75-Year Vision for a New Oak Woodland

The 75-Year Vision of your Garden Committee (Glenda Jones and Nancy Neff) is to create an Oak Woodland in place of the row of 44 oleander shrubs along the creek. 

Oak Woodland has high habitat value, consistent with our 7th principle.  Oaks are the best habitat for caterpillars, and birds need many thousands of caterpillars to raise a nest of babies.  Oleander has low habitat value; in fact negative value because it uses “deceit pollination” and “insect cheating” without giving any nectar or pollen, and in some places it hosts a caterpillar (luckily I have not seen it here) which is immune to the oleander poison but kills any birds that eat it.  In addition, it is a real pain to keep it under control.  Glenda and I spend many hours over two months every year pruning oleander.  This is not sustainable.

Now is the best time to remove all of the oleander because:

  • It is less expensive than removing some now and some later, both due to inflation and
  • because we have just cut them back, it reduces the cost for the stump grinding job.
  • We will be able to plant native shrubs now between the oaks and they will have time to grow into substantial shrubs prior to the re-opening of the remodeled Main Hall.
  • Glenda and I will never have to prune oleander again!

We began a couple years ago allowing some “volunteer” oaks (planted by birds or squirrels) to grow between oleanders.  Six of them are unknown species but similar to the Holly Oaks by the street on each side of the entrance drive, and one (just before the bridge) is a Coast Live Oak.  Once the unknowns produce acorns they will be easier to identify.

We will plant Toyons and other tough native shrubs that will survive with no watering once established.

So please “pardon our mess while we remodel!”

Nancy Neff

for the Garden Committee