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Mary DeDecker Native Plant Garden

Bill and Jerry getting plants in the ground at the garden

In 2001, The Mary DeDecker Native Plant Garden became a new addition to the Eastern California Museum in Independence. The native plant garden is in the nature trail area to the north of the museum. Designed and installed through volunteer efforts of the Bristlecone Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), the objective of this garden is to provide an aesthetically pleasing and educational showcase of the rich flora of eastern California. Equally important, the native plant garden will serve as a lasting tribute to the Owens Valley’s own distinguished botanist, Mary DeDecker.

During September 2001, about 150 young plants were planted. Plants were grown from locally collected seeds and were propagated by chapter members at the Deepest Valley Native Plant Propagation Center located at the White Mountain Research Station in Bishop. Forty three species representing 18 plant families occur in the eight planting beds. The planting beds are situated among some full grown native species, including big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) and fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens). Many fine examples of native riparian species can also be found along the site’s two water courses, including desert olive (Forestiera pubescens), water birch (Betula occidentalis), and western hackberry (Celtis reticulata).

In its design, the garden groups plants according to the habitats in which they are typically found. Species representative of at least three broad eastern California vegetation types — Owens Valley alluvial fan, lower montane, and riparian — were included. In the northeast garden beds (downslope) the alluvial fan species predominate, and in the western area lower montane species were planted. Valley riparian species were planted nearest the water courses, especially to the east of the first bridge and near the steps.

Paul Dedecker gets a look around with his daughter, Joan Busby, and granddaughter, Annette Busby.

Although most of these species are naturally drought hardy, a drip irrigation system was installed to ensure the young transplants become established. In addition, to reduce losses to herbivores, especially rabbits, protective chicken wire cages were placed around the transplants. In time, as the plants grow, they will no longer be watered, and cages will be removed.

The garden is a work in progress. All work is being performed by volunteer efforts of Bristlecone Chapter members and friends. Much of the equipment was purchased using funds donated to the chapter in memory of Mary DeDecker. Routine maintenance will be performed by volunteers - check our Events Page for the next Garden Work Day so you can get involved!

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Garden Volunteer Days

Fall Garden Clean-up in November 2014, Photo by Stephen Ingram

CNPS Board Members Katie Quinlan and Sue Weiss at the end of the rainbow during the November 2014 Fall Garden Cleanup
Photo by Stephen Ingram

Check our Events Page if these are not current - we usually have work days in the spring (May) and fall (November)

CNPS Event November 22, 2014, Saturday, 9am - CNPS Work Day: DeDecker Garden Clean Up, DeDecker garden at the Eastern Sierra Museum in Independence.

On Saturday November 22nd we will be cleaning up the DeDecker Native Plant Garden in Independence. We are hoping to take out a barbed wire fence and replace it with split rail, replant a bunch of plants and do a general raking and fall clean up of the garden. If you are interested in helping we will meet at 8:00 am in Bishop, at the end of S. Fowler across from the DWP building, where people can share rides if desired. If you are coming from the south, we will meet in the parking lot of the Eastern Sierra Museum at 155 N. Grant Street in Independence at 9:00am. Bring rakes, gloves, water and hats. We will have a picnic lunch afterward.

Please contact Katie Quinlan at president@bristleconecnps.org or 760-873-8023 to let her know if you are coming so she can have a sense of how many helpers there will be.

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More Garden Updates

See these articles in our newsletter for updates to the garden:

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More Garden Photos

Click on the images below for larger pictures.

Bill and Jerry getting plants in the ground
The crew making protective cages with chicken-wire
Planting and putting out rabbit-proof cages
Paul Dedecker gets a look around with his daughter, Joan Busby, and granddaughter, Annette Busby.