I am writing in appreciation of the Cherry Canyon native planting work by local resident Lisa Novick and her volunteer team (“Stop and grow traffic,” Feb. 7). I live around the corner and have seen aggressively spreading ivy invade the canyon's oak woodland environment.

It is our native oak woodland, with its wide-canopied trees of sprawling, twisted arms, that makes so many of our neighborhoods so beautiful and desirable to live in, and I think not so much the endless ivy carpets or hot open lawns that people have replaced them with. The grandest of these trees were here before our houses were built, and grew to grandness before people misguidedly planted their competition.

To keep our local woodland flourishing, we all need to be gardeners not of heavily marketed garden center bullies like ivy and periwinkle, but gardeners of California. We should protect the dramatic coast live oaks, the giant Western sycamores with their patchy impressionist bark, and the colorful red-berried toyon shrubs by not covering their territory with aggressive commercial species we often plant only because we are too busy to read more than a garden center price tag. Our native species have taken millions of years to evolve together into a unique and beautiful system. As California gardeners, we should learn about and preserve the garden that nature has provided us. Kudos to Lisa and team for exemplifying this ethic.

You can see California nature nurtured by California gardeners at our local library, our public school demonstration gardens, and of course down the trails of Cherry Canyon where, after you pass through the wonderful newly planted entrance, you will also find wild blooming California peony and fuchsia-flowered gooseberry waiting to be appreciated.

Beth Fabinsky
La Cañada Flintridge