SAN BENITO COUNTY 2023
SAN BENITO COUNTY 2023
SOUTH SANTA CLARA VALLEY
SOUTH SANTA CLARA VALLEY
A supplement to the Morgan Hill Times, Gilroy Dispatch & Hollister Free Lance SEPTEMBER 2023 MAGAZINE
2 SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2023 "SELLING? BUYING? NEED SOME FRIENDLY ADVICE? I’M ALWAYS AT YOUR SERVICE!" Jean Davila DRE# 02059968 | 408.658.5971 firstname.lastname@example.org jeandavilarealestate.com jeandavilarealtor jeanthesellingmachine TESTIMONIAL: "Finding a new home is a daunting undertaking, but when you get lucky to find a realtor like Jean, who is truly passionate, takes their time to patiently listen to you, understand your needs, go the extra mile to make themselves available at short notice and answer any questions, it makes all the difference!" - Ramya, Google Review - Jean Davila
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4 SEPTEMBER 2023 | SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE 7455 Monterey Street, Gilroy, CA Phone: 408-842-6400 6 Publisher Dan Pulcrano General Manager Jeanie Johnson Editor Erik Chalhoub Advertising Account Executive Carrie Bonato Jessie Lara Creative Services Director Cindy Couling Production Operations Manager Sean George Graphic Design Hon Truong Cover Photograph by: Dan Pulcrano Published by New SV Media Inc., Gilroy, CA Entire contents © 2023. All rights reserved. Reproduction in any form prohibited without publisher’s written permission. MAGAZINE TO PLACE AN AD Email: email@example.com Phone: 408.842.8313 TO CONTACT EDITORIAL Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 408.842.9505 Ads 6 Rural Areas Grow 8 Right Time to Buy 10 Valley Views 12 Agents Honored 14 Designer Home 16 Secret Keys 18 Moving Challenges 20 How Much Home? 22 Horticulture 22 14 Moving you to the Heartbeat of Real Estate Lisa Faria Corcoran Icon Properties • South County Lic.#01462310 email@example.com LisaSoldMine.com • 408.710.6085 and it’s beating fast, call me!
L a u r e n R o n a n D R E # 0 2 0 2 9 1 2 8 ( 4 0 8 ) 7 6 3 - 3 8 0 3 B e s t R e a l E s t a t e A g e n t 5 SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2023
This summer, Californians worried about the cost of housing were offered the rarest of gifts: a glimmer of hope.
New numbers released by the Newsom administration show that California added homes to its housing stock at a faster clip than any time since the Great Recession—123,350 additional units, or an increase of 0.85%.
Over that same period, the state’s population declined, marking the third year in a row that it’s fallen from one new year to the next.
Put those two numbers together and
BY BEN CHRISTOPHER
Rural areas grow as state loses population
Escape to the Countryside
a surprising statistic emerges: There are now more homes per person—3,770 units for every 10,000 Californians— than there have been since at least 1991.
For a state that has long suffered from too many people trying to cram themselves into too few homes, that’s an encouraging number at first glance.
It’s also the kind of news that might lead a person to wonder: Does this California exodus mean the state’s perennial housing shortage is finally coming to an end?
The long answer is “it’s complicated.”
Though many analysts have tried, no consensus exists on just how many more homes the state would need to build (or how many more people would need to
leave) before we can call an end to the crisis and start to see rents and home prices fall within reach of working and middle class Californians.
But the short answer is “almost definitely, no.”
Much of the outflow of residents is itself driven by the high cost of living. In June, the median price of an existing single family San Francisco Bay Area home was $1.3 million, more than three times the national median of $410,000.
In Morgan Hill, the median price in July was nearly $1.5 million, while Gilroy stood at $1.1 million and San Martin at $2 million,
according to data from the Santa Clara County Association of Realtors. In San Benito County, the median price was $775,000, according to MLSListings.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said as much in a recent interview with UCLA’s Blueprint, naming the cost of living as the “principal driver” and its chronic shortage of homes “our original sin.”
And while experts don’t agree on exactly how much additional housing the state might need to attain an ill-defined “affordability,” they do agree on this much: it’s a whole lot more.
6 SEPTEMBER 2023 | SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE
Morgan Hill has maintained a rural feel in a populous county known for mega-developments.
essentially no population growth, and with fairly robust housing construction, then it should start to eat into that lack of housing,” he said.
But if the state needs to hit millions of units, “we’re still a long, long way off,” he added.
That’s in part because the size of the hole is so large. But it’s also because the shortfall is “a moving target,” explained Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation. The building industry booms and busts. Young Californians grow old enough to live out on their own while older ones begin to die off. And people’s housing wants and needs change, too.
How Covid forced lifestyle changes
A particularly dramatic driver of such change: the pandemic.
Eager to keep Covid at bay and seeking more space to work from home, Californians dumped their roommates when they could and sought out places to live on their
A moving target
The numbers have been moving in a more encouraging direction in recent years.
The totals since 2020: roughly 430,000 new homes and some 821,000 fewer Californians competing to reside within them. That necessarily narrows the gap, however we define it, said Hans Johnson, a researcher at the Public Policy Institute of California.
If the shortage is relatively modest, he said, and “if we continue like this for another decade, with very slow population growth or RELATIVELY AFFORDABLE
nearly double the national average,
7 SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2023
median price for single-family homes in San Benito County, while
is still half of that of the neighboring San Francisco Bay Area.
Tarmo Hannula Shutterstock
MOVING IN New housing developments in Hollister and a comparatively affordable area have boosted the population in San Benito County.
BY MICHELLE PERRY
The ever-continuous magic question: “Is know the right time to buy.” Is it?
My response has always stayed the same: “if the time is right for you.” How do you determine that in an ever-changing and evolving market? Many considerations, economics, interest rates and of course price. South County has always been its own niche market; however what we’re seeing now is how neighborhoods, criteria and condition of homes are impacted in the current market.
This third quarter we have seen many changes. Interest rates rise and fall but for the most part have been steady. Buyers, when making the decision to buy need to understand how the interest rate changes can impact their purchasing power. A half a percent could make the difference in qualifying and could be a positive factor.
Buyers, be openminded
According to California Association of Realtors Chief Economist Jordan Levine, “Mortgage rates could go up to 7.5% and home prices may first go up rather than down,” but he predicts the bottom is not going to fall out of the market because it continues to improve as the economy stabilizes.
We also are observing multiple offers, homes selling in 10 days or less, and many over list price.
In this market, buyers need to be ready. Loan approval is a must, understanding the loan and its process.
Some lenders are offering up-front rate locks, without securing a home while others must have a ratified contract. There are many loan programs and buyers need an expert to know what program will work best for them.
I think most buyers are surprised to find that there are still opportunities to obtain the 5% interest rates, down payment assistance and even closing costs credit. Buyers, be
open-minded; not everything will be perfect, working with an expert is more viable today than ever before.
Experts like Fannie Mae note that 2023 began stronger than anticipated but say the strength could waver closer to the end of the year. The demand for affordable housing is greater than the supply, and prices are not likely to drop substantially in the near future (Noted June 2). However, this mid-third quarter we have not seen that waver. Instead, we have seen the opposite.
Not every home is experiencing multiple offers. Why is that? There could be two homes on the same street for sale and one will sell in five days and the other will sit for more than 60 days. Today approximately 60% of pending homes in South County—Gilroy and Morgan Hill—were on the market less than 10 days. Are buyers searching for that perfect, move-in-ready home, or are
sellers holding out for their list price or over list price offer? Maybe a little bit of both? Either way it’s working or it’s not. Sellers are receiving that top dollar for that remodeled move-inready home.
What does this mean for us?
According to the California Association of Realtors: “The residential sector experienced a noteworthy surge in demand for single-family homes and suburban properties. Lifestyle changes prompted many families to seek larger living spaces and green surroundings. As a result, suburban areas saw accelerated growth.”
South County has seen this growth and will continue to do so. More for your money and the quality of life make the perfect combination for families and those seeking this dream. Buyers, be open-minded. The home of your dreams may not be the one on the market for 60 days, but it could be your stepping stone to it.
8 SEPTEMBER 2023 | SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE
SMALL-TOWN FEEL Homes along Hecker Pass Highway are shown in Gilroy.
Michelle Perry is the 2023 President Elect of the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS.
Many factors determine when it is the right time to buy
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Valley Views Valley Views
Five-acre Hollister property features room to stretch out
The San Justo Reservoir and the San Juan Valley can be seen from this Hollister home’s perch.
Located at 2700 Geneil Court, the 2,235-square-foot home includes three bedrooms and three bathrooms.
The living room features wood beam ceilings with a wood-burning fireplace.
The kitchen is equipped with granite counters, a breakfast nook and breakfast bar, gas cooktop and large pantry. The formal dining room has built-in cabinets with a den.
The primary suite features a walk-in closet, while the primary
bathroom has dual sinks and walk-in shower.
The five-acre property also has a three-and-a-half-car garage, with RV parking and room for a shop, ADU and more.
The home, built in 2001, is listed at $1.3 million by Intero Real Estate Services. For information, visit tinyurl.com/4xdxhfna.
10 SEPTEMBER 2023 | SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE
GENEIL COURT This Hollister home is surrounded by views of the valley.
Intero Real Estate Services
INSIDE Granite countertops and more make up the kitchen.
Intero Real Estate Services
You’ll love it! It will be fun! Selected as Apple News Top 10 Female Real Estate Agents for 2023 I’m here to get you what you want and a little bit more! 11 SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2023
Women of Influence
Coldwell Banker Realty leader recognized
Jennifer Lind, regional president, West, of Coldwell Banker Realty, was named to HousingWire’s 2023 Women of Influence list.
HousingWire, a source of news and information for the U.S. mortgage and housing markets, named 100 women to their annual list. The annual Women of Influence program launched to recognize the contributions of women to both mortgage banking and real estate. The honors are given to individuals who are making notable contributions to both their businesses and to the industry at-large, with a specific focus on contributions made in the most recent 12 months.
“Jennifer has a passion for success, is a natural leader and manages her business with integrity. The national recognition is a testament to the high standards she applies to her business operations
30 Under 30
Gilroy agent honored by Coldwell Banker
Derek Essary, a real estate agent in Gilroy, was named part of the 30 Under 30 Class of 2023 for Coldwell Banker Realty.
Coldwell Banker-affiliated real estate professionals below the age of 30 are recognized for their mark in real estate and achieved success in sales, philanthropy and leadership.
The Coldwell Banker 30 Under 30 were chosen from the brand’s network of 100,000 affiliated sales professionals in more than 2,700 offices across 39 countries and
territories. This group of real estate professionals honors the heritage of the founders, Colbert Coldwell and Arthur Banker, who started their company at 24 and 28 years old, respectively.
“As we celebrate this year’s winners, I am reminded of how powerful, influential and dedicated the Coldwell Banker network is,” said Liz Gehringer, president and CEO of Anywhere Franchise Brands, acting president of Coldwell Banker Affiliate Business and COO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate. “These real estate professionals have made
and the impact she has within the real estate industry and at Coldwell Banker,” said Kamini Lane, president and chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Realty. “We’re tremendously proud of her achievements and congratulate Jennifer on this well-deserved honor.”
For this honor, Lind was recognized for her leadership overseeing the sales operations of more than 50 offices and 4,400 affiliated agents in Northern California. Since the application deadline, she was named regional president, West, now overseeing operations in all of California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington state.
As regional president, Lind is responsible for oversight of 11,197 agents across 133 sales offices. Combined, these offices brought in a total sales volume of more than $52 billion with 43,217 transactions in 2022, according to Coldwell Banker.
She began oversight of the Northern California region in November 2020.
serving their clients, expanding their business and continuing to excel in the industry is recognized by many. I am eager to see how they continue to go above and beyond for clients seeking their dream home and how they will serve as a shining light for others within the Coldwell Banker network as they progress in their careers.”
Born and raised in Gilroy, Essary became involved in the South Bay community at a young age through family members in real estate, according to Coldwell Banker.
an impact in their community and still have so much road ahead of them to continue to innovate and grow. Their commitment to
“Now a third-generation agent himself, Derek attributes his family's enduring passion and success to one core belief, passed down through generations: Working with a client is a long-term commitment,” Coldwell Banker stated on its website.”
12 SEPTEMBER 2023 | SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE
Coldwell Banker Realty
Coldwell Banker Realty
7554 Monterey Street Gilroy, CA 7357 Monterey Street Gilroy, CA SOLD FOR LEASE 555 Mayock Road Gilroy, CA 6474 Automall Parkway Gilroy, CA 55,000 SqFt Industrial 11,000 SqFt Food/Entertainment 4,856 SqFt Industrial 1,300 SqFt Retail Christian G. Renz BRE #01911413 Renz & Renz Commercial & Investment Brokerage 408.846.1031 firstname.lastname@example.org 13 SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2023 Marquez Plumbing Hollister, CA • 831.630.3000 contractors license #835215 Marquez Plumbing Hollister, CA • 831.630.3000 contractors license #835215 Thanks to our fantastic team for all the hard work you put in daily. It's your dedication that contributes to our success. Thanks to our fantastic team for all the hard work you put in daily. It's your dedication that contributes to our success. Thank you San Benito County for your business and support over the last 16 years of service. Thank you San Benito County for your business and support over the last 16 years of service.
REMODELED HOME HAS PLENTY OF AMENITIES
This remodeled Morgan Hill home welcomes its inhabitants with a spacious foyer, soaring ceiling and sweeping staircase.
Located at 2785 Toro Vista Court, the 5,788-square-foot home includes six bedrooms and five full bathrooms.
The kitchen is equipped with quartz countertops, stainless steel appliances, an island, a pantry and wine room.
The primary suite is outfitted with a fireplace, terrace, two walk-in closets and an ensuite. The other bedrooms each have their own walk-in closets, and many with ensuite bathrooms.
The backyard includes a koi pond, waterfall and terraced planters designed for a vineyard. The property also features a four-car garage, solar panels, gated entry and more.
The home, built in 2016, is listed at $2,875,000 by Coldwell Banker Realty. For information, visit tinyurl.com/yeyr3jkd.
14 SEPTEMBER 2023 | SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE
Coldwell Banker Realty FEATURED HOME
INSIDE A spiral staircase leads to the second floor.
TORO VISTA COURT
This Morgan Hill home sits on an elevated perch with valley views.
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“home.” The homeowners surveyed spent an average of two-and-ahalf years upgrading their homes before they were pleased with it. Despite the time and money they invested in the property—or perhaps because of it—nearly 71% of homeowners said they now feel like they’ve found their forever home. Your house is more than just a place to call home, it’s also an investment. And if it’s managed properly, your home can also provide a great return on investment.
3. There will always be surprises, so don't be afraid to call a pro
Even the most prepared homebuyer will encounter surprise expenses after signing on the dotted line. According to the survey, the average homeowner has encountered about four surprises or unexpected costs within their first year of homeownership.
Beyond the surprise of unpredicted expenses, some of these tasks may be new and create challenges for homeowners to handle on their own. In fact, 62% would call a professional for a home improvement project, and nearly one-third of homeowners would hire a pro for home maintenance.
Things to know before buying a home
Have you ever wished homeownership came with a user’s manual? There’s only so much you can prepare for, whether you’re buying your starter home, forever home—or something in between. It's all too common to face unexpected expenses, including ongoing maintenance of your property with hidden added costs. In a new survey conducted in collaboration with OnePoll, TruGreen found that nearly half of homeowners (44%) invested more money in their home during the first year of homeownership than they expected.
To equip homeowners with more realistic expectations before purchasing a new home, TruGreen, the nation’s leading lawn
care provider, shares the top three lessons homeowners have learned.
1. Home maintenance is crucial—and will cost you
No matter what type of home you buy—from fixer-uppers to move-in ready—you should expect some repairs and replacements, plus routine maintenance. While this will vary depending on your home's age, size and condition, rest assured that most homes require regular care to help prevent long-term (and potentially expensive) damage.
So, how much maintenance is required when you purchase a home? In the survey, homeowners' top expenses during their first
year as a homeowner were appliance replacements (56%), exterior repairs such as windows (53%) and major repairs like roofing (52%). Furthermore, when prioritizing maintenance, homeowners mainly focused on their home's exterior, such as patios (42%) and their yard or lawn (39%).
Ensuring you have the means to handle unanticipated repairs and routine maintenance before you buy will help prevent financial stress down the road.
2. Investing in your property to create a home
When you first move into your new house, don't get discouraged if you don't initially feel like you're really
Handing maintenance or improvement projects to the pros can be a smart move to ensure the job will be done well. It can prevent future problems and save time you’d rather spend enjoying your home. For example, hiring a professional service to handle your lawn care can allow for more free time to actually enjoy your outdoor space, while giving you a sense of pride in how great it looks.
“Buying a new home is a tremendous milestone that brings much to celebrate, but the new responsibilities of homeownership can also be stressful,” said Brian Feldman, senior director of technical operations at TruGreen. “As a new homeowner, there's no need to waste time figuring out the best ways to maintain your home. To help tackle what can seem like an ongoing to-do list, you should consider partnering with the professionals.”
16 SEPTEMBER 2023 | SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE
BE PREPARED Set realistic expectations when buying a home.
4x Winner of Gilroy’s Landcape Counseling and Planning Award
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Servicing San Benito, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.
The Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce thanks all of the musicians, volunteers, venders, and community members that came out to dance the night away at the Friday Night Music Series!
Thank you for voting us Best in Morgan Hill! We couldn't have done it without you!
SEE YOU NEXT SEASON!
17 SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE | SEPTEMBER 2023
From broken belongings to going over budget, moving comes with its fair share of challenges and stresses.
Recent research completed by Duck brand uncovers insights about first-time movers—who they are, what their biggest challenges are and what could potentially make the process easier.
• Making the Move: The survey finds that people deciding to leave the nest for the first time are typically young adults, between the ages of 18 to 25, who plan to move to a nearby apartment (56%) or house (37%).
• Biggest Road Blocks: Fifty-one percent of survey respondents agreed that the
RESEARCH UNCOVERS THE BIGGEST ISSUES FOR FIRST-TIME MOVERS
biggest challenge of their first move was not knowing where to begin. Other challenges included not knowing how to properly pack (32%) and not knowing what to buy (27%). With an understanding of firsttime movers top challenges, the experts at Duck brand are sharing their top tips to complete any move with ease.
1. Have Help: Only 5% of first-time movers opted to use a professional moving service, with most citing budget constraints as the reason they didn’t do so. If you’re not sure where to begin but you know you’ll be one of the 95% of first-time movers making a DIY move, start by enlisting help from family and friends. Forty-three percent of first-time movers
rely on help from family and friends and 32% depend on their significant other. Only 32% say they moved on their own without help.
2. Pack Properly: Aside from making the down payment on their new place, 36% of first-time movers say their largest expense was “buying new furniture/home items,” but that can easily be avoided by properly packing existing essentials.
The research finds that 42% of first-time movers damaged their glassware, such as plates and bowls, and 33% broke décor, like mirrors and picture frames, during the transition. These fragile items should be wrapped securely in products like Bubble Wrap Cushioning from Duck brand to ensure they arrive at the new location in one piece. In
fact, 54% of survey participants say they would not move again without protective packaging.
3. Buy the Basics: Not sure what to buy for the first move? More than half (55%) of survey respondents say the single most essential moving supply is boxes. Although 62% of people used old cardboard boxes for their first move, 73% say they would purchase new boxes for future moves.
To learn more about the Duck brand products that make moving easier, visit duckbrand.com/ products/moving-storage.
While moving for the first time can seem intimidating, having the right tools and strategies can ensure the process is less stressful.
18 SEPTEMBER 2023 | SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE
PACKING UP While moving for the first time can seem intimidating, having the right tools and strategies can ensure the process is less stressful.
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Figuring out how much home you can afford is one of the most important questions you’ll need to answer before you begin house hunting. But as home prices and interest rates have increased in the past few years, you may be wondering how your buying power has changed.
To get a rough estimate of what you can afford, most lenders suggest you spend no more than 28% of your monthly income—before taxes are taken out—on your mortgage payment, which includes principal, interest, taxes and insurance. In addition to having a firm grip on your income and expenses, it’s
How Much Home?
important to understand the role the following factors play in how much home you can afford:
Lenders look closely at your credit score when determining whether you qualify for a loan. Generally, the higher your credit score the more options will be available to you, including better loan terms and a lower interest rate. Because of the large role credit plays in the homebuying process, make sure you understand how your credit score is compiled, how to get a copy of your credit report and how to build strong credit.
Current Mortgage Rates
It’s important to watch mortgage rates carefully, because when rates are lower you may be able to afford a larger mortgage. Although 26 million mortgage-ready potential homebuyers had the capacity to afford a $400,000 mortgage at a 3% interest rate, the total falls by 3 to 4 million with each percentage point gain, according to Freddie Mac research. In short, a small increase in rates can make a home that was once affordable, unaffordable.
Bear in mind that similar borrowers may receive notably
different rates based on the lender, so you may want to shop around to increase your buying power. In fact, you can potentially save $600-$1,200 annually by applying for mortgages from multiple lenders, according to Freddie Mac.
Your Down Payment
Typically, homebuyers need to make a down payment of at least 3%, and generally between 5% and 20%, of their home’s purchase price to qualify for a mortgage. That means as home prices go up, so do down payment requirements. Talk to your lender about all the down payment options available and explore assistance programs.
Each year, many state, county and city governments provide financial assistance for people in their communities who are well-qualified and ready for homeownership. Requirements vary, but if you are eligible you could receive down payment assistance ranging from a few thousand dollars to larger amounts, depending on your needs, your qualifications and where the home is located. Additionally, many programs specifically benefit veterans, Native communities and workers employed in education, health care, law enforcement and firefighting. Your lender or housing counselor should be able to point you in the right direction of these programs.
Fees and Other Closing Costs
Don’t forget that when you get a mortgage, you’ll need to pay closing costs, which likely include an appraisal fee, credit report fee, tax services fee and more. These costs will generally run between 2% and 5% of your purchase price.
To crunch the numbers, start by using Freddie Mac’s Homebuying Budget Calculator, then learn more about the homebuying process with Freddie Mac’s CreditSmart. Visit creditsmart.freddiemac.com to get started.
If you think you’re ready for homeownership, you’ll want to work closely with your lender to determine what you can comfortably afford. It’s their job to cover all bases so that your final number is within your means and aligns with your financial goals. —Statepoint
20 SEPTEMBER 2023 | SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE
SeventyFour/iStock via Getty Images Plus
Affordability factors to consider when purchasing
CALCULATING COSTS As home prices and interest rates have increased in the past few years, your buying power may have changed.
Lifestyle changes prompted Real Estate Advisor Call for info Frank Leonardi, Real Estate Advisor Lic# 01360945 BayAreaRealtyGroup.com • Find Early Releases Of Homes For Sale In The Bay Area • Find Vacant Land For Building Your Dream Home • Find Ranches/Farms For Sale In The Bay Area • Find Potential Investment Properties In The Bay Area Cell: 408.529.5777
By TONY TOMEO
There is no doubt about it: weeds are sustainable. Otherwise, they would not be weeds. By definition, they grow where they are undesirable. Less sustainable vegetation should be less invasive. Also, it should be less resistant to eradication than most familiar weeds are. Unfortunately, also by definition, weeds are undesirable. They can not become fads.
Sustainable horticulture is a fad, though. Unlike most fads, it is actually quite sensible. In theory, it is horticulture that requires as minimal intervention as possible. It excludes that which requires intensive or impractical cultivation. For example, native species that grow wild are sustainable. Tropical species that may survive only within greenhouses are not.
A problem with the sustainability fad is its marketability. “Sustainable” and “Sustainability” have become cliche buzzwords. They too often describe merchandise that is contrary to the fad. Realistically, genuine sustainability is unsustainable within profitable marketing. Truly sustainable merchandise would eliminate most of the need to ever purchase more.
Modern cultivars can qualify as “new and improved” as they first become available. They are certainly new. However, their improvements may be questionable. Hybridization and extensive breeding can cause genetic deficiency. Even natural variegation compromises vigor. Seed is not true to type. Most aesthetic improvements are contrary to sustainability.
Native species are technically sustainable. Once established, they might survive without irrigation or other attention. Unfortunately though, some are not very adaptable to refined home gardens. Some are vulnerable to rot if nearby vegetation needs frequent irrigation. Some perform vigorously only for a few
years. Several species are innately combustible.
Ironically, several of the most passe and old fashioned species are the most sustainable. That is why some of them became passe. Lily of the Nile can survive indefinitely. If it gets overgrown, it is easy to divide and relocate. It may be available for free from neighbors or friends. African iris, New Zealand flax, bergenia, most aloe and many yucca are similarly sustainable.
Highlight: cardinal flower
This warm season annual is actually a biennial. Cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis, may stay relatively short for its first summer. It might bloom four feet high for its second or third summer. By then, pups are easy to divide as new plants to replace the old. Most cardinal flower plants from nurseries are rather mature. They might grow tall for their first summer.
Common cardinal flower has rich cardinal red bloom and bright green foliage. “Alba” has white bloom. “Rosea” has pink bloom. “Queen Victoria” has familiar rich red bloom above deeply bronzed foliage. Individual flowers are only an inch-and-a-half from top to bottom, but are numerous. Basal leaves can be almost six inches long. Upper leaves are shorter.
Cardinal flower enjoys richly organic soil with regular irrigation. It dislikes getting too dry. It appreciates a bit of partial shade as the weather gets warmest after noon. Seed is easy to collect. However, seed from fancy cultivars is not necessarily true to type. Subsequent generations eventually revert to familiar rich cardinal red bloom and bright green foliage.
Tony Tomeo can be contacted at tonytomeo.com.
22 SEPTEMBER 2023 | SOUTH VALLEY MAGAZINE Contributed
BRIGHT SPOT Cardinal flower is traditionally cardinal red.
SURVIVOR Lily of the Nile is an example of a sustainable plant.
*APY=Annual Percentage Yield.
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