The hills and canyons around San Diego are tough, dry terrain, but hundreds of amazing native plant species thrive nonetheless. Although rugged, these hills are home to delicate flowers like Weed’s mariposa lily, mission manzanita, and great horned owls. Dennis Mudd, founder of MusicMatch and Slacker Radio, wanted to recreate this same natural beauty on his six-acre property — a desire that ultimately ignited his passion to help Californians restore nature one garden at a time.
After so much debate about how to water native plant gardens, you’d think it had all been said. Let me add some tips and techniques from Eddie Munguia, who is the Horticultural Lab Technician at the South Bay Botanic Garden, located on the campus of Southwestern College in Chula Vista. Eddie installed a native garden over four years ago and one of the key objectives of the botanic garden is to do just this sort of closely observed research and analysis.
This article, first published in the January/February 2011 issue of The American Gardener, is reprinted with permission of the American Horticultural Society.
Since leaving Michigan almost 30 years ago, I have made the acquaintance of many fine California native plants. My list of favorites keeps changing but Cleveland's shooting star (Dodecatheon clevelandii, now known asPrimula clevelandii) is always among them.
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2017 Plant Science Workshops
We're pleased to announce the following plant science workshops, which begin in March. For class details and registration, please visit the website here or contact Becky Reilly at
for more information.
March 1-3, Redlands
Taught by Julie Evens, Todd Keeler-Wolf, John Menke
$665 CNPS Members, $695 Non-Members
Vegetation Rapid Assessment/Relevé
October 3-5, Bodega Bay
Taught by Jennifer Buck-Diaz & Anne Klein
$375 CNPS Members, $395 Non-Members; +$265 for onsite meals & lodging (optional)
Chapter Events - A Sampling from Around the State
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
Shasta Chapter New Year's Day Westside Trail Hike Sunday, January 1, 9:30 a.m.
Traditional New Year's Day hike up the Westside Trail to the top of the world, this time starting at the end of Kilkee Drive near Mary Lake, and ending at the Upper Salt Creek Trail parking lot at Lower Springs Road and Valparaiso Way. This is a four-mile hike with a 500' elevation climb. Meet at the Placer Street Holiday Market parking lot near CVS at 9:30 a.m. to arrange car shuttle. Walk leaders will be Aston smith and David Ledger. For more info call David at 530-355-8542.
East Bay Chapter Fetid Adder's Tongue at Huddart County Park Sunday, January 8, 2 p.m.
Meet in the parking lot just past the pay station. David Margolies
(510-393-1858 cell) will lead a hike on the Crystal Springs Trail where fetid adder’s tongue (Scoliopus bigelovii, Liliaceae) usually blooms in early January. We have seen it here most every year except 2013 and 2016. This is a gentle trail, losing about 200 feet over about 1/2 mile to the creek. The area is second growth redwood and mixed evergreen forest. Huddart County Park, 1100 Kings Mountain Road, Woodside (San Mateo County), CA.
Presenter Jeff Bisbee, photographer and botanist. Manzanita (Arctostaphylos) is one of the most recognized shrubs in California, identified even by botanical novices. Nearly all of the 100+ Arctostaphylos species and subspecies occur either in California or northern Baja California. Bisbee will share his photographs, and highlight the main distinguishing characters for identifying Arctostaphylos. He will also examine the local species and a few key spots in the area, including a place in Placer County where four species are growing together along with numerous hybrids. From there, he will feature some of the manzanita “hot spots” throughout California, which include San Bruno Mountain, Santa Cruz Mountains, and San Luis Obispo. Shepard Garden and Arts Center, McKinley Park, 3330 McKinley Blvd, Sacramento.
Santa Cruz Chapter Plant Keying and Program Meeting Monday, January 16, 5:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.
Plant Keying session from 5:30-7:30. Program at 7:30 by Martin Quigley, executive director, UCSC Arboretum, "Musings on the UC Santa Cruz Arboretum: What's Next?" Meeting location: UCSC Arboretum Horticulture Building, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz.
It’s a stinky little flower but an exciting one since it’s one of the first of the new year! Let’s see if the intriguing fetid adder’s tongue is blooming at Mount Madonna. If not, we’ll have a nice hike in a lovely forest. We'll do about a 4-½ mile loop with approximately 800 ft. elevation gain. Bring water and lunch. Arrive early; we depart at 9:30am from the far end of the parking lot in front of REI in Marina or from Sprig Recreation Area at 10:35am. Call for a reservation. Leaders: Andy Werner & Lynn Bomberger, 375-7777. Lynn has the new Monterey County Wildflowers—a Field Guide by Rod Yeager and Michael Mitchell for purchase at the trailhead.
Grants for research and projects that increase the understanding and appreciation of native plants and ecosystems in the Eastern Sierra are available to graduate students, college students, and primary and secondary students (K-12). Grant recipients receive up to $1,000 each for expenses and are asked to present their results to the Bristlecone Chapter either at a regular meeting or in the chapter newsletter. The deadline for the 2017 Grant is January 20, 2017. All applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision by early March 2017. More information and application here.
El Dorado Chapter Program Meeting: Scientific Botanical Exploration of the Pacific Region Tuesday, January 24, 7 p.m.
Join local naturalist/arborist John Kipping for an evening devoted to honoring those who endured great hardships in exploring our vanished landscapes. This program traces the history of scientific botanical exploration of our region from the mid-1700s through the 1850s. We follow both the ship-based journeys of Cook, Vancouver, and others, and the land-based explorations of Lewis and Clark, Douglas, Fremont, and more as they encounter and introduce so many of our botanical treasures to the world. Many of our favorite native plants bear specific names honoring these early explorers/scholars. Planning Commission Room, Building C of the County Government Center, 2850 Fairlane Ct, Placerville.
In her recently published book, Barbara Eisenstein guides us through the process of transforming a traditional, high water-use yard into a peaceful habitat garden abounding with native plants. Because there are so many variables in gardening, answers to even simple questions about establishing a native plant garden are rife with caveats and exceptions. Wild Suburbia describes some of these variables so that gardeners will be better able to select the best practices for their own conditions. Eaton Canyon Nature Center, 1750 N. Altadena Dr, Pasadena.
Paul Wilson, professor of biology at California State University Northridge and a founding member of the CNPS Bryophyte Chapter will lead a fascinating exploration of the non-vascular plants of Orange County. The San Juan Loop Trail is a 2.3-mile path that loops around the back of a hill and past San Juan Falls, a 15-foot drop. It passes through a moist, cool and shaded canyon that will provide plenty of bryophytes for us to examine. Included will be a color printed guide to the bryophytes of this trail for each participant. Meet at 9 a.m. at the trailhead, which is off the Ortega Highway (SR 74), 19.5 miles from the San Diego Freeway. Once in the parking lot we will meet on the east (right side), just across the road from the famous Candy Store. Parking here does require a USFS Adventure Pass! We recommend that you purchase the pass in advance from Big 5, Sport Chalet, REI, or most large sports retailers, since you will not be able to purchase it on site. Free and open to all. Physical difficulty: Easy to Moderate. Limited water or restrooms. Bring hat, sunscreen, camera, notepad and water. A magnifying glass is highly recommended. Trip time: approximately three hours.
Contributors and Photo Credits
Dennis Mudd's native California oasis - Liv O'Keeffe
Eddie Munguia, Horticultural Lab Technician South Bay Botanic Garden - Susan Krzywicki