A California grower makes an effort to restore the state to its original splendor by growing only California natives.

The owners of Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano, CA, were ahead of their time when they made the decision in 1979 to grow only plants native to the Golden State — a concept that has become more trendy in recent years.

Several years earlier, founder and President Mike Evans, who grew up in Newport Beach, CA, then moved to San Jaun Capistrano in 1974, began the small growing company as a wholesale nursery and landscape contracting operation. One can probably say the love for plants started when Mike pestered a local nursery in Newport Beach to hire him back in 1972. When Jeff Bohn hopped on board as vice president and co-owner in 1979, the duo took to focusing only on California natives. The nursery’s success has been growing ever since. Native Niche. According to Evans, the decision to go all native was made thanks to a need for developed hillsides and open spaces to return to their natural, beautiful forms. “We’ve got between 400 and 500 species and varieties of California native. Our top sellers are native flowers and Coastal Sage due to their drought resistant properties.ˮ

Throughout the years, Tree of Life has taken great measures to make certain it continues to thrive in its specialty. The company has flourished as one of the few growers in the state to focus only on California natives. Today, it is the largest native plant growing operation in the state. And like the species it grows, it belongs there.

Today, the nursery supplies a high quality line of over 500 species and varieties for landscaping and ecological restoration at the wholesale level. Located on 40 acres of the historic Rancho Mission Viejo in San Juan Capistrano, Tree of Life Nursery, the largest native plant supplier in the state, provides a means by which California’s precious flora can return to the land.

Services offered include special orders for site-specific provenance, rare and endangered species, various sizes of containerized and bare root plants, and large quantities for restoration jobs. Tree of Life Nursery staff has extensive experience in ecological restoration, habitat enhancement and authentic landscaping. Focusing on stewardship of the land, they are truly dedicated to the concept of horticulture appropriate to this beautiful region called California.

California’s unique climate, history and culture provide them with a canvas for a classic painting. Ultimately, with education and persistence, they hope to see a return to a more conservative, genuine landscape. For over twenty years, Tree of Life Nursery has been an advocate for a California that looks like it should—authentic California.