Newsletter 2002 January – February

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter Newsletter

January/February 2002


Calendar of Events

Jan 10……………………….. Board Mtg

Jan 17……………………. Chapter Mtg

Jan 19…………………… UCI Workday

Feb 2………………………… CNPS Conf

Feb 9…………………….. UCI Workday

Feb 14………………………. Board Mtg

Feb 16………………… Winter Stretch

Feb 21……………………. Chapter Mtg

Feb 23………………….. UCI Workday

Directions to our meeting: 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 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

A Very Special Event…
Southern California Regional Meeting of the California Native Plant Society
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.
Saturday, February 2, 2002, 1:00 PM

In order to meet the mounting pressure on our natural resources, CNPS has worked hard over the past two years to revitalize the organization. Through a process of workshops, surveys, and lengthy discussions, the basic structure has been revised and goals have been redefined. One of these goals is to generate a greater degree of active participation by the members.

With this in mind, a meeting has been set up to gather together representatives from all the Southern California chapters. All members are urged to attend. There will be afternoon meetings and workshops, a buffet supper, and an evening program.

Afternoon sessions will cover CNPS programs such as conservation, education, horticulture, plant sales, school gardens, speakers, field trips, newsletters, and web sites. These will be nuts and bolts sessions—how to do it and how to improve it. The evening program will concentrate on public outreach. Participants will also learn about the new Chapter Council at the state level and how it will function to create a more responsive organization.

In order to count noses for the supper, reservations are requested. If you can only attend part of the meeting, your participation is still valued. Please e-mail or call Sarah Jayne, or 949-552-0691, to make your reservation.

Chapter Meetings


Speaker: Don Hohimer, teacher, Alpine Union School District, San Diego County
So many Southern California gardens lack the character to make them Californian. We are drawn to live in this diverse area, in part, because we are attracted to its natural beauty. Yet, the vast majority of gardens and landscapes are devoid of native California elements. It is time to make our gardens look like they belong here! Plants admired in the wild can be brought into the home garden to give our landscapes a true Southern California identity. Don will discuss natural and organic approaches to experiencing wild California every day starting at your own front door. His specialty, however, is bringing this message to young people by actively involving his students in an appreciation of our native habitats. He will also talk about some of his many successful projects with school and community gardens. (See the current issue of Fremontia for some examples.)

Don Hohimer is a former board member and current education chair for the San Diego chapter CNPS. As a teacher in the Alpine Union School District, he has trained teachers countywide in school gardening. His students have won numerous awards for their school gardens and community service projects, including the 1998 Sea World/Busch Gardens Environmental Excellence Award and the 2001 National Garden Grant. Don is also a board member of the Back Country Land Trust which designed and installed the Alpine Native Plant Garden. He consults with Alpine locals to help them achieve a “wild look” in their own gardens.

Don is a personable spokesman for the message and we greatly appreciate that he is willing to make the long trip from Alpine after a full day of teaching 13 year-olds. The program will begin promptly at 7:30 PM.

Speaker: Fred Roberts

Fred’s latest trip to Baja with a group of fellow botanists was close on the heels of Hurricane Juliette. The party arrived just in time to catch the brief growth period engendered by the rain. On a quick, wide-ranging trip, a number of rare plants were found, at least one not yet to be described. And then, there’s “the one that got away”; they were expressly looking for a plant that had been seen on an earlier trip but not photographed. They found the plant again, but somehow, it still is not photographed.

Fred Roberts is known as the author of Vascular Plants of Orange County and a growing number of botanical illustrations. He is working on a flora of Orange County and is a very busy consulting biologist.

Speaker: Rick Burgess

And at a later date: Andy Sanders with “Black Holes in Southern California Botany”.

New at our meetings…

As a fund-raiser for the chapter and as a service to our members, we are presenting a monthly Silent Auction of rare or out of print books at each of our next five chapter meetings. A review and a starting bid price will be displayed with each book. Dan Songster has picked up these books at bargain prices in various stores throughout the state and will be happy to answer questions about them. Feel free to call or e-mail—his address is on the back of this newsletter.

Some examples are:

Native Plants for California Gardens, Lee W. Lenz, published in 1956 and long out of print,

Hortus Third—A concise dictionary of plants cultivated in the United States and Canada, still in print but very costly new,

and Southern California Gardens by Victoria Padilla, hardcover out of print, a classic.

Bring your curiosity and your checkbook to our next meeting—you may run into the very book that you can’t live without!

Conservation Issues in Orange County

The month of December brought some good news for conservation in Orange County. The Irvine Company in a stunning announcement set aside more than 11,000 acres to remain undeveloped. The number of new homes in Orange near the Eastern Toll Road was dropped to 2500 from the 14,000 or so in the original plan. The gift links Fremont Canyon with other canyons in the Santa Ana Mountains area and will preserve an important wildlife link. In addition, a 173-acre parcel in the Laguna Canyon will ease development fears in that area.

SCORE: Another cause for cautious optimism is the public process that Supervisor Tom Wilson has set up to review development plans for Rancho Mission Viejo. This process is called SCORE. Celia Kutcher, chapter vice-president, signified her intention to participate with the following letter to Supervisor Wilson:

“The Orange County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society has long been concerned about the fate of the still-natural lands within the boundaries of Rancho Mission Viejo. We have had input at various states of previous planning processes regarding that land.

Our Board feels that SCORE promises to be an equitable way to approach the issues, and has nominated me to be the Chapter’s representative in the Committee Process….”

Fred Roberts, our chapter’s Conservation Co-chair, will also be participating.

The Dana Point Headlands plan was released to mixed reviews. Fred read and commented on the botanical section. He states that plan is pretty good except for the fact that it will eliminate a lot of the rare plants on the ridge. Fred has also commented on the plan for the Arroyo Trabuco golf course.

A request for information…
The four Southern California National Forests, the Angeles, Cleveland, Los Padres, and San Bernardino, are in the process of amending their Forest Management Plans. These new plans will govern the management of these forests for the next ten years or more so CNPS needs to make sure that native plants are adequately addressed. Emily Roberson and Ileene Anderson are coordinating our comments.

Within the forests, natural areas that are particularly rich in plant and animal life are managed to enhance those features by designating them as Botanical Special Interest Areas and Research Natural Areas.

In the Cleveland National Forest, the following Special Interest Areas have been identified to determine whether they should be formally designated: Fileree Flat and Chiquito Springs. Guatay Mountain is a designated Botanical Special Interest Area. If you have information as to whether the two areas under consideration should or should not be designated, please send it to Greg Jirak, CNPS Forestry Program Coordinator, 707-882-1660, If you are aware of other areas that are particularly high quality native plant habitat, habitat for rare, endemic, or locally sensitive species, or otherwise botanically interesting which should be considered for designation. please send that information, too.

[To learn more, visit or Celia Kutcher has attended public workshops on the revision and we receive regular updates from the Forest Service.]

Weed Warrior Bill Neill continues to pursue county permits for weed removal in county parks.

The Endangered Habitats League is restructuring to become a stronger and more effective organization for the long term. After ten years “at the helm”, Dan Silver is stepping down, but he intends to continue his program work in a staff capacity. They are seeking a new Executive Director. They are also opening a new staff position, that of Inland Empire Project Director. If you or anyone you know might be interested in either position, check their web site at or call 323-654-1456.

Fort Irwin expansion threatens Lane Mountain Milkvetch. Fort Irwin, a military training center, is located in the East Mojave desert. Expansion plans have the potential to eliminate this Federally Listed Plant. The Army is conscious of its existence and has done extensive surveys to define its range. Letters are needed to support its protection. Go to their web site and check on Notices for more information.


While not complete, the following is an outline of field trips to come. You will see that we still have a few open dates! For some, details about time and meeting place will be supplied in subsequent newsletters. For more information call or e-mail Sarah Jayne at (949) 552-0691 or Non-members are welcome.

January 19 (Saturday)—UCI Arboretum Workday
See Announcements

February 2 (Saturday)—CNPS Membership Meeting

February 9 (Saturday)—UCI Arboretum Workday
See Announcements

February 16 (Saturday)—Winter Stretch on the Beach
Ocean bluff vegetation is often neglected in our field trip planning so what better way to enjoy it than to get out into the fresh air of winter with a walk along the bluffs and beaches of Crystal Cove State Park. This year, we will have the expertise of a geologist to explain the strata that form the bluffs and the boulders that lie exposed on the beaches. This walk is a follow up to a geology talk at the Crystal Cove visitors’ center on January 16 at 7 PM. (see Announcements) and Crystal Cove Interpretive Association members are invited to join us.

When we tried this last year, a cold, blustery rain short-circuited our plans. Our goal is to walk the three miles from Pelican Point to Reef Point, then shuttle back. Bring rain gear—a light rain should not deter us. Meet at 9:00 AM at the farthest parking lot at the Pelican Point entrance (immediately opposite Newport Coast Drive at Pacific Coast Highway). Parking is $3 if an attendant is on duty, free if not.

February 23 (Saturday)—UCI Arboretum Workday
See Announcements.

March 9 (Saturday)—Behind the Scenes with Bart O’Brien at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
This garden is huge! There are many out-of-the-way corners and projects underway that the casual visitor will miss entirely. We are grateful to Bart O’Brien, Director of Horticulture at RSABG, for taking the time to show us some of these special places and projects.

Meet at 10 AM in the parking lot for about two hours of easy walking. Bring rain gear if the weather is dubious looking. RSABG is located at 1500 North College Avenue, Claremont, CA. To get there, get on the 57 (Pomona Fwy.) and stay on it through its confusing blend with the 60 until you reach Interstate 10. Go east to the Indian Hill Boulevard, Claremont. Go north about 1.5 miles to Foothill Boulevard. Turn right on Foothill and go east 3 blocks to College Avenue. Turn left and proceed north to the RSABG parking lot.

March 16 (Saturday)—open

March 23 (Saturday)—open

April 6 (Saturday)—Spring Sale at Tree of Life
Although Fall through early Winter is the best time to plant most natives, many will do very well with Spring planting, especially those that like water. Save your Spring purchases for this event. Tree of Life donates to our chapter a percentage of their sales that day. If you have never visited the nursery, this is a good opportunity to do so. It’s in a lovely location and its own gardens are charming. Volunteers are needed to assist with sales.

April 13 (Saturday)—open

April 20 (Saturday)—Earth Day, Upper Newport Back Bay
This year, the event will emphasize environmental groups and activities. We will have an exhibit table there and will welcome any help that you can offer.

April 21 (Sunday)—Five Miles of Fun: Little Sycamore to Laurel Canyon, this year’s “Hills to Gills”. We’ll meet at Laurel Canyon and shuttle to Little Sycamore to start the walk there. This trail is not often used because of the shuttle problem. and as a round trip, Ranger Larry Sweet calls it “Ten Miles of Terror”! From Little Sycamore, the trail goes up to a ranch road that follows the ridgeline and provides a sweeping view of the other side of the mountain (now under development). It takes the wild animal underpass under the toll road and descends into Laurel Canyon through a group of very large oaks that are not included in the usual tour of Laurel Canyon.

May 4 (Saturday)—San Diego County: North Side of Otay Mountain with Mark Elvin, Rain or Shine (Be prepared!)

May 11 (Saturday)—Santa Ana Mountains Motor Trip with the Orange County Natural History Museum

May 18 (Saturday)—Rancheria Road in Kern County
This has become an annual expedition. Since our previous trips have occurred in June, we should see a a whole new set of plants at this earlier date. Seems far to go just for a day, but it’s not a difficult trip and we have plenty of time for botanizing. Directions later.

June 7-9 (Friday afternoon to Sunday evening)—Catalina Conservancy Work Party
Think ahead on this one. This is a work weekend for the Catalina Conservancy. The roundtrip boat fare is $42, but except for food, everything else is free. The Laura Stein Volunteer Camp 3 miles west of Avalon supplies an outdoor kitchen, tents, water, showers. Bring pillow, sleeping bag, and food. Departure from Long Beach is at 3:45 on Friday afternoon. The return trip can be scheduled any time after 3:30 PM on Sunday. The group is limited to 10. If you are interested, submit your name early! We will keep a waiting list.

June 15 (Saturday)—open

June 22-23 (Saturday, Sunday)—San Bernadino Mountains, Crab Flat-Green Valley Lake Area

June 29 (Saturday)—Back Bay Canoe Trip

July: A Walk in the San Gabriels with Paul Campbell
The date and locale has yet to be determined, but the concept is in place. We’ll look for plants that were used by the First Californians—and what ever else we can find—probably in the higher reaches of the mountains. Paul is the author of a book entitled Survival Skills of Native Californians and is adept at making survival tools. He demonstrated some of these at the Environmental Nature Center last December and is looking forward to the opportunity to take us into the wild!

August is open—we welcome suggestions!


Space does not permit a description of these excellent classes and programs. Please contact the Garden for full details. Preregistration is required for all events. Prices shown are member/non-member.


Sunday, March 3rd, 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
California Arbor Day
Family and Children’s Events
Admission free. To register call 909-625-8767 x224.

Coast Redwood Lecture and Book-signing
Coast Redwood: A Natural and Cultural History, 2001, Cachuma Press. Three of the authors will share expertise and insights. Book available for purchase at the lecture. $5/$7. Code: W02BOT204


Saturday, January 26, 10:00 AM–1:00 PM
Pruning Techniques for Native Plants: Making Them Look Their Best!
Ramona Ferriera, Gardener, RSABG
“Dos” and “don’ts” of pruning natives, techniques and tool use. $20/$24 Limit 15 participants. Code: W02HRT100

Saturday, February 2, 9:00 AM–5:00 PM
Care and Maintenance of a Native Plant Garden
Susan Jett, Nursery Manager, and John Dolan, Horticulturalist, RSABG
Selecting plants, planting, drainage and irrigation problems and more. Register early! $62/$70 Limit 12 participants. Code: W02HRT101

Saturday February 23, 9:00-5:00 PM
Constructing the Trough for a Trough Garden
RSABG staff
Construct a trough from peat, vermiculite, and concrete. Tips for planting and care. Materials provided. $71/$84. Limit 10 participants. Code: W02HRT102


Thursday, February 7, 7:00–9:00 PM
Native Plant Container Gardening for Southern California
Bart O’Brien, Director of Horticulture, and Susan Jett, Nursery Manager, RSABG

Designs and ideas for container gardens. Native plants that will do well. $8/$10. Code: W02HRT200

Sunday, February 10, 1:00–3:00 PM
Organic Gardening and Integrated Pest Management
Tony Zile, Co-owner, Plantlife Wholistic Landscaping, Inc.
Problems and solutions for the chemical-free garden. $5/$7. Code:W02HRT201


Thursday, January 31, 7:00–9:00 PM
When Genes Wander, Should We Worry?
Norman Ellstrand, Ph.D., Professor of Genetics, Univ. of Calif., Riverside

Lecture and discussion on “transgenic migration” of Genetically Modified Organisms. $5/$7 Code: W02BOT200

Thursday, February 21, 7:00–9:00 PM
Natural History of Southern California Butterflies

Greg Ballmer, Entomologist, University of California, Riverside
Shares 40+ years of experience studying, exploring, and teaching about our regional butterflies. $5/$7 Code: W02BOT201

Sunday, February 3, 1:00-4:00 PM
75th Anniversary Open House: Botanical Research at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Faculty & Graduate Students, Library & Herbarium Curators, RSABG
Rare glimpse of cutting-edge technology used by Garden scientists, 42,000 volume botanical library, and Southern California’s largest herbarium. Must RSVP Code: W02BOT202

Thursday, February 28, 7:00–9:00 PM
Rearing Butterflies in Southern California
Greg Ballmer, Entomologist, University of California, Riverside
Tips for establishing a butterfly-attractive garden. $5/$7. Code: W02BOT203


Saturday, February 9, 10:00 AM–2:00 PM
Pine Needle Basketry
Alice Kotzen, Artist
Coiled baskets, pine needle foundation. Material collection, preparation. Materials provided. $35/$42. Limit 12 participants. Code: W02ART100

Three Saturdays, January 26, and February 2 & 9, 9:00 AM–12:00 noon
Magical Music: Making Instruments and Music
Martín Espiño, Musician and Educator
Children. Uses local natural materials. $60/$69 for three sessions. Limit 25 participants, ages 8-12. Code: W02ART101


Friday February 15, 8:00 AM—Sunday February 17, 7:00 PM
Geology and Cultural History of the East Mojave
Jane Nielson, Ph.D., geologist and David Lee, steward of SGMDRC
Lectures and field trips in geology and rock-art. Based at the U. of C. Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center. $230/$276. Limit 12 participants. Code: W02FLD100

Sunday January 27, 8:00 AM-12:00 Noon
Winter Birding at Lake Norconian

Cathy Koehler, Ecologist and RSABG Education assistant Paul Aigner, Ph.D candidate

$22/$26. Limit 12 participants Code: W02FLD101


Weed War at UCI Arboretum!
The attack is on against weeds in the native plant collection at UCI Arboretum! Join Celia Kutcher, 9:30-1:30 on Thursdays. The primary targets are big agricultural weeds and invasive non-natives, but any weed is fair game. Bring a weeding hoe and pruners if you can. Sturdy work shoes, hat, sunscreen, gloves are advised. OK to join the crew for just an hour or so. Canceled if there’s more than 1/4 inch of rain during the preceding 12 hours. Check with Celia, 949-496-9689, or Laura, 949-824-5833, if in doubt.
From the 405 Freeway, take Jamboree Rd. south to Campus Dr. Turn east on Campus, very shortly turn right onto a campus service road, then left into the Arboretum’s drive-in gate. Park in the gravel area behind the greenhouses. If that’s full, park in the campus lot across the way, & feed the meter (parking passes may be available).

January 19, February 9 and 23, 9 AM to 12 Noon. Work in the native plant area with Mark Elvin and students from Dr. Peter Bowler’s Ecology class.

February 19 (Tuesday)—The Native Plant Garden
Dr Leon Baginski, Curator of Botany at Orange County Natural History Museum, and Lisa Goff, Landscape Architect, will present an informative talk on the use of native plants in backyard and open space design. Dr. Baginski is a CNPS member and an enthusiastic native plant gardener. 7:30 PM at the Irvine RanchWater District headquarters.

January 20 (Wednesday) 7 PM—Geology of the Coastal Bluffs at Crystal Cove State Park
George Brogan and Amy Stinson, teachers at Irvine Valley Community College, and Rick Bell from California State University at Long Beach will tell the story of the layers of time which are exposed in the coastal bluffs and weathered caves of Crystal Cove State Park. The meeting will be held at the El Moro Ranger Headquarters in the Visitors’ Center.


The Charlie O’Neill Grant is awarded to a student involved in research in field botany, ecology, floristics, taxonomy, ethnobotany, and other related topics. A limited number of proposals per year are funded ranging from $500 to $1000 based on the humber of proposals and their relative quality and merit. A one-year membership in CNPS is included in the funding. Grants may cover expendable items such as film, supplies, and travel not otherwise available to the researcher.

Grant recipients must send a copy of the final report, thesis, dissertation or an in depth newsletter article upon completion of the project with acknowledgement of support from Orange County CNPS

The Acorn Grant targets students in 4th through 6th grade to acquaint them with Southern California’s rich plant diversity and habitats. Examples of programs that might be funded include: class visits by qualified personnel who incur expenses related to the visit; purchase of materials for simple botany experiments involving native plants; funding of school gardens which highlight native plants; and instructive field trips to native plant gardens or to natural areas where the role of native plants is explored. Up to three grants in the amount of $150 will be awarded. Grant recipients are asked to contribute a short article about the project for the chapter newsletter.

The Traveler’s Grant pays expenses for a deserving person to attend a workshop or seminar on native plants.

To apply for one of these grants, contact Sarah Jayne, e-mail at, phone 949-552-0691