Native Gardens Done Right

Nestled between the fairytale land of Solvang and the warm, golden hillsides of Santa Ynez, the Chumash Casino and Tribal Hall grounds are a delightful surprise. Instead of perfectly trimmed, evergreen hedges and monotonous landscaping that is typically found in commercial developments,  the landscaped areas here, are heartwarming with their predominantly native plant palette.  It was only natural that the Chumash people celebrate the cultural attributes of the native flora.

Flanked by creeks on both sides, Heteromeles arbutofolia (Toyon) and Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp aspleniifolius (Catalina Ironwood) are the main caretakers for the steep slopes. Cercis canadensis (Western redbud) and multiple varieties of Arctostaphylos (Manzanita) provide textural accents and seasonal interest.

While the distant hillsides carry the golden tones of summer, the Casino and Tribal Hall grounds will surprise you with the beat of bursting perennial color and an intriguing variety of height and texture. Eriogonum, Zauschneria and countless Salvias are alive with luscious flowers and the company of hummingbirds. These landscaped grounds are a wonderful representation of native plants and beauty in the garden.

If you can’t make a personal visit, you can find out more about a Native American people’s dynamic relationship with the natural world, by reading “Chumash Ethnobotany: Plant Knowledge Among the Chumash People of Southern California” by Jan Timbrook.


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