Newsletter 2003 May – June

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter Newsletter

May/June 2003



Garden Tour, May 17 and 18, 10 AM to 4 PM

Fourteen gardens that range from an all-native habitat to gardens combining natives with drought tolerant Mediterranean plants will be open to the public on May 17 or 18. Gardens in the bottom half of the county will be open on Saturday, those in the upper half on Sunday. New on the tour this year are two gardens in Corona del Mar, an Urban Restoration in Costa Mesa, Acorn Naturalists’ landscaping in Tustin, a make-over garden in Tustin, an intense hillside garden in Cowan Heights, a front yard garden in Fullerton (inspired by last year’s front yard garden in Fullerton!), and a complete garden renovation in Fullerton. Six of the gardens were on last year’s tour. The self-guided tour guide is free.

Calendar of Events

May 1………………………. Board Meeting

May 3-4…………… San Diego County FT

May 15………………….. Chapter Meeting

May 17-18…………………… Garden Tour

Jun 5……………………….. Board Meeting

Jun 7………………… Back Bay Canoe FT

Jun 19……………………. Chapter Meeting

Jun 21…………. Plant Walk Crystal Cove

Thurs, 10-1……………….. UCI arboretum

Chapter meetings are held on the third Thursday of the month at the Irvine Ranch Water District headquarters at 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the meeting begins at 7:30. Wildflower posters and a wide variety of books are available at the meeting

Directions: From the Santa Ana Freeway (I 5) exit on Sand Canyon Road west. Pass Irvine Center Drive. Turn left at the next light onto Waterworks Road, then left into the IRWD parking lot. From the 405 exit east on Sand Canyon/Shady Canyon, turn right on Waterworks and left into the parking lot. Enter the building from the rear.

Chapter Meetings

Thursday, May 15—Dragonflies and Ways to Attract Them
Speaker: Kathy Biggs

Come and get acquainted with Earth’s very first fliers—the dazzling dragonflies. Dragonflies (Odontas) were the first animals to take to the air and 400 million years ago there was one with a wingspan of 2 feet! And while the dinosaurs came and went, dragonflies have remained relatively unchanged. There are now 4800 species in the world. Meet the Vivid Dancer, Flame Skimmer, Blue-eyed Darner and maybe even the Black Saddlebags. Odonata Queen, Kathy Biggs, admittedly obsessed and possessed by “dragonfly fever”, wrote the first local field guide, The Dragonflies of California. She will pass along her passion for these aerial predators

The program will include an introduction to the common species of dragonflies that might be attracted to a garden pond, and then will feature the speaker’s wildlife pond (which will be in the next issue of Audubon Magazine), its plants and the ways that a wildlife pond differs from a non-wildlife oriented pond. Handouts about native pond plants and the steps to creating a wildlife pond will be available. Though she won’t go into pond liners, pumps etc., Kathy’s husband Dave will be ready to answer any questions about hardware after the program.

Kathy’s new South West Dragonflies Guide won’t be ready yet, but a proto-type will be there with a sign-up sheet. Dragonflies of California, Tim Manolis’s California Dragonfly guide and a children’s dragonfly book will be available at discount prices. Go to or for a head start.

Thursday, June 19—An Evening Stroll in the Native Plant Garden at Golden West College with Dan Songster

Although this native garden in Huntington Beach is small by public garden standards it is much larger than most residential landscapes. For people interested in growing natives it is the best of both worlds: large enough to allow for a large variety of different species (trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, bulbs, grasses, etc) and small enough to show a practical side regarding spacing of plants and overall garden design. The Garden has its share of normal garden pests and soil problems as well as problems particular to natives themselves. By mid-June, the spring annuals will be long gone, but the trees, shrubs, and perennials are always evolving. Young plants grow, old plants die and are replaced by young plants. Trees mature, bulbs acclimate, annuals re-seed, perennials naturalize. By revisiting a garden each year, the subtle changes become a kind of discovery and surprise. Come and enjoy refreshments as we wind our way through this collection of textures, fragrances, and colors.

Golden West College is located at 15744 Golden West Street, Huntington Beach. To get there, take Beach Blvd. north off the 405 Freeway. Immediately turn left on McFadden. Follow McFadden to Golden West Street and turn left again. Take the first legal left turn off Golden West into the parking lot and drive across it toward the Automotive Technology Building. Parking will be “citation free” after 6 PM. (Do not park in Staff slots, however.) Follow signs to the garden.

Welcome to our new Board and Committee members

Our chapter has been very fortunate in the quality of those serving as chapter officers and board members as well as volunteers, but the numbers of people willing to take on the chores of keeping this chapter running and pushing forward have been a little thin, especially of late. Understandably, this put a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of a few. This workload has, at times, reduced the pleasure of serving the Chapter as well as reducing our effectiveness as a board.

Recently our chapter newsletter put out a request for volunteers. Sarah Jayne cleverly arranged this request as a section of classified advertisements. This was part of a deliberate attempt to incorporate more chapter members in the running of the chapter itself, to spread the work and make it more enjoyable for all, as well as to collectively do a better job in carrying out our Chapter’s mission, having energetic people handle readily identified portions of chapter business. In short to reinvigorate and reorganize the chapter so we can get more done and not burn anyone out.

As a board we decided which offices and volunteer posts needing filling the most and came up with brief job descriptions to guide our new people. (After-all, it’s always nice to know what you are getting into). After the request for help went out we waited and in addition, we called one or two and made our needs further known.

Happily, the response has been wonderful. Our goal is to have one person doing one job, (or maybe two) rather than juggling three or four different responsibilities, and we are nearing that goal! Some of the people who have answered the call and recently volunteered to help include: Deanna Epley serving as Hospitality chairperson, Helen de la Maza on the K-12 Education Committee, Brad Jenkins as Treasurer (and special projects), Mary Arámbula for Book Sales, Joan Hampton for Public Relations, and Mark Rozelle as our new Recording Secretary.

Volunteers continuing in their positions include Todd Heinsma in Outreach and Volunteer coordination, Bob Allen on the Education Committee, Steve Hampson on the Field Trip Committee, Bill Neill with Invasive Exotics, Robb Hamilton and Fred Roberts as our two Conservation Chairs, David Bramlet as our Rare Plants contact, and of course our rock-solid core of Celia Kutcher, Sarah Jayne, and my humble self performing several other tasks.

Thanks to those of you who have volunteered to help the Chapter at a time when the greatest challenges in conservation lie before us, when interest in growing native plants in school gardens and in home landscapes has never been higher, and at a time when interest in and admiration for our surrounding wildlands, and the ecological lessons found within these complex communities, continues to grow.

The Orange County Chapter of CNPS is committed to expanding efforts in education, outreach, conservation, and horticulture, hopefully broadening the sense of stewardship we have towards the remarkable habitat still remaining in Orange County.

If you are considering being more active in the Chapter please feel free to call me (949)768.0431 or Email at <>.

—Dan Songster

Thank you, Elizabeth!
Elizabeth Songster is stepping down from her position as Chapter Treasurer and has handed the reins over to Brad Jenkins. Elizabeth has done an excellent job with the intricacies of our finances for four years, keeping track of inventories, preparing the year-end financial statements for State CNPS, creating monthly financial reports for our Chapter Board meetings, and calculating and paying our quaterly sales tax due the state. She has paid bills, checked balances, juggled numbers, and on occasion called the experts in Sacramento. She has also served as our sales person at our monthly general meetings, giving discounts when due, getting the taxes just right, and doing it all with a smile. Elizabeth is spending more time with family and especially with her two genius grandsons, Jack & Charlie. She has been and will continue to help Brad with the Treasury transition and will continue to be her helpful, happy self at the general meetings each month.
Thanks again, Elizabeth

Orange County Conservation News

There are lots of hot environmental issues in Orange County, and they all need all the help they can get. Native plant issues are part of all of them; preserving plants and habitat requires preserving the land they occupy. Here are some of the issues—pitch in with the one nearest you!

The Missing Middle: The Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor is missing a big piece. This issue was detailed at our March 20 meeting. Contact Hills for Everyone, .

Saddleback Canyons: OC CNPS has joined other environmental organizations in a suit against the County Board Of Supervisors, who have approved three large developments for the area between O’Neill Park and the National Forest boundary. At least 500 mature oaks will be removed to widen Live Oak Canyon Road and to do massive grading for about 450 new homes. Historic Cook’s Corner will be replaced by 5.5 acres of commercial development. Contact .

Trabuco District, Cleveland National Forest: Alternative 6 is the most environment-friendly in the proposed Southern California Forest Plan Revision. Environmentalists are working to convince the Forest Service that preservation of nature is its most important task. Contact .

Rancho Mission Viejo: The Ranch’s undeveloped 22,851 acres is the last large privately owned open space in Orange County. It is home to many now-rare species and habitats, and still is what all southern California used to be like. The Ranch’s fate is in a lengthy process of being decided. Contact .

Dana Point Headlands: The Coastal Commission will hear the Headlands issue sometime between June and October, with the later time more likely. In the meantime, the Dana Point Headlands Action Group’s lobbying campaign continues. Contact .

There are lots more Orange County environmental issues: Bolsa Chica, Banning Ranch/Santa Ana River Park, Coyote Hills, Crystal Cove—the list goes on! All will welcome your help

Celia Kutcher, Chapter representative, Dana Headlands and SCORE


UCI Arboretum Weed War: Crew 1, Weeds 0!

Steady work by our small but diligent Weed Crew has turned back the tide of spring weeds in the UCI Arboretum’s California Native Collection. This spring’s generous rains encouraged a bumper crop, but also made the ground just right for pulling, digging and hoeing. And there’s the added satisfaction of knowing that we got them out before they went to seed and left a legacy of even more weeds next year. Now, broad swathes of California poppies glow where there were masses of weeds. Flush new growth and flowers sparkle in the Otay Mountain Collection, planted last fall. Ceanothus, Flannel Bush, Encelia, Elderberry and more are putting on their spring show. And we get to work amidst all this splendor, and know that we are helping to make it even better next year.

The few, the dedicated, the Weed Crew would love to have you join us! Just come to the Arboretum on Thursdays around 9:30 AM. We work until around 1:30, but it’s OK to work for just an hour or so. Hat, gloves, water, sturdy work shoes, and sunscreen are advised; bring your favorite weeding implement if possible. Canceled if there’s more than 1/4” of rain within 12 hours; if in doubt call Celia Kutcher, 949-496-9689 before 8:30 Thursday morning.

Directions: from 405, go south on Jamboree to Campus Dr. Turn left on Campus, then immediately right on an unnamed campus service road. Turn left into the Arboretum gate, park on the gravel behind the greenhouse.

Picnic in the Park to Support Shipley Nature Center

Saturday May 17, 11:30 AM – 2:00 PM

Friends of the Shipley Nature Center are presenting a lunchtime picnic for everyone to enjoy. Featured activities include a performance of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax; tours of the grounds; nature related crafts; educational booths; games and music; a nature scavenger hunt; and a raffle. Suggested items for you to bring are a blanket, picnic food, family and friends. For more information visit

Directions: From the 405 freeway, take Golden West exit towards the beach. Turn right on Slater and left on Edwards. From Edwards, turn into Central Park Drive and park towards the end of the street in the parking lot. Follow the painted line to Shipley Nature Center.

Restoration and Wetland Education Program In Upper Newport Bay

Would you like to know how successful our restoration efforts are?

Are you interested in learning how to identify native and non-native plants?

It is critical that we gather information from restoration sites so that we can measure the success of our plantings and pullings, and make any necessary changes to our methods. There will be a training on plant identification and data collection on Wednesday, May 7, 9 AM to 12 PM, meeting at Shellmaker. Monitors will collect quantitative records from all sites (Bayview Marsh and Scrub, Big Canyon Kiosk Garden, Shellmaker Dunes) during the month of May; including growth data, pollinator and wildlife use. Qualitative data needs to be recorded at least every two months, including observations of invasion by non-native weeds and irrigation needs. If you would like to help, but can’t make the training, please let Kristina know, (949) 640-0286 or

Field Trips

For more information or to make a reservation, contact Sarah Jayne at 949-552-0691 or

June 7 (Saturday)—Canoe Trip on the Upper Newport Back Bay

Chapter member Todd Heinsma has once again arranged a canoe tour of the Back Bay. This year, UNB naturalists, experts on the flora and fauna of this unique region, will join us. Expect to see plenty of garden escapees and invaders, but also pure stands of upper salt marsh flora up close and a ‘deep inside’ view of the Back Bay as a vital botanical sanctuary amidst suburbia. Meet at 9:00 AM at Shellmaker Island, 600 Shellmaker—down the little dirt road that veers left from Back Bay Drive as soon as the marsh begins. Todd will place himself conspicuously in the parking lot 30 minutes before the meeting time. There are 9 canoes available at 2 people to a canoe, so the trip is limited to 18 persons. Boats, vests, and paddles are provided gratis. We will all need to sign a waiver at the start so please arrive promptly. RSVP required.

Local Walks

Laguna Coast Wilderness: 949-494-9352.

For walks in the Northern and Southern Reserves call The Nature Conservancy at 714-832-7478.

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park:

Thomas Riley Regional Park: 949-728-3420

Rancho Mission Viejo Land Conservancy: 949-489-9778

Crystal Cove State Park: 949-497-7647
Docent-led hikes in the backcountry every Saturday and Sunday. Plant walk with Sarah Jayne, June 21, 9 AM. Parking is $5