meyer said. “And then milkweed, that’s the biggest one right now, is milkweed, because it supports the Monarch butterflies.” Monarchs lay their eggs on California milkweed, and once they become caterpillars, they eat the leaves. However, tropical milkweed is an example of a non-native plant that is bad for butterflies. It confuses monarchs into breeding when they should be migrating. It’s such a serious issue, Northern California just set aside $1 million to plant California milkweed for our monarch population. “I think the most exciting thing for kids might be the Monarch butterfly, to see the caterpillars, see them form the chrysalis, and then, that opens up and you have a butterfly flying around all of a sudden,” Meyer said. “So for children, this idea of connecting with nature in your own personal space is really an amazing thing.” It doesn’t have to be done in a yard. If you have just a small patio space, such as a balcony, you can grow California native plants in pots and get all those same benefits. If you don’t have that, there are tons of community gardens where you can get involved in this idea. MORE NEWS: Suspect Arrested In Sexual Assault Of Elderly, Disabled Woman In Fontana Get information on Theodore Payne’s classes and events on their website here.

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