Hi, my name is Ben Dunlap. I make web sites for a living, and spend most of the rest of my time gardening.

I fell in love with California native plants after buying a home in the suburbs of Ventura County and promptly realizing that I had no desire to spend the rest of my life’s free time on lawn care.

A few books later — not to mention many hours on the web site of the incomparable Las Pilitas Nursery — I was convinced, and began the long, slow project of converting my conventional sixth-of-an-acre into an all-native paradise. If I’m half-way there in 5 years, I’ll be pretty happy with my progress.

My time in the garden and at native nurseries — especially Nopalito Native Plant Nursery in Ventura — has also sparked a new enthusiasm for hiking the hills of California (and someday, I hope, the islands off the south coast). I’ll post photos and a bit of commentary as I go.

By the way, the title photo above shows baby blue eyes (Nemophila menziesii), a wide-ranging shade-friendly California annual, in bloom in my front yard in late winter 2010.