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Lockhart Native Plant Garden keeps plants native to PMC alive and thriving

With locals' support, the tiny but informative garden has served as a place for residents to enjoy and educate about the area's native plants
Posted at 6:23 PM, Jul 09, 2024

PINE MOUNTAIN CLUB, Calif. (KERO) — When you think of Pine Mountain Club, you may think of snowy mountain tops– but in the warmer months, it’s covered in flowers and the sound of nature. The Lockhart Native Plant Garden keeps plants native to the area prospering.

  • Those living or visiting the mountains can say “I left my ‘hart’ in Pine Mountain Club. Specifically, in the Lockhart Native Plant Garden.
  • Through the hard work of local volunteers, the Lockhart Native Plant Garden has continued to blossom over the years.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

Back in 2000, a group of residents in Pine Mountain Club wanted to start a garden, featuring plants native to the Los Padres National Forest.

Susan Amon, who volunteers for the Lockhart Native Plant Garden recalls two locals Mary Ann and James Lockhart.

“They would organize hikes for people and take them through the forest and different places around the area, said Amon. “And they would end up at the garden and they would talk about the native plants.”

The couple got their hands dirty, leading educational hikes.

“...And probably did make some mention of some of the plants and how Native Americans that were common in this area, like the Chumash and the Yokuts who hunted in this area, how they used the native plants,” said Amon.

The Lockharts worked closely with Pam De Vries-Gasser, a botanist in the mountains. Exploring the plants throughout the San Emigdio mountains, De Vries-Gasser wrote a field guide of native plants growing in Gorman Hills, Frazier Mountain, and Mount Pinos.

“We have a huge range of elevation here from the top of the mountain at over 8,000 ft down to the valley at… what, 1000 down there? So there’s a huge diversity of plant life,” said De Vries-Gasser.

Through a two-year plant survey, De Vries-Gasser completed the book, containing over 190 plants.

The book was dedicated to Mary Ann, but also serves as a gift to the community.

“I don’t make money on it,” said De Vries-Gasser. “... it’s a community gift.”

In 2020, the Native Plant Garden was renamed ‘Lockhart Native Plant Garden’ to honor Lockhart's devotion to keeping the garden alive.

Since then, Amon decided to put her green thumb to work.

“When I got involved about four years ago it was pretty overgrown and all the plant signs were missing,” said Amon.

The community has been coming together to help bring the garden back to life. The garden continues to look for their support.

“My hope is that it’ll still be here number one and that people will still appreciate it,” said Amon. “... and use it as maybe a meditative place and a place of serenity and just relaxation and also support it.”

The Lockhart Garden is located in Pine Mountain Club directly across the street from the clubhouse.

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