Newsletter 2004 November – December

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter

November/December 2004




Clay has been softened, the shovel stands ready. From the gardener’s point of view, this is the best time of year. With unusual October rains, this year is especially glorious—bright green sprouts on the Fuchsia-flowering Gooseberry that looked dead, leaves cleaned of dust, nature renewed.

In addition to walks in the wild to visit autumn’s renewal, opportunities abound to get your hands in the soil. The UCI Arboretum native garden, the Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge, the Shipley Nature Center—all need the help of volunteers. You will notice, of course, that dates conflict. That’s just how it goes. Find a project that is convenient to you and give any little piece of spare time that you have. Gratitude for your effort will be visible for years to come.

Sarah Jayne, Chapter President


Shipley Nature Center
UCI Arboretum
Winter Chores for the Native Garden
Acorn Grant
Other Opportunities
Santa Ana Park Naturalists Program
Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy
Growing Native is Alive!
California Plant Names Website
Field Trip Fashion
Local Walks (including Crystal Cove)


November 18 (Thursday)—Winter Chores for the Native Landscape
Speaker: Dan Songster

It was David Fross who correctly stated: “The success or failure of natives in the garden is dependent on regular, informed maintenance.” While maintenance is lower with native gardens, unfortunately native landscapes are often touted as being the type you install and then forget about. Dan will show this to be a misconception for most native gardens. Winter is a key time for accomplishing many of the chores that make the native garden so outstanding in late winter and spring. His talk will include plant selection; placement and installation tips; mulching; winter watering; weeding; and especially pruning. If you have a native garden or are contemplating installing one, this talk is for you. Even if you don’t have a native garden, you will find Dan’s insights into native plant gardening informative, interesting, and—yes—amusing. (See also Dan’s article on page 3)

In addition to his duties as Head Groundsman at Golden West College, Dan Songster is the Co-Director of the Golden West College Native Garden. He is past president of our CNPS chapter and is active on the state Horticulture Committee.

December 16 (Thursday)—Holiday Potpourri

In the spirit of the season we will be having a special meeting where members are invited to share up to ten slides. What types of slides will be of interest? A plant you’d like to have identified, (no guarantees…), one you’ve seen out of its known range, an interesting plant and bird/butterfly/insect relationship, a good field trip slide, a nice garden shot, a plant that keeps dying on you (or one that does unexpectedly well), a lovely picture, or a slide that just makes you laugh! We can do slide or digital. If you wish to bring a snack for all to share by all means do! We will be having our usual December spread on the hospitality table and invite everyone to come and enjoy the fun.


Recent rains soaked the ground nicely just in time for planting natives at UCI Arboretum. Two planting sessions are on tap in coming weeks:

  • Saturday, November 13, 9 AM-1 PM, organized by Arboretum staff; cold drinks, munchies and pizza lunch will be provided.
  • Saturday, December 4, same time, will be a rain date for November 13, or another planting day. CANCELLED
  • Our regular Thursday workdays, 9:30-1:30, when the weather is right. There will be no workday on November 11, when the Arboretum (along with the rest of the campus) is closed for Veteran’s Day.

The recent rains have also germinated about a zillion weed seeds! It’s time to get after them before they get big! Any of the planting/work days may be cancelled if there’s 1/4 inch or more of rain within the previous 12 hours. If in doubt, contact Celia by 8 AM that day. No reservations required—just show up! Hat, gloves, water, sturdy work shoes, and sunscreen are advised; bring your favorite tools if possible. Directions to the arboretum are on page 4.


The State CNPS Annual Conservation Planning Meeting was held in Santa Clara on Oct. 15. (Thanks to CNPS Executive Director Pam Muick for providing a brief summary.). Over one hundred topics (from a previous meeting’s ballot and from a survey) were lumped into 15 major topic areas, from which priorities were set:

  1. Two OVERARCHING conservation items received unanimous support:
  2. Hire a part-time Conservation Coordinator to assist Conservation Chair David Chipping.
  3. Establish a permanent litigation fund.
  4. The top five CORE PROJECTS: (Core projects and activities are those that can be completed by current program volunteers and staff within the current “core budget”. The core budget is equal to last year’s program budget, including continuing grant funding but not including contracts. For Conservation this is approximately $160,000 or about 14% of CNPS’ overall budget. The Conservation budget has been at this percentage for the past two years.)
  5. NCCP/HCP effort: provide toolkits and regional technical support staff to Chapters.
  6. Forestry, state and federal: maintain vigilance on state forestry and research programmatic agreements.
  7. Legislation: grassroots organizing and work on OHV fees, the CPR, and funding.
  8. Federal Policy: continue monitoring federal land, species, management and related policies.
  9. Wetlands: focus on regulations, development projects, vernal pools, evaluating policy.
  10. Top four NEW MONEY PROJECTS: (This category includes any activities or projects which require new or additional funding. The likely sources of this funding are grants, donations, contracts and bequests.)
  11. NCCP/HCP effort: provide toolkits and regional technical support staff to Chapters.
  12. Forestry, state and federal: maintain vigilance on state forestry and research programmatic agreements.
  13. Wetlands: focus on regulations, development projects, vernal pools, evaluating policy.
  14. Local Developments; fund regional technical support staff.

OC CNPS was among the Chapters asking for more help from regional technical support staff, especially for the NCCP/HCP effort.


As part of a national campaign to rally support for the Endangered Species Act, the Center for Biological Diversity has committed to getting 10,000 signatures on a pledge affirming the Act’s importance. The Endangered Species Act is our nation’s strongest environmental law. It has saved over a thousand species from extinction, including bears, butterflies, whales, minnows, palm trees, lilies and even the unarmored three-spine stickleback. Sign the pledge at

The Center for Biological Diversity and CNPS have filed a lawsuit to compel the Bush administration to follow federal law and designate critical habitat for six extremely rare plant species found in the San Bernardino, San Jacinto, Laguna, and Palomar mountains of San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego Counties. These plants are threatened with habitat loss and destruction from off-road vehicles, livestock grazing and trampling, urban sprawl, mining, non-native invasive weeds, and other factors. The plants are all listed under the federal Endangered Species Act as threatened or endangered. Contacts: Daniel R. Patterson, Ecologist, Center for Biological Diversity, 951.659.6053 x306 or 520.906.2159 cell; Dr. Emily Roberson, Senior Policy Analyst, California Native Plant Society, 415.970.0394. For a copy of the complaint, contact Center Attorney Adam Keats, 415.436.9682 x304. More on critical habitat at:

State CNPS is monitoring the “High-Speed Rail (HSL)” issue. It may not affect much here; there are not many rare plants, or plants at all, in prospective ROWs in OC. See maps at


BOLSA CHICA: The Coastal Commission hearing on the proposal to construct a gated 379-unit community on 77 acres on the upper mesa at Bolsa Chica was put off yet again in October. The proposal is the latest in the decades-old struggle by developer Hearthside Homes to build on southern California’s largest remaining wetland. See and

COYOTE HILLS: The DEIR for development of the Hills is still under Fullerton city re-review after a public comment period. Additional public input is TBA.

DANA POINT HEADLANDS: In September the Dana Point Planning Commission and City Council rubber-stamped their acceptance of the Coastal Commission’s August approval of the Headlands Development and Conservation Plan. The Commission’s approval imposed 198 “suggested modifications” on the Plan; these modifications actually do make the Plan less worse. The Commission’s final certification is expected in November.

The Coastal Act was stood on its head by the Coastal Commission’s approval. Surfrider Foundation fully intends to use every administrative and legal means available to uphold the letter, spirit, and intent of the Act, one of California’s most important environmental laws. It is not yet known if or how CNPS may join them. Contact:

HOBO-ALISO RIDGE: Voices Of Wilderness (VOW), a coalition of Laguna Beach environmental groups formed to focus on preservation of this ridge, is putting lots of creative energy into the effort. Contact:

PUENTE/CHINO HILLS: The City of Brea has filed two lawsuits contesting the purchase of the mouth of Tonner Canyon (which is in Orange Co.) by the City of Industry (which is in LA Co.). See

RANCHO MISSION VIEJO: OC CNPS’ position–that we oppose approval of the Ranch Plan (or any of its Alternatives) unless and until the NCCP/HCP process is completed, and that the Cristianitos watershed must be preserved–was reiterated at hearings before the County Planning Commission and the San Clemente City Council. A brief letter from OC CNPS re-reiterating these points, originally made in our 18-p. response to the DEIR, has been sent to the Board of Supervisors.

OC CNPS has requested help on the RMV/Toll Road issue from the State conservation program in 2005-06. It is certainly our key regional issue this coming year, and well beyond. A key decision: what CNPS will defend and what CNPS is willing to trade off for preservation of the defended area. It’s likely that, at some point, CNPS may want/need to be part of a multi-group environmental lawsuit. (Sierra Club has been campaigning anti-tollroad/anti-development on this for several years; it’s one of their national priority issues. Surfrider is in it to protect Trestles by protecting the San Mateo watershed.) See:

SADDLEBACK CANYONS: A settlement offer was made by Rutter Development Corp. A counter-offer was made by the environmental coalition (which includes OC CNPS) working to appeal the Saddle Creek and Saddle Crest developments. No resolution was known at press time.

If the appeal continues, OC CNPS is committed to applying its own funds to further legal costs, rather than State CNPS funds. State Litigation Committee has decided that the suit has merit and is in line with CNPS policies and is now in a wait and watch mode; it will not be giving detailed legal advice.

SANTA ANA RIVER: Meetings continue to be held by the Lower Santa Ana Watershed Coalition, to bring together stakeholders in the Lower Santa Ana Watershed. Contact

TRABUCO DISTRICT, CLEVELAND NATIONAL FOREST: The Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage Project (LEAPS) calls for damming upper Morrell Cyn, a headwaters of the San Juan watershed on the edge of the San Mateo Wilderness, to be the upper reservoir for a pumped-storage electrical generation facility. Lake Elsinore water would be pumped up through a 7,890 ft.-long concrete-lined power shaft to the 5,750 acre-foot main reservoir behind the 180-ft. dam, then run back down to the lake to generate electricity. The energy would be distributed via 30 miles of 500-Kv transmission line, proposed to run along the eastern rim of the Santa Anas.

Cost/benefit analysis indicates that the project will use more electricity than it generates. It also would:

– Have the potential to release Lake Elsinore water (full of MBTEs and other nasties) into the San Juan watershed, thus potentially damaging the many endangered spp and habitats between there and the ocean. The impounded water will undoubtedly soak into adjacent aquifers, affecting the wells that draw from them.

– Disturb an Arroyo Toad site just downstream from the dam site.

– At the minimum, affect the big oak woodland in Morrell Cyn.

The lead agency, which is also the proponent, for this damaging project is the Lake Elsinore Valley Municipal Water District, a subsidiary of Nevada Hydro. This is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse; the real purpose of this project is to make money for the energy industry.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has held scoping meetings on this project; the EIS process will begin in early 2005 with the draft expected to be ready in July. See

—Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair

We thank Celia profusely for the time required to prepare this overview of the conservation issues that face us. While not all the news is bad, you will notice that this bi-monthly report takes up more and more space with each newsletter. Be worried! Obviously, the number of challenges to the environment is growing. One person cannot tackle them all. Choose your battle carefully then support it to the fullest extent that you are able. [Ed]



A Few Winter Chores for Native Gardens

—Dan Songster

As the weather cools and plant growth slows we often have time off from routine garden work. So rather than sit and sip a hot mug of whatever (while leafing through promising seed catalogs), we choose not to ignore our gardens. Instead we find this to be an ideal time to get our gardens ready for the coming spring, a season full of other pleasant but demanding distractions. I hope you find the following suggestions for Winter garden activities useful.

Pruning: For those natives that benefit from trimming, this is the very best time to prune, shear, or in some cases hack away in your garden. Plants such as Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis); Mexican Elderberry (Sambucus mexicanum); Water Birch (Betula fontinalis), and False Indigo Bush (Amorpha fruiticosa) often lack structure. During winter they are bare of leaf, making it much easier to select and prune out unwanted crossing and cluttering branches. These cuts you make in winter will direct spring’s growth.

Shearing about one third of foliage volume suits plants such as Cleveland Sage (Salvia clevelandii), Island Snapdragon (Galvesia speciosa), and Coyote Mint (Monardella villosa). This helps create a more compact plant that is more densely flowered in spring. Lighter shearing (if any), is used on plants such as Chaparral Mallow (Malacothamnus fasciculatus), Hollyleaf Cherry (Prunus ilicifolia), and Woolly Blue Curls (Trichostema lanatum).

Some plants are a bit too vigorous for our small home gardens, but we can’t resist their beauty. Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri), Coast Sunflower (Encelia californica), and Wild Rose (Rosa californica) fall into this category. These do well with a severe pruning, to the ground, every year or two. (With the Romneya it’s every year for sure). California Fuchsia (Epilobium californica) also can be treated in this manner. These plants are fast growers and with the exception of Encelia, spread quickly by underground rhizomes. Care should be taken in placing these aggressive plants in your garden.

Some mature grasses and grass like plants benefit from a close cropping every year or two. The Needlegrasses (Nassela sp) and Melica Grass (Melica imperfecta) are good examples of graceful but eventually messy plants. Fresh growth is promoted by such trimming accomplished with either a sharp pair of hand pruners or a weed-eater. I have found mature Blue-Eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum), to respond nicely as well, though it really isn’t needed to remain somewhat tidy. Not all grasses or grass-like plants benefit equally from such artificial grazing. Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens), Purple Three-Awn Grass (Aristida purpurea ), and the lovely blue colored Red Fescues (Festuca rubra) are three which seem to prefer being left alone or can at least benefit from a couple years pruning neglect and still look stunning most of the year.

Vines: Now is a great time to trim and train your native vines. Heart-Leaved Penstemon (Keckiella cordifolia) lacks the tendrils needed for solo climbing but looks excellent along a fence. The use of adhesive discs with twist ties helps bring their blooms up to eye level. Remember, it prefers cool roots, so mulch or perhaps plant inside a shrub such as Lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia), allowing it to grow up through the foliage and its blossoms to cascade down in late spring and early summer. California Grape (Vitis californica) enjoys a good pruning about now. I usually take about a third off of young plants, just above a growth point. Older, established plants can usually be trimmed back as hard as is needed without harm. Vines pulling away from the fence or arbor should be held in place with stretch tie. Virgins Bower (Clematis sp.) looks best hanging from the lower branches of a small tree or draped down the side of a large shrub. Disobedient runners should be wound up through its “host” plant before the new, tender growth of spring sprouts.

Transplanting: Winter’s cooler temperatures and higher humidity mean less shock to the plant you are moving. Often such moves can stimulate new growth and vigor in a plant that was unhappy in its prior spot. Have the new hole dug to the right depth before carefully lifting out the plant from its old home and gently setting it in place. Install with root crown slightly above surrounding grade. Unless rain is imminent create a basin and water immediately. Do not fertilize transplants.

Wildflowers: If you have seeded your garden with wildflowers it is probable that they share their seedbed with several non-native annuals. It is best to weed these areas while these weeds are small and easy to pull, and before they begin competing for the nutrients and water the wildflowers need. This is much easier if you know what wildflower seedlings look like, (as opposed to germinating weeds). Sow a small amount of each seed in a flat and label accordingly. You will see what the immature plants look like and what not to weed. Unfortunately, snails and slugs seem to prefer wildflowers (and our young bulbs as they emerge!) over weeds so whether with bait or some home remedy, get them!

Stem Rot: One of the most important duties of the native gardener regardless of season, is an inspection of root crowns. There should be NO mulch up against plant stems (or tree trunks). Even more important, no soil should be washed up against the plants stem or trunk. This happens most commonly on inclines when a watering basin cut into the hill fills with soil washed from above, but can also occur in level situations if plants are installed too low and surrounding soil slowly washes in. Such conditions provide just the right environment for stem rot, almost sure death for the plant. Scrape away soil until you get to the surface roots of the plant. This is especially important with woody perennials and trees. If the plant is too low, raise it. Oh, and remember to knock away the front rim of hillside watering basins in the winter to allow soils and mulches to wash out instead of piling up around the plants stem.

Propagation: As the season progresses you will notice seedlings from various native plants in your garden. No, these are not weeds! Monkeyflower, Buckwheat, California Lilac, Blue Eyed Grass, Columbine, Douglas Iris, Chaparral Mallow, Lemonadeberry, and others drop seeds that will germinate unattended in the garden. They can be carefully dug, potted up, and planted in the fall in suitable locations, or given to worthy friends. Don’t forget—spring is the time for cuttings.

Support: A bit of movement is a good thing to thicken and strengthen the trunks of young trees or shrubs, but flopping back and forth in the winter winds often causes roots to be torn from the trunk. Lightly tie your trees or shrubs to a pair of stakes placed on either side of the root ball. This gives them room to bend and flex, but limits extreme movement. When the plant’s root system is secure, untie it from the stake.

Wet Soil: Yes, there is always plenty to do in a garden; even low maintenance natives do best with some care. Unfortunately, during the wet season we must be cautious not to ruin the structure of our gardens soils. Most importantly we should avoid compacting our clay soils by trampling around on them when too wet. What is too wet? Here is Dan’s Test for clay soil workability. Dig out a shovel full of soil from your garden, raise it to a height above your knees and slowly turn the shovel upside down. If the soil stays stuck to shovel blade: Forget it. If it hesitates before falling: Forget it. If the soil releases from the shovel upon being turned, but does not break apart when hitting the earth, you are close, but should probably wait a day or two longer if you can. Obviously, the best case would have the soil breaking apart when hitting the ground. That’s when you dance happily into the garden, trimming, transplanting, and doing other winter chores, ahead of or in-between winter showers and getting ready for the spring.

Garden Journal: Don’t you have one? Now is a good time to start a garden scrapbook (Yes, while sipping on a mug of hot whatever). Fill it with photos, plant information, the date the first Humboldt Lily blossom opened [I wish! Ed.], bird arrivals, strange weather, new gardening books you have read, plants you have killed, those you have revived, recipes involving native plants, and Dan’s Soil Test results. Of course nowadays it can be most easily done on computer with digital photos, etc., but I still love the written journal with its informal sketches and ideas, taped-in plant labels, and spontaneous observations, misspellings and all. By hand or computer, a journal is a useful tool for the garden and is also a lot of fun!

Happy Gardening



The mission of the California Native Plant Society is to increase understanding and appreciation of our native plants and their natural habitats through education, science, advocacy, horticulture, and land stewardship. One of the ways in which the Orange County chapter attempts to implement this mission is through our grants program.

The goal of the Acorn Grant is to promote awareness of native plants in our local schools. While the emphasis is on upper elementary grades, we’re open to any worthy project. Recently we awarded a grant of $150 in plants to the Finley School in Westminster. This school has had a Garden Club for many years. This year, they are starting a California native plant garden. Chapter members are available as consultants and advisors on this and other school garden projects. These are exciting ventures. We look forward to watching progress in the Finley garden and assisting with others. To learn about other grants that we offer, visit our website at and click on Grants.

In addition to supporting education through our grants program, our chapter has been working on curriculum to introduce native plants to 3rd grade students. Activities are tied to the state science standards and designed to introduce native plants, their characteristics and habitats, and their distribution throughout the state. The title of the program is MAD—Move, Adapt, or Die! It has been through one field test and is undergoing adjustments at the moment. Beginning in fall of 2005, it will become a regular offering of the Traveling Scientist program, part of Inside the Outdoors, which is affiliated with the Orange County Dept of Ed.



Restoration Tuesdays—The Center is open for small groups by appointment for wild gardens, scout projects, weeding & watering. Call (714) 842-4772.

Restoration as Recreation—The Center is open to the public the first Saturday of the month from 9 AM to noon for weeding, trail maintenance, and watering. Bring garden gloves and tools, drinking water and sturdy, closed-toe shoes. On the remaining Saturdays, it is open for public enjoyment.

For directions or for a lot more information visit

Other Work Opportunities…

UCI ARBORETUM—see article on front page

Directions to the UCI Arboretum: 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.


Work with Chris Barnhill on Chaparral Hill, the native plant section of the Arboretum, any day 8:30 AM to noon. Chris will take all the help he can get!




Here are some excellent leisure classes offered by the Santa Ana Park Naturalists. Reservations are required. Call 714 571 4288 or email for more information and reservations.

#61623 Outings Class (6 weeks)
Visit some of the most beautiful places in Southern California during these casual hikes (not to exceed 3 miles in length). Classes meet at 8:00 AM at the Lawn Bowling Clubhouse. ($65 perperson)
April 2- Modjeska Canyon and Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary
April 19- Crystal Cove State Park
April 23- Limestone Canyon Reserve
April 30- UCI Arboretum and the San Joaquin Marsh Ecological Reserve
May 7- Clark Regional Park
May 14- Newport Back Bay and the Muth Interpretive Center
May 28- Chino Hills State Park
June 4- Bolsa Chica State Reserve

#61623 Gardening With Natives (4 weeks)
Learn to incorporate California’s Native Plants into your home landscape. Each paid participant receives two container plants and seeds. ($35 per person). Every Thursday in January from 6-7 PM.

#61623 Environmental Book Club (4 months, 1 book per month)
Join Park Naturalist Staff on the 1st Wednesday of each month, February –June, for a lively discussion on Environmental Literature. Cost is $20 per person to cover the cost of printing materials. First session will meet at Lawn Bowling Clubhouse

#61623 Natural and Cultural History of Santa Ana Valley (6 weeks)
Learn about what your neighborhoods were like 1 million years ago and how they have changed ($40 per
person). Thursday nights from 6-7 PM beginning May 19 and ending on June 23.

#61623 Bikes, Birds, and Bagels on the Santa Ana River (4 weeks)
Explore the Santa Ana River by bicycle, departing from Centennial Regional. Each ride will be approximately 10 miles round trip.  ($25 per person) Call for dates.

#61623 Nature Journal (1 class)
Join us on January 21-22 for this class on Nature observation and how to best capture those memories by creating an interactive Nature Journal. ($20 per Person)

#61623 Wilderness Exploration
Each of these one-day expeditions will take you into the heart of a core wilderness area and all are strenuous hikes of 10 miles or more. Each hike must be reserved individually. ($10 per person per hike).Call for dates.



If you still haven’t filled the vacant spaces in your garden and you’re willing to travel a bit, the Channel Islands Chapter will be holding their native plant sale on Saturday, November 20, from 9 AM to 2 PM at Plaza Park in downtown Ventura. They just might have something rare and unusual….

On Sunday, November 14, from 1 PM to 5 PM, there’s an interesting Geology Tour along the coastal section of Crystal Cove State Park. Each stop along the tour will reveal a story from a different geologic time, stories preserved in the rock, deeply buried, torn, shifted and now appearing on the Earth’s surface side by side through a chaotic mix of different times and events. Meet at 1 PM at the trailer in the Los Trancos parking lot. From PCH turn inland at stoplight “Los Trancos”. Car caravanning and moderate walking.

Regular Backcountry Plant Walks at Crystal Cove State Park will take place on Saturday, November 20 and Saturday, December 18. Meet at 9 AM at the El Moro Visitor Center. The usual walk is about 5 mild miles.


The Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy

For reservations, directions and further information, contact Laura Cohen or Michelle Thames at 949-489-9778. Visit the new website at

Saturday, November 6, 10 AM – Noon
“Less is More” Walk
How often do we take time to appreciate the little things in life?
Donation: $5.00/person

Saturday, November 13, 8 AM – 11:30 AM
Trail Clearing

Drinks and sandwiches provided.
Donation: FREE

Saturday, November 13, 9 AM – 11 AM
Family Nature Walk – Thanksgiving
Learn some of the traditional uses of our native plants and animals.
Donation: $5.00/adult, $2.00/child

Friday, November 26, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Full Moonlight Nature Walk
Walk the trails by the light of a full moon.
Donation: $5.00/adult

Saturday, November 27, 9:30 AM – 12 NOON
“Hike Off Your Thanksgiving”

Join us for a three to four mile walk through the beautiful Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy
Donation: $5.00/adult, $2.00/child

Saturday, December 4, 2 PM – 4 PM
Spring Wildflowers & Holiday Gift Workshop
Come to Tree of Life Nursery to discover the world of native wildflowers and plants. Find or create an unusual gift. We will have experts available at the nursery to teach you how to plant a “patio pot” full of blooming natives. Casa La Paz, the incredible straw-bale bookstore, offers books, art, and other interesting gift items. Artist Hyatt Moore will also be displaying his fine work. Join us!
Donation: Free

Saturday, December 11, 8:00-11:30 AM
Trail Clearing
See November 13

Saturday, December 11, 2:PM – 4 PM
Mushroom Walk
Join Gregg Miller, wildlife biologist, as he searches the reserve to see what’s popping up. Find out how experts identify fungi!
Donation: $5.00/adult, $2.00/child

Saturday, December 18, 10 AM – 12 NOON
Members-Only Mistletoe Hunt
Become a member of The Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy and enjoy this special event
Donation: FREE for members

Saturday, December 18, 6 PM – 8 PM
Family Starry Night
Make your own star clock and find out what the night sky can tell you (Not recommended for children 7 and under.)
Donation: $8.00/adult; $6.00/child age 8 and up

Sunday, December 26, 10 AM – 1 PM
Holiday Hike & Picnic
Join us for a three to four mile walk through the beautiful Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy sounds. Bring a picnic lunch
Donation: $5.00/adult, $2.00/child


Local Walks

Laguna Coast Wilderness: 949-494-9352. Now open on the weekends without reservations. $3 parking fee.

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

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park: 949-831-2790

Thomas Riley Regional Park: 949-728-3420

Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy: 949-489-9778

Crystal Cove State Park: 949-497-7647
Docent-led hikes in the backcountry every Saturday and Sunday. Special plant walk on the third Saturday. Meet at 9 AM at the Ranger Station inland of PCH at El Moro School, between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach. Parking is $10.

Caspers Wilderness Park: 949-923-2210



Growing Native is alive again!

For the last year I have been reorganizing 59 issues of Growing Native Newsletter into different formats so that I can make their information available to you at a significantly lower price and with less effort and money on my part. It’s great news so far as I am concerned, because I have missed you! Here are the first four:

  1. A combination of “The Basics of Growing California Native Plants,” and “The Plant Communities of California.”, everything you really need to know to grow California native plants successfully.
  2. One hundred and seventy-five perennials, 115 for dry gardens, and 60 moist or wet.
  3. One hundred and fifty shrubs, about half evergreen and half deciduous.
  4. Wildlife and inspirational true stories, my own and others.

Each segment has several bonuses (including a list of websites offering color photos of native plants), will be from 40 – 75 pages, and each will cost less than $15. You will learn more about it when you look at the new site. I am doing the writing, editing and typesetting; you are doing the printing. There is no postage or shipping.

Go to:

Questions? Call or email me. And thank you!

Louise Lacey, Growing Native, P O Box 489, Berkeley CA 94701 (831) 427-1818.

Suggested Website

May I suggest that you link to my website on California Plant Names: Latin Name Meanings and Derivations at In all modesty, I believe it is the most complete and extensive reference source available online on the meaning and derivation of California plant names, including almost 4000 references and extensive biographical information on western botanists and collectors whose names are on our plants.

Michael Charters

[This is a HUGE website, full of invaluable information. In addition to botanical names, there are sections on botanical terms, the botanical naming system, Southern California wildflowers, and much more. Along with all this are hundreds of excellent photographs. Check it out! By the way, it is not affiliated with CalFlora. Ed.]

New Feature at…

In case you haven’t looked lately, now offers on-line shopping! You can purchase books and other items directly and easily. And how about this: you can now renew your membership with a couple of clicks! Simply go to (or click on your bookmark) and go directly to Shop Onlne Now. Too easy.



Field Trip Fashion ‘04: Nostalgic and Natural

—by Haute Monde

Just because you go hiking out in the wilds doesn’t mean that you need to look wild yourself. As a CNPS member, you have the opportunity to set an example for other hikers. Your choice of clothing and accessories should reflect the dignity and prestige of our organization without being stodgy, unkempt or unfashionable.

Unlike today’s youth-oriented culture, our ancestors admired age and wisdom. But in this time of instant gratification, who wants to wait around for six or more decades to achieve that mature look? Fortunately, a shortcut is available, through judicious selection of the items of your fashion ensemble: by choosing hiking shorts instead of long pants, and leaving your hat in the car. Ladies, wear a sleeveless blouse, or even better, a halter top. These clothing choices will enable you to take advantage of cooling breezes, develop a deep, healthy tan, and, over time, a skin texture that will be the envy of young, callow hikers. Furthermore, you will be making a positive contribution to the ecological community by supplementing the food supply of ticks and mosquitoes.

Open-toed sandals complete the ensemble, and for the reasons given above. As an added advantage, you will be able to LEGALLY collect small specimens, plant oils (especially Toxicodendron diversilobum) and soil samples, even in those areas where collection is normally forbidden.

But some of you may still prefer long-sleeved shirts. If you fall into this category, choose a style with zip-open vents along the side seams, just below the armpits. These vents allow cooling breezes to circulate inside the shirt. Other hikers will admire your good taste, unless you did not have an opportunity to shower before the outing.

For a truly nostalgic Old World look, reminiscent perhaps of “The Sound of Music,” wear a set of authentic lederhosen, made entirely from natural materials (families Bovidae, Cervidae, Giraffidae or Hippopotamidae). Select a colorful set of suspenders to set them off. Replace your hiking stick with a matched set of poles, and persuade your buddies to do the same. Snicker discreetly among yourselves when you pass a hiker so gauche as to carry a single pole or other hiking implement.

Your sense of nostalgia may go back further in time, to a simpler era, predating synthetics. Forget LSD, Quaaludes, methamphetamines and other man-made chemicals. Picture dens of iniquity, where zombie-like patrons puffed on hookahs, inhaling all-natural substances from the Papaveraceae, Solanaceae or Cannabaceae families. Recapture the look of that era by using the ultimate retro accessory, a portable reservoir. This device, which looks like a backpack with an attached feeding tube, does not require you to be comatose, unlike its medical counterpart. Ladies, buy yours at R.E.I. The salesmen are sooo hunky! Maybe you can get one of them to follow you home.

You are now ready to hit the trail, to serve as a role model to hikers that you meet.