Read the synopsis, then watch the recording of the “Native Plants Demystified” Speaker Series event from October 14, 2021

Published by Steve Clark on

Native-plant experts Laura Pasetta, Jenn Rodriguez,  Antonio Sanchez and COSCA Administrator Brian Stark spoke from their extensive knowledge and experience of developing a garden of native Southern California plants. The video recording and a photo gallery can be found below this brief synopsis of their presentations.

Laura Pasetta (Clinical herbalist, California naturalist, organic gardener, and nature photographer)

Laura offered a treetops overview of all things native plant, focusing on how to transform a suburban concrete/lawn landscape into a native landscape, one small patch at a time. As we toured her before/after gardens, she offered tips on how to understand and group plants into water needs, how to choose plants for your gardens, how they impact pollinators, and how they serve her needs as an herbalist as well as creating a beautiful tableaux. Laura offers ongoing classes on native plants, herbals, hikes, and botanicals. Laura’s presentation starts at 7:09 minutes into the video below.

Jenn Rodriguez (Horticulture scientist, manages the Camarillo nursery Growing Works)

Jenn took us on a tour of Growing Works Nursery in Camarillo, and shared some of the best plants for suburban gardens that support pollinators, animals, and people. She shared some beautiful artwork illustrating the local native plants, as well as discussing the mental & physical health benefits of creating our own native gardens. Growing Works is open a few times a month for retail customers. Check out their website—it’s a goldmine! Jenn’s presentation starts at 25:00 minutes in to the video below.

Antonio Sanchez (Nursery manager and restoration volunteer coordinator for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area)

Antonio took us on a whirlwind tour of the native plants that exist in the Conejo, as well as how to best determine which plants are best suited for planting in our suburban gardens. He offered lively and fun and sage tips on soils, water needs, and his favorite local native plants. When Antonio becomes Governor, he will make the toyon California’s official plant! Antonio offers weekly classes on native plants; sign up at Antoniio’s presentation starts at 50:03 minutes into the video below.

Brian Stark (Administrator for the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency)

COSCA’S own Brian Stark shared his own journey with native plants, and offered advice and wisdom about how we should interact with our open space lands and how we cannot take plants from the wild, and how much it changes the environment to do so. The Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency preserves, protects, and manages open space resources in the Conejo Valley. Brian’s presentation starts at 1:09 hours into the video below.

Image gallery of the presentations


Video recording of the presentations

Contact information

Laura Pasetta:

Jenn Rodriguez:

Antonio Sanchez:

Brian Stark:

Additional Resources

Suggestions for Holiday Gifts


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