A native seed farm planted by the Irvine Ranch Conservancy is flourishing, with rain-fueled blooms of lupines, poppies and other flowers and shrubs.
But the rain was fuel for weeds as well, and the conservancy says it needs the public’s help to rip them out.
The idea behind the farm is to produce native species, many of them difficult to cultivate, to act as seed stock for the conservancy’s ambitious habitat restoration efforts. Growing their own natives should save money and avoid depletion of wild plants from too much collecting.
The conservancy has planted about 22,000 shrubs over six
acres in a former avocado orchard near Irvine; the orchard burned in the 2007 Santiago fire.
Not only are arroyo lupines and California poppies showing their colors, but chia, cliff aster and dwarf plaintain are blooming as well, soon to produce the seeds that the conservancy will harvest.
Tough-to-grow natives including purple owl’s clover, cobweb thistle, hedge nettle and narrow-leafed milkweed are also in the mix on a trial basis.
Volunteers are needed to attack weeds on the seed farm on the second Saturday of every month. So far, turnout has been low, said spokeswoman Wida Karim. Volunteers can register on the Irvine Ranch Natural Landmarks Web site.