Newsletter 2006 May – June

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter

May/June 2006



Conservation Report

Field Trips

Local Parks

Book Award Winner!

Spring Plant Sale a Success!

Mt Lassen Field Study Class



May 4…………………….. Board Mtn
May 9…………….. Baker Canyon FT
May 13………………….. Mt Pinos FT
May 18………………… Chapter Mtng
Jun 1…………………….. Board Mtng
Jun 3……….. Chapter Council Mtng
Jun 15…………………. Chapter Mtng

Weed and Seed:

Thurs 10-1……………… UCI Arboretum

Any day, 8:30-noon……… Fullerton Arb

2nd Sat……………….. Irvine Open Space

3rd Sat………………………… Bolsa Chica

4th Sat……….. Upper Newport Backbay

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

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, left into the parking lot.


May 18 (Thursday)—The Strange and Fascinating Sex Life of Plants

Speaker: Joan Hampton

Illustrated with examples from our local flora, Joan will explain, in plain English, both common and extraordinary methods used by flowering plants to avoid—or to promote—self-pollination. Joan enjoys reworking technical materials for a general audience while injecting an entertaining dose of silliness. Prepare to be informed and amused.

Joan is the chapter Publicity and Membership chair, and author of the popular “Couch Potato” field trip reports in our newsletter. Born in an era where women’s primary career choices were teaching, nursing, secretarial work or motherhood, Joan was well into her thirties before she found work that offered the sense of adventure she had previously found only in her beloved science fiction novels. Among her pursuits were driving a ready-mix concrete truck and selling hydraulic truck equipment while serving weekends as a heavy equipment operator in the Seabees-Navy Reserve. Back to school and at the tender age of 49, she graduated from CSU Sacramento with a double major in Mathematics and Humanities, and with that began a new career as safety consultant where she discovered a passion for developing lively training presentations. At present she seeks to embark on a new career as a technical writer or editor.

June 15 (Thursday)—The Channel Islands Garden at the Fullerton Arboretum

Host: Chris Barnhill

Please join us at the Fullerton Arboretum for a beautiful evening stroll through the recently constructed Channel Islands garden. Only a couple of years ago a donor approached Chris Barnhill inquiring what it would take to put together a garden of plants from the Channel Islands. Chris thought about it for a few weeks and responded that he would love to design a garden with plants native to the Islands, but felt it wouldn’t attract much interest unless a significant feature such as an actual coastal bluff could be included. Fortunately the donor thought that was a terrific idea! Stone was found, cranes and backhoes arranged for and a crew hired to help with the hardscape features. What a unique opportunity—to ship in 250 tons of limestone and have it dumped on your doorstep! Anyway, Chris and friends arranged the huge boulders and thus the backbone of the garden was in place.

The garden was designed to ultimately excite the public about the unique assemblage of plants from the Islands, but to also give insight into the interesting geology and plant communities that make up our eight local islands. These communities include; Island coastal strand, coastal sage scrub, grassland, bluff scrub, chaparral and woodland communities, which all tie together to create a small, almost fantasy-like garden experience. Strolling through the coastal strand you can mingle with Astragalus miguelensis and Spergularia macrotheca; the only thing you’ll miss is a beach towel and a bikini. In a shady nook near the grassland you’ll get a rare chance to glimpse Delphinium variegatum ssp. thornei, a beautiful endemic larkspur from San Clemente Island. Swaths of Eriophyllum nevinii and Coreopsis gigantea stand impressively among seven ton limestone boulders, sharing their spot between a rock and a hard place with such oddities as Crossosoma californica and Galium catalinense ssp. acrispum. What a chance to see this wonderful garden, enjoy a tour by its designer, and ask questions to your heart’s content

Chris Barnhill has been with the Fullerton Arboretum for 6 years as the Curator of the Living Collections. He has worked at Botanic Gardens in both Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Denver, Colorado, and at nurseries in New Mexico and California. He was the photographer for two full length books on two interesting genera of plants from South Africa: Treasures of the Veld, 1999, and New Views of the Genus Conophytum, 2002. One of the species, Conophytum chrisocruxum, was named for him. In addition, he co-published a couple of new species of Conophytum from South Africa.

Chris spends much of his free time traipsing around southern California, photographing and enjoying this fantastic botanically diverse region we call home. To relax, he hides away with his wife and two cats, endless pots of exotic bulbs, and a steady supply of classical music and George Harrison recordings.

Note! The Fullerton Arboretum has also completed construction on its new classroom and museum complex. The Metropolitan Water District awarded a $45,000 grant for the design of a landscape using primarily native plants for this new complex. We will be meeting at this attractive new site, surrounded by thousands of newly planted natives, including one of Chris’s (many) favorites, the delightfully fragrant Lupinus albifrons! To maximize daylight hours, the tour will begin at promptly at 7 PM.




The upcoming June 6 election offers opportunities to improve natural OC’s environment by voting for legislators who are more environment-minded than many who now represent OC in Sacramento and DC. ACTION NOW: Check out the Calif. League of Conservation Voters’ picks at, and don’t forget to vote!

How election campaigns are funded has a big effect on who gets elected, thus on who makes the decisions on preservation of open space and rare plants and habitat. Indirectly, campaign-funding reform is a CNPS issue. A.B. 583, the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act is now before the California legislature. The bill would enact a “clean money” system, whereby candidates for state offices can “opt into” full public financing. The bill has been well thought through to ensure competitive levels of funding and to allow qualified challengers into the system. It is modeled after successful systems in Maine and Arizona. Passage and implementation of legislation such as this is ultimately the most important way to advance environmentally responsible politics. ACTION NOW: Sign a petition for passage of AB 583 at (Thanks to Dan Silver, Endangered Habitats League, for this info.)


Orange County’s Environmental Challenges/The Greening of Orange County, May 18, 5:30-7:30 PM, at the Orange County Pavilion, 801 N. Main St., Santa Ana. The event is co-sponsored by Southern California Gas Co. and the United States Green Building Council’s OC Chapter. Speakers/panelists will be Dan Silver of Endangered Habitats League, Scott Thomas of Sea and Sage Audubon, Robin Everett of Sierra Club and three other environmentalists, as well as five elected officials. The event is free, but limited to RSVP guests only. RSVP by May 15, referencing event #15657, at 1.800.427.6584 or The event will be televised on KOCE and LA36.

The River of Life Conference, May 19, DoubleTree Orange County, 100 City Dr., Orange. This daylong conference on the Santa Ana River will address ways to reduce water imports while enhancing the river’s potential as a community asset. The conference is designed to bring together stakeholders from San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange Counties to focus on watershed-wide resource issues. It will showcase new projects, highlight technological innovations, and present examples of river plans elsewhere. OC’s 1st District Supervisor Lou Correa will be the evening keynote speaker. To register, see

NEW STRATEGIC PLAN FOR OC PARKS: The Resources and Development Management Department’s Harbors, Beaches and Parks (HBP) Division has been directed by the Board of Supervisors to develop a comprehensive Strategic Plan that will address the management, operation, maintenance, expansion and development of its facilities and programs for the next 5 to 10 years.

The Strategic Plan (SP) will provide a road map to guide HBP toward achieving its new vision and mission. Performance measures will be established and incorporated into multi-year action plans that will outline the activities and resource allocations needed to implement the Strategic Plan.

The Plan will be developed through a structured process that will include a concerted effort of public outreach and involvement in the form of community meetings and a Stakeholder Advisory Committee. This process is envisioned to engage the public (including non-government organizations such as OCCNPS), staff and Board of Supervisors to share ideas, obtain input and reach a collective understanding of the strategic opportunities and constraints facing HBP now and in the future.

The first SAC meeting was April 27 (Celia Kutcher was OCCNPS rep); meetings are expected to be held monthly at the beginning and end of the process and approximately every two months during. The meetings’ purpose is to help develop the vision, goals, and objectives for the SP, and to facilitate its review through the draft final plan.

ACTION NOW: See for background on HBP and the process so far; contact with questions/comments. Contact Celia, to help represent OCCNPS on the SAC and be a part of this important committee that will have long-term results.


ALISO CREEK WATERSHED: Public Workshop 3: Evaluate Management Alternatives, the next step of the public input for the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park Resource Management Plan, will be held on May 24, 6:30-9:00 PM at Soka University Founder’s Hall Gallery, 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo. To RSVP, email or call 714-834-5845. See for more info and to download the invitation flyer.

TRABUCO DISTRICT: About 150 people—including OCCNPS Conservation Chair Celia Kutcher—attended the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) hearings on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage Project (LEAPS) in San Juan Capistrano on April 4; over 300 attended the second hearing in Lake Elsinore on April 5. The project would turn the upper reaches of Morrell Canyon (home to a large oak woodland and a 20-acre spring-fed wetland) into a reservoir into which water from Lake Elsinore would be pumped and allowed to run down again in order to create electricity. Nearly all who spoke at the hearings pointed out one or more of the project’s many environmental, economic, geologic, and other flaws and asked FERC and the Forest Service to not approve the project. In fact, the DEIS itself is highly critical of the project as proposed. FERC and the Trabuco District have proposed an alternative that would be marginally less environmentally destructive, but did not like their own alternative enough to call it the Preferred Alternative. The DEIS’ comment period ended on April 25; the Final EIS will be issued on July 20.

Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair

[Contact Celia at if you can take on responsibility for monitoring an area near you.]



To RSVP, call or email Sarah Jayne at 949.552.0691 or

May 7 (Sunday)Baker Canyon

The public is invited to attend an interpretive hike at Baker Canyon in the foothills of the Trabuco Ranger District, Cleveland National Forest, presented by the Nature Conservancy and the Santa Ana Mountains Natural History Association. For those who went on the CNPS field trip in March, this could be an interesting revisit

Meet at 8:45 AM at the Baker Canyon parking lot. The hike starts promptly at 9 AM and goes to about noon. This easy to moderate loop trail is approximately three miles in length.

Directions: From 55 freeway, take Chapman east. This becomes Santiago Canyon Road. Turn left onto Silverado Canyon Road, then left on Blackstar Canyon Road. Turn right into Baker Canyon Road, the first paved road on the right. (Disregard the sign that says, “Private—No Trespassing”) Trailhead parking is about 300 feet from Blackstar road.

For more information on the hike or the Santa Ana Mountains Natural History Association please contact Debra Clarke at (951) 736-1811 x3227.


May 13 (Saturday)—Mt. Pinos area

Note: This trip, originally scheduled in April, was postponed due to late snows.

Chapter members Chuck and Marylyn Wembly have invited us to visit their home in the Mt. Pinos area. A variety of walks are possible, from sunny to shady, meadow or woods. Their property is also a native garden in process, which offers a chance to discuss and compare gardening strategies in a different set of conditions.

Plan to arrive between 11:30 and noon. The trip takes about 2 ½ hours. An RSVP is required as Marilyn has kindly offered to provide a light lunch.



Crystal Cove State Park

Guided Backcountry Walks most Saturdays and Sundays. Meet at 9 AM at the El Moro Visitor Center. Parking is $10. 949.494.3539

The Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy

For information about events, reservations, and directions, contact Laura Cohen or Michelle Thames at 949.489.9778. or visit

Laguna Coast Wilderness

Open to the public every day from 7:30 AM to 4 PM. Maps provided for self-guided tours. Docent-led tours Saturdays. Parking $3. Call 949.494.9352 or visit

Irvine Ranch Land Reserve

For walks in the Northern and Southern Reserves call The Nature Conservancy at 714.832.7478.

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park

The Orange County Natural History Museum is located at the entrance to the park, 949.831.2790.

Thomas Riley Regional Park

For more information call 949.728.3420.


Book Award Winner!

How long have we waited for a comprehensive, accurate, and visually stunning book on gardening with California natives? Forever! And now not only do we have it, but it is winning awards!

The American Horticultural Society has announced that California Native Plants for the Garden by Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and our Chapter friend Bart O’Brien, is one of their 2006 Book Award winners! The prestigious AHS Book Award winners are chosen by horticultural and writing experts from around the nation. In evaluating the books given 2006 honors, the committee considered qualities including “authority; clarity or originality of writing; potential for lasting usefulness and appeal; and quality of illustration and production.” Certainly this book has those qualities and much, much more!

In evaluating this particular book the committee felt it spoke to a broad audience with authority, and was extremely comprehensive. Our CNPS Journal, Fremontia, though understated, did echo our thoughts: “If you have ever wished for a single source of information dedicated to California native plants in the landscape, ask no longer. . . . Along with beautiful photographs of native plant gardens taken by professionals passionate about our state’s natural beauty, the well-organized design and expert content make this a must-have for anyone who gardens in California.”

In short, California Native Plants for the Garden, available at bookstores and our meetings, is an indispensable book for anyone interested in growing native plants. Congratulations again to John Evarts of Cachuma Press as publisher, and to all three of these wonderfully talented authors and California native experts, Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and Bart O’Brien.


2006 Spring Plant Sale a Success—Because of you!

Once again the Spring Plant Sale (April 1st) at Tree of Life Nursery was a success. Thanks to all of you for coming and buying plants for your gardens. Without you there would be no sale and without this crucial fundraiser the chapter would run short of funding for our programs! You can imagine; no more scholarships, Acorn Grants, and little money for plants for the native gardens we support. So, to all of you who bought that one or two extra plants knowing that it would support your local CNPS Chapter, our heartfelt thanks!!

This year we expanded our efforts and tried to make this more than just a sale, including children’s activities, Tree of Life Garden tours, planting demonstrations, etc. It takes many volunteers to make this type of event work smoothly and we wish to thank the eager CNPS volunteers who helped make it work. Those who were able to help this year included: Mary Arambula, Laura Camp, Helen de la Maza, Deanna Epley, Thea Gavin, Joan Hampton, Nancy Heuler, Ed Hill, Sarah Jayne, Brad Jenkins, Celia Kutcher, Dick Newell, Gene Ratcliffe, Christiane Shannon, Yumi Sheih, Dan Songster, and Lois Taylor. (We apologize if this list is incomplete!)

A huge thanks also to the very special owners of Tree of Life Nursery, Mike Evans and Jeff Bohn and their excellent nursery staff! After all the presale set-up, they basically allowed us to move in for a day and do all the fun stuff (talking to the customers about native plants and gardening) while they supported us with restocking and running the cash registers and everything else. We really appreciate their generous efforts, helping make this Orange County Chapter of CNPS effective in our many programs.

Thanks again to everyone who helped to make this such a wonderful event! (If you missed this sale just think, our Fall Sale is not that far away.)



Summer 2006 Field Class: Field Study of Lassen National Park

(Registration begins April 17th. See

-Plants, Animals and Geology of Lassen!

-Two week camping trip!

-Climb a volcano!

Chaffey College:

BIOL-92LB Sp. Topics Lab: Biology 1.00 UNITS

Lassen National Park Field Trip

Instructor: D. Cosand, M.A.

Field trip dates are 7/24/06-8/06/06

Two-week field study of the plants, animals, geology, and climate of Lassen National Park. Class requires a high degree of physical fitness, as camping and hiking at higher elevations are required. Course is introductory, with no prerequisites, and is appropriate for students interested in teaching, environmental science, natural resources and allied fields.

Mandatory organizational meeting on 7/19/06 at 7 PM in LS-30-H to be allowed on the field trip.

Cost: $26 for the one unit class. Transportation paid for by the college. Students will contribute to the food kitty and bring spending money for occasional meals out.

Class info: Contact D. Cosand at 909-941-2354

Registration Info: Email: or