In December I wrote about the first step in planning your native plant garden. Since successful gardens are always changing, planning never really ends, but this dedicated time when you first begin, and again periodically, can really help budget time and material resources. Even if you have an established garden, it's good to periodically revisit the idea of the garden and determine if everything is still working or if changes need to be made.
An often overlooked step in the planning process is "site analysis." Explore your yard with a shovel and notepad or mobile device in hand, to determine what kind of soil you have, how the water flows and drains, how many hours of sunlight different areas receive. Note north-facing and south-facing areas, flow and characteristics of wind, and views that need to be blocked or featured.
Some of the most reliable, popular, and therefore overused exotics that Southern Californians have depended on for years may be disappearing from our landscapes. This change creates a great opportunity to promote the planting of natives.
We've all noticed the Oleander scorch which is killing virtually all of the Oleanders. Lemonadeberry or Toyon would be effective replacements. Victorian Box (Pittosporum undulatum) is still being sold and recommended in nurseries in spite of the fact that the same glassy-winged sharpshooter that is killing the Oleanders is causing even mature Victorian Box to yellow, defoliate, and then die. This pest is the vector for a bacterial disease (Vilella fastidiosa) which can attack other exotics as well as grapes.
I had an occasion to write to a new acquaintance about the culture of plants that appear in my "bee suites" -- lists based on numbers of bee species collected on various species of plants on a transect of Californian plant communities where about 70,000 insects were captured on flowering specimens of native and naturalized wild land plants. Many of the best plants for creating insect habitat are among those rarely cultivated by gardeners. The plants on the lists are those that got the most species of visiting bees.
Ten Tips for Saving Gallons of Water in the Garden this Year
We all know this is a drought year and we are being asked to save at least 10 percent of our water use. I wanted to give all my clients some ideas on how they could do this and so I've created this list. I thought you all would enjoy it as well.
1. Check for leaks. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that one in ten homes has a leak of 90 gallons per day. That equals almost 33,000 gallons of water per year! The most foolproof way to check for leaks is at your water meter and I recommend you check for leaks at least once per year. Here's how. Make sure no one is using water inside the house and the irrigation system is not running. Don a pair of garden gloves and grab a long handled screwdriver. Locate your water meter near your curb and pry off the concrete cover using the screwdriver. Flip open the cover of the meter and check for the location of the red or blue needle. Note where the needle is and walk away for 15 minutes. When you return, it should be in the exactly same place. If not, you have a leak somewhere and need to find it.
The Fourth Annual California Native Plant Week (CNPW) is coming April 12 - April 20, 2014! Are there events in your area? Check out the Horticulture Event Calendar for native plant sales, wildflower shows, gardening workshops, lectures, hikes, garden tours, and more near you. Do you know of a CNPW event that is not on the calendar? If so, please send the event details, including type of event, date, time, location, and contact info to .
Upcoming CNPS Workshops
For full workshop descriptions and registration, please click here. Questions? Email Josie Crawford, CNPS Education Program Director at .
April 1-2: Introduction to Plant Family Identification Taught by David L. Magney Location: Casitas Springs, Ventura County Cost: $310 CNPS members; $345 non-members
April 15-17: Spring Flora of the Eastern Mojave: a Focus on Five Formidable Families Taught by Jim Andre and Tasha LaDoux Location: UC Granite Mountains Desert Research Center, Mojave National Preserve, eastern Mojave Cost: CNPS members: $360; non-members $395
April 29-May 1 Measuring and Monitoring Plant Populations Taught by John Willoughby Location: UC Santa Cruz Arboretum, Santa Cruz, CA Cost: CNPS members: $395; Non-members: $430
May 27-29: Herbarium Specimen Collecting for Floristic Work Taught by Nick Jensen and Heath Bartosh Locations: Tejon Ranch Conservancy, Lebec and Tehachapi Mountain Region, Kern County Cost: CNPS members: $360; Non-members: $395
June 10-12: Vegetation Rapid Assessment/Relevé Workshop Taught by Julie Evens and Jennifer Buck-Diaz Location: Orange County, CA Cost: Members $330; Non-members $365
September (TBA): Vegetation Rapid Assessment Location: Shasta or Tehama County
To connect to your local chapter, or to find other events in your region, see this page for a list and map of CNPS chapters. Even more events from CNPS chapters and partners can be viewed on the Horticulture Events Calendar.
El Dorado Chapter's spring plant sale will be held on Saturday, April 5th, from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the County Government Buildings A and B are directly across the street from the Main El Dorado County Library. For information about some of the plants we will feature, click here.
Shasta Chapter Spring Plant Sale
Thursday through Saturday, April 10-12
The Shasta Chapter of the California Native Plant Society will have over 2,500 California native plants for sale at this 3-day Spring Plant Sale. Staff will be able to answer questions about plant identification and care. Thursday, April 10 (8-5), Friday, April 11 (8-5), and Saturday, April 12 (9-4). Shasta College Horticulture Area, 11555 Old Oregon Trail, Redding, CA.
Maturango Museum, 100 E. Las Flores, Ridgecrest, CA. Come see what wildflower treasures have been uncovered within a 50-mile radius of Ridgecrest. Volunteer teams with BLM permits will search for flora on the east-facing slopes & in the canyons of the Sierra Nevada, in the Coso and El Paso Mountains, as well as the Indian Wells Valley itself. No matter what the weather has been each year there will be wildflowers to enjoy. Featuring special programs: April 12, 2:30 pm: “What a Surprise!: the Amazing Panamint Mountains Watershed Known as Surprise Canyon” presentation by Shelley Ellis, BLM Biologist and Marty Dickes, BLM Wilderness Coordinator, both working out of the Ridgecrest BLM Field Office. And: April 13, 2:00 pm: “Day Tripping with California Wildflower” presentation by Kathy LaShure, Creosote Ring subchapter coordinator, California Native Plant Society.
Marin Chapter Spring Plant Sale
Saturday, April 12, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Green Point Nursery, 275 Olive Avenue (at Atherton), Novato. Volunteers at the nursery have been busy propagating a variety of native perennials, shrubs and bunchgrasses; all drought tolerant plants, all great for a home garden. We’re also growing a selection of annual wildflowers in 4” pots, as well as a selection of larval host plants for the habitat gardener. Please let us know if you can help!
There’s a lot of planning behind-the scenes; creating fliers and signage, organizing displays, demos and speakers, and outreach to partnering organizations. We’ll also need volunteers to help with set-up, and on the day of the sale. Email Kristin Jakob or Charlotte Torgovitsky if you would like to volunteer.
As part of California Native Plant Week, the DKY chapter is holding informational, easy walks to the public. The 10 AM walk will be on the Stornetta land. Meet at the gate at intersection of Hwy 1 and Lighthouse Road, Point Arena. At 2 PM, we will take a stroll near the Point Arena Lighthouse. Meet at entry gate to Point Arena Lighthouse, 45500 Lighthouse Rd, Point Arena, CA. Nancy Morin and Lori Hubbart, leaders.
Sponsored by CNPS and the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants. The Native Plant Week Symposium includes a wildflower show, speakers, plant and book sale,
children’s activity tables, exhibits and demonstrations. It is scheduled for Saturday, April 19, 9:00 am-4:00 pm at the Sepulveda Garden Center in Encino. Admission is free. Dozens of different native plant flowers will be on display, collected from members’ home gardens and the grounds of the Theodore Payne Foundation. Native plants and seeds from the Theodore Payne Foundation Nursery will be available for purchase. Educational displays and activities from various agencies and docent groups will be offered. To see the flyer, including a list of speakers, click here.
Since 2003, the Bay Area's pioneering native garden tour has showcased gardens featuring California native plants. This community-based tour is free of charge to the public. Each tour features 40-70 gardens, most of them private home gardens, which are open on tour day in a do-it-yourself, open house format. Organized by the California Native Plant Society Santa Clara Valley Chapter in association with UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County. For more information or to register, click here.
Contributors and Photo Credits
Peyton Ellas - Concha Ceanothus and Lilac Verbena (Verbena lilacina de la Mina)
Connie Beck - Dying Oleander
John Kehoe - Bee friendly garden design in courtyard