Like many California homeowners, we have a steep slope on our property. When we bought the place in Northern California in 2006, I was baffled how to create a garden there. It’s an informal area but too steep for a cottage-style mix of roses and perennials. But the area turned out to be the sunniest part of our yard, despite its northwestern exposure and some large trees growing near the top. The gardener in me was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. We terraced the steepest spots and continued to ponder the challenge.
Eventually, I came up with the idea I now call my custom chaparral: We would plant the slope in a loose arrangement of low-growing, drought-tolerant woody shrubs-- nothing taller than 6 feet. Between the shrubs, would be bunchgrasses, perennials and annuals. Because I love to grow natives and we did not plan to provide summer water, I decided to limit myself to California natives-- not a major restriction, given the phenomenal diversity of our state’s indigenous flora. For me, using native species in the garden enhances the sense of place and, of course, makes the garden more attractive to birds, butterflies and other wildlife.
Continue reading here.
Yerba Buena Chapter
Program: Planting Natives for Bees, Birds, and Butterflies
Thursday, October 4, 6:30 PM
Pollinators are very important components of native ecosystems, and are becoming less common due to urbanization. But you can help by planting the right native plants to attract bees, birds, and butterflies. Join expert Don Mahoney, Curator of Collections and Horticulture Manager at San Francisco Botanical Garden (SFBG), as he emphasizes the best native plants for our local pollinators. Recreation Room, Francisco County Fair Building, 9th Avenue & Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park. The building is served by the #71 and #44 lines, is one block from the N-Judah car, and is two blocks from the #6, #43, and #66 bus lines.
Santa Cruz Chapter
Field Trip: Neary Lagoon
Saturday, October 6, 10 AM - Noon
A remnant wetland, hidden away right in the middle of Santa Cruz. This was once a major hotspot for rarity-hunting local birders, and this is the best time of the year for so-called eastern "vagrants", so bring binoculars in case we get very lucky. A good place to get immersed in riparian and marsh habitats. We'll meet at the end of Chestnut Street. Limit 15 people. Please RSVP to Ken Moore. Be sure to put the date of the trip in the subject line and provide your name. The number of attendees is limited and spaces will be reserved in the order received.
Mount Lassen Chapter
Butte Creek House Rare Plant Treasure Hunt
Saturday, October 6, 9 AM - 4 PM
Butte Creek house is the last Rare Plant Treasure Hunt for this year for the Mt. Lassen Chapter. It is up out Jonesville on dirt roads. We will be looking for the Stellaria obtusa (Obtuse Starwort) in the meadow, and then another stop will be up at Willow Creek, in the same area. Meet at Chico Park & Ride west parking lot and be ready to leave by 9:00 am. Bring hiking shoes, (they might get wet), jacket, lunch, sun/insect protection, water, and money for ride sharing. It will be an easy hunt at around 5856 ft. elevation. Please contact Ron Coley or call 530-990-1533 to join in the fun.
Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains
Evening Program: Penstemon Floral Evolution
October 9, 7:30-9 PM
Penstemons are known for their ability to hybridize, especially two of our local species: Penstemon spectabilis and Penstemon centranthifolius. Their hybrid penstemon offspring have blossoms of different colors and shapes, often different shapes of leaves and stalks. In what other ways are they variable? Why do they hybridize so easily? What part do their different pollinators play in encouraging hybridization? Does this variability enhance the evolutionary success of both pollinators and penstemons? Presented by Dr. Paul S. Wilson, Professor of Biology at Cal State Northridge. First United Methodist Church, 1008 11th Street, Santa Monica.
Orange County Chapter
At Home with Natives 2012: Solutions for Nature-Friendly Landscaping
Saturday, October 13, 8 AM
Creating and growing beautiful water-wise gardens with California native plants has never made more sense. The theme of this symposium is making it easier to create and take care of these native landscapes. After all, there is a learning curve involved when using native plants in our landscapes and this symposium brings together some of our best local experts who will help you increase your knowledge about successfully using native plants, no matter your level of expertise. Registration is $55 per person, $65 after Sept. 30. To learn more, or to register, click here.
Milo Baker Chapter
Program: Beyond Foraging: Discovering the Real California Cuisine
Tuesday, October 16, 7:30 PM
Judith Lowry is thrilled to find that the one-acre Demonstration Garden of all California native plants that she has been working on for 30 years is abundantly full of food not just for the birds and butterflies but also for the people. Judith Larner Lowry has been the proprietor of Larner Seeds of Bolinas, specialists in California native plants, for the last 35 years. She has written many articles for journals and two books with UC Press, "The Landscaping Ideas of Jays," and "Gardening with a Wild Heart". She is currently working on a book for Timber Press on edible native plants. Luther Burbank Art and Garden Center, 2050 Yulupa Street in Santa Rosa.
Sunday, October 21, 9 AM
Leader: Scott Hetzler. Meet at the intersection of Highway 395 and Pine Creek Rd., west of 395, at 9.00 AM. We will try to be done by 1:00 PM. For more information contact Scott at 873-8392.
East Bay Chapter
Native Plant Fair
Saturday, October 27 10 AM - 3PM
Sunday, October 28, Noon - 3 PM
Join the East Bay Chapter at Native Here Nursery, 101 Golf Course Drive, in Tilden Park, Berkeley for a spectacular native plant fair. This year’s Plant Fair has a new feature: on Saturday, October 27, 1 pm until 3 pm, poetry will join art and flowers. Starting with an open reading for 30 minutes on native plant related themes (bring your poetry to read), followed by one hour and 30 minutes of readings by featured poets. On Sunday, October 28, 1 pm a program entitled "Native Plants for Butterflies in Your East Bay Garden" will be presented by Liam O’Brien, lepidopterist. Art will be on display and for sale in vendor’s booths all weekend. The list of plants on offer is in preparation and will also be posted in advance of the Fair. Bulb packets will be offered. Iris and ferns will be offered starting the weekend of the Fair. For more information click here.