Newsletter 2002 September – October

California Native Plant Society

Orange County Chapter Newsletter

September/October 2002


To introduce our Annual Plant Sale, this issue will be largely devoted to horticultural tips and topics. We begin with the words of Mike Evans from his talk to us last year, a message that everyone should hear…again and again.

The California Garden—It’s Not About the Plants

California’s Mediterranean climate makes our state a wonderful place in which to live. Perhaps no place on earth can boast such a tremendous variety of horticultural choices. California’s native flora is even more amazing, featuring nearly 5000 plant types with approximately half of those endemic: that is they are found only in California. Native plant gardens have been admired for decades as they attractively suggest a sophisticated feeling of authentic California.

Most of the present day land development is located at the wild land interface. Landscaped freeways link our communities. Right or wrong, these kinds of large-scale projects and their “commercial” landscapes become the modern models for decorating outdoor space. Land planners have an opportunity, the responsibility, to exemplify resource and water conservation, wildlife values and regional authenticity by planting natives in these highly visible landscapes.

Unfortunately, regionally authentic plants are absent from the majority of these “model” gardens, and if a few native varieties are found growing with numerous exotic plants, they are present because they met some criteria such as fast growth for shade or screening. Often natives are brought in simply to fix a problem or do a job. They are categorized for “erosion control,” “drought tolerance,” “low maintenance,” or “water conservation.” None of these haphazard or mechanical considerations make for the best use of natives, given that they are so beautiful and deserve a prominent place in our gardens. California’s population also deserves to enjoy the best

By contrast the “California Garden” is defined as an extension of California’s personality. It is designed with a strong emphasis on native plants placed in naturalistic groupings for casual use and enjoyment. Informal walkways, sitting areas and patios offer views into favorite “theme” settings. There is plenty of seasonal color and room for wildlife, birds, pollinators, and imagination. The “California Garden” is tended nature in miniature.

To achieve this high standard and showcase the subtle beauty of California, the designer calls on an ethic of wilderness. It’s what Edward Abbey called “loyalty to the land.” If we truly appreciate and love wild California, we will, as horticulturists, desire to mimic wildness in our patio gardens. With an ethic of involvement, we see ourselves as an integral part of the garden, not detached or labeled as a mere owner, designer, installer. worker or user. This is what Aldo Leopold called living as a “…plain member and citizen of the land community.” Ultimately, the California Garden embodies an ethic of giving. Barry Lopez called it “…respectful human participation in the landscape.”

It’s not about the plants. It’s about generosity. It’s about giving back to the land and giving one self the pleasure and satisfaction of loving, getting involved, and tending for a garden modeled after the natural beauty of a region. It’s about giving to everyone that sees and enjoys your handiwork, the opportunity to experience the “California Garden”—and all that it represents.

Mike Evans, Tree of Life Nursery


Calendar of Events

Sep 12….. Board Meeting

Sep 19.. Chapter Meeting

Sep 21… Crystal Cove Walk


Oct 10….. Board Meeting

Oct 17.. Chapter Meeting

Oct 19……. SCB Symposium

Nov 9…… GWC Work Day

Nov 14…. Board Meeting

Nov 16.. Crystal Cove Walk

Nov 21. Chapter Meeting

Dec 12…. Board Meeting

Dec 19. Chapter Meeting

Dec 21.. Crystal Cove Walk

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

September 19 (Thursday)—California Native Plants for Small Gardens and Landscapes
Bart O’Brien, speaker

Once one delves into natives beyond the familiar trees and shrubs, it is surprising how many of these plants are appropriate for smaller areas. Mr. O’Brien will present an array of California native plants that work well in containers, rock gardens, perennial borders, and other small spaces in the garden.

As Director of Horticulture at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Bart O’Brien is intimately familiar with our native flora in a garden setting. In addition, he is an entertaining speaker. Here will be inspiration for the fall planting season!

October 17 (Thursday)—Plant Identification Workshop

We had such a good time at our spring plant ID workshop that we decided to follow up with a fall session. Since shrubs and small trees form the backbone of our native landscape and are not entirely dependent on flowers for their identification, we will tackle some of the more common members of this group.

The goal of this workshop will be to identify key characteristics that distinguish the various families in which shrubs are found. This is a hands-on evening. We will provide simplified keys, books, hand lenses—bring along any of your own materials that you find helpful. If you already know this stuff, come along and lend a hand.
Golden West College Native Garden Fall Planting Day

Saturday, November 9, 9 AM to 1 PM

Enjoy a few hours among the native plants at Golden West College, digging and planting, watering and weeding—whatever tasks are at hand. This is a worthy garden that really needs some attention from us!

Work will begin at 9 AM with a demonstration of correct planting procedures and finish up by 1 PM at which time we will enjoy a tasty lunch.

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. Follow signs to the garden

Weed War continues at UCI Arboretum

The campaign continues; fall brings its own varieties of weeds! Additional crew is always welcome; just come to the Arboretum on Thursdays around 9:30 AM, or earlier to beat the heat. It’s OK to weed for just an hour or so. Every weed removed means fewer seeds to germinate next year! Hat, gloves, water, sturdy work shoes, sunscreen are advised; bring your favorite weeding implement if possible.

From the 405 Freeway, take Jamboree Road south to Campus Drive. 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 and feed the meter (parking passes may be available.

SCB Symposium
Rare Plants of Southern California

Saturday, Oct. 19, 2002, 9 AM to 3 PM

The 28th annual symposium will feature four papers and a panel discussion on the rare plants of Southern California. This year’s SCB symposium, jointly sponsored by the California Native Plant Society and the Biology Department of California State University, Fullerton, will be held at the Ruby Gerontology Center, California State University, Fullerton. Pre-registration by mail before October 15th is $35.00; registration at the door, starting at 8 AM, is $45.00. The symposium fee includes a one-year membership in SCB, 2002 year for new members, 2003 year for current members. Members receive 6 issues of Leaflets and 2 issues of Crossosoma. SCB books and T-shirts will be on sale during registration and breaks. More information, including registration forms, abstracts, and travel instructions will be posted on the SCB website,, as it becomes available. Mailing address: Southern California Botanists, Department of Biology, California State University, Fullerton CA 92834.

Conservation Issues in Orange County

Dana Point Headlands:

Come to the Rally on October 12, 1-4 PM, to support a better fate for the Dana Point Headlands. The Rally will be held at the Dana Point Community House, 24642 San Juan Street, Dana Point. From I-5 take Hwy 1 (PCH) north to Street of the Golden Lantern. Turn left on Golden Lantern, then immediately right on San Juan. The Community House is halfway down the block, on the left. Contact:

OC CNPS is part of the environmentalists’ coalition sponsoring the Rally. The Dana Point Headlands Conservancy is spearheading the effort, which also includes Surfrider Foundation, Sierra Sage/Sierra Club, Endangered Habitats League, and many citizens of Dana Point.

The future of the 121-acre Headlands property will be decided when the California Coastal Commission hears the issue, possibly in January, 2003. Commission staff is currently reviewing the proposed Local Coastal Plan Amendment for the area.

Commission staff pointed out, during the EIR period, that the proposed Headlands development plan violates several Coastal Act policies. Despite this, the Dana PointCommission staff pointed out, during the EIR period, that the proposed Headlands development plan violates several Coastal Act policies. Despite this, the Dana Point City Council approved the plan essentially as submitted by the site’s owner.

Much help is needed to apply lobbying pressure at the appropriate points, both before and at the hearing!

The SCORE Report

The SCORE Land Use Task Force for Rancho Mission Viejo has continued biweekly meetings through the summer. Discussion continues on balancing community needs with sensitive habitat information provided by the resource agencies (US Fish & Wildlife, Cal Fish & Game, US Corps of Engineers and the Orange County Environmental Planning Dept.). Task Force meetings will continue through September.

—Celia Kutcher, Chapter representative to SCORE and the Dana Point Headlands Conservancy


Gardening with California Native Plants

Urban Gardens As Native Plant Habitat

Reprinted with permission from the LA/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter newsletter

For any garden—in a canyon, on a slope, in an urban yard, perched on a rooftop or even planter boxes, tubs and pots enclosed by balcony railings—the amount of sun exposure versus dappled to total shade, the sources of water available, the type of soil, the type of drainage, the altitude and other environmental factors (i.e. wind, fog, salty or dusty air, seasonal temperature changes) will determine what species of plants will do well, whether they are native or non-native plants.

How does one analyze an urban habitat? Tall buildings become cliff faces with the same deep shade and harsh wind conditions as a long, steep-sided narrow canyon punctuated by narrow side canyons. Stucco walls or sidewalks may leach lime into adjacent flowerbeds, raising the pH. Wall colors and textures may absorb or reflect light, either mimicking a forest wall of trees or a bank in a desert wash. Street trees, street easement landscaping and irrigation become riparian habitat affecting the citizen’s garden.

The soil may be topsoil original to the site, sterile subsoil, soil contaminated with construction debris, compacted, claypan, or all of the above including previous owners’ gardening efforts. The size of the garden and its placement in relation to other structures (i.e. walls, foundations, sewer lines or septic tanks) may preclude planting large trees with correspondingly large, penetrating root systems.

All these factors are easily measured using a thermometer, sketches of shade patterns, maps of the garden in relation to other structures, maps locating existing irrigation or underground structures affecting the planting area, a moisture meter (or a calibrated finger), observations of local weather conditions (wind, dust, fog, etc.) and doing some judicious digging with a spade in the planting area. Having these data on potential garden sites enable the gardener to visit a native plant nursery, botanic garden or a native plant sale, ask informed questions, obtain accurate advice and buy plants with a good chance of success.

Urban citizens often view native flora as something unkempt and untamable, whether these citizens are environmental activists, or, more often, whether they are curious about native/non-native plants as viewed from car windows while stuck in the twice daily commuter traffic jam. These superficial impressions about native flora become a problem when the result is native plants placed helter-skelter in a front yard with no water and no care.

Cities usually have guidelines, sometimes regulations, on the types of landscaping allowed in front yards, especially in architecturally controlled neighborhoods. What can be defined environmentally as open savanna bounded by fencing or hedges under a certain height is the norm for most planning department regulations.

The persistent gardener might transform the front yard savanna into a native grass meadow with annuals in groups or interspersed with bunchgrasses in attractive patterns. Boulders, railroad ties, swales, wandering paths or other non-living elements can break up the banality of a flat grassy yard and emphasize the artistic side of landscaping. Many native shrubs such as lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia), Rhamnus species, and Berberis species train nicely into hedges. Native annuals: Clarkia species, clovers (Castilleja species), poppies (Eschscholzia species), Lasthenia species, tidy tips (Layiaplatyglossa), Lupinus species, Nemophila species, Phacelia species, etc., make beautiful accents in beds or along sidewalks.

Maintenance and planning are the keys to success in these front yard landscapes. For example, every month of the year in southern California there are some native plant species either in bloom or loaded with colorful fruits or seeds. Planning for seasonal changes utilizing species having different flowering or fruiting times, using pleasing combinations of shape and texture of seeds, leaves and bark along with judicious cleaning and pruning provides a year?round joy to both homeowner and passersby. There is no reason why the native plant garden or landscape cannot be always graceful and glorious.

If the gardener wishes to produce a garden with the architecture of a particular plant community, the backyard may be preferable as a place to experiment until the gardener has a better understanding of which trees, shrubs and herbs will dominate, persist or be ephemeral in this backyard vegetative association. To attract and support local butterflies, birds and other local fauna, the plant community structure is the best type of garden.

Plant community architecture implies that species of herbs, small shrubs, tall shrubs and perhaps trees known to grow in vegetative associations in the wild will be planted in natural groupings in the garden. Typical plant communities in southern California are coastal sage scrub for hotter, drier locations; chaparral for slightly cooler, dry locations; riparian for wetter, shadier locations, grassland for flat, hot, thin soil locations. Native grassland and coastal sage scrub habitat requirements are essentially the same, except for topography. Coastal sage scrub is more often found on dry, hot, windy slopes in nutrient?poor soil, while grassland habitat generally is flat meadows, mesa tops or dry valley bottoms. Consider grassland to be coastal sage scrub without the shrub layer.

Coastal sage scrub architecture combines a shrub layer with shrubs generally under six feet in height, sometimes including cactus (chiefly Opuntia species), with a rich herb layer populated by herbaceous perennials, grasses, annuals and bulbs. Typical shrubs are bladderpod (1someris arborea), lemonade berry (Rhus integrifolia) and species of buckwheat (Eriogonum), sagebrush (Artemisia), sage (Salvia), and sunflowers (Encelia). Deerweed (Lotus scoparius) and perennial species of monkeyflowers (Mimulus) and Penstemon are found in both coastal sage scrub and chaparral habitats. Various species of needlegrass (Nassella) are common in the understory as are the annual flower species listed earlier.

Chaparral architecture may have a sparse tree layer of isolated trees of coast live oak (Quercus agrifolia) or small groves of California walnut (Juglans californica) and/or Mexican elderberry (Sambucus mexicana) where more water is available. Basically chaparral is dominated by tall shrubs and small trees, ten to twenty feet in height, though there is a rich understory of smaller shrubs and woody perennials. Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) is a favorite choice of small tree with gardeners. Some common chaparral shrubs are chamise (Adenostomafasciculatum), hollyleaf cherry (Prunus ificifolia), mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides) and species of Ceanothus, Rhamnus, Rhus, manzanita (Arctostaphylos), scrub oak (Quercus). The herb layer may be sparse to abundant depending on the density of shrubs. Vines ranging from woody species of Clematis, honeysuckle (Lonicera) and wild grape (Vitis girdiana) to seasonal species of morning glory (Calystegia) and wild cucumber (Marah) compete in the wild for canopy space with the ever-present poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum). Poison oak is not recommended for any garden habitat.

Riparian architecture represents native flora living by seasonally flowing watercourses, year?round streams, seeps or springs. The tree layer is abundant. Often the trees are deciduous, i.e. sycamore (Platanus racemosa) and species of maple (Acer), cottonwood (Populus), alder (Alnus), ash (Fraxinus) and willow (Salix). The shrub layer ranges from tall shrubs like the fragrant mulefat (Baccharis salicifolia) to spreading, bushier species, i.e. blackberries (Rubus), currants/gooseberries (Ribes) and roses (Rosa). The herb layer contains annuals, ferns and grasses. Again various species of vines accent the tree and shrub canopies.

Whole gardens, with or without plant community architecture, can be designed with containers for balconies, paved patios or reinforced rooftops. Conditions are more restricting and the plant palettes available are more limited. Native plants having slow?growing or small root systems do well in containers with some extra care and water.

There is plenty of information about native plant gardening on the web, from native plant nurseries to the CNPS State website and local CNPS Chapter websites. Unfortunately these wonderful sources do not agree about the characteristics of all California flora available for gardens. Some judgment and experimentation is required for native plant gardening. All gardening is an adventure full of surprises.

—Betsey Landis, author of Southern California Native Plants for School Gardens

A Butterfly Sanctuary With Native Plants

Fall Planting is just ahead, a great time of the year for additions to your native plant garden that welcome and support butterflies. They need your help. After last winter, with the severe lack of rain, the numbers of butterflies have dropped dramatically. Fewer butterfly eggs have hatched and the larva (or caterpillars) that did emerge found less food of inferior quality. A lot of wildflowers never made it to bloom, which robbed adult butterflies of delicious nectar. The females, in turn, laid fewer eggs. The yearly count in June showed how shocking it was. For instance, last year’s count at Rancho Mission Viejo Land Conservancy found more than500 Common (California) Ringlets. This year, fewer than 100 were counted. The Ringlet is a grassland butterfly that lays its eggs on native bunch grasses. The caterpillars that hatch enjoy dining on the delectable blades of grass. When the grassland dries up too early due to lack of winter moisture, there is not enough food for the caterpillars. This is all part of a natural cycle, and the butterflies will recover with winters of rain. Won’t they? Or will we reach a critical mass with the loss of habitat? Let’s consider how a native plant garden can help.

As described earlier, butterflies use plants in two ways. A female adult butterfly usually lays her eggs on select plants, known as food or larval host plants. These are the plants that the caterpillars consume. Adult butterflies need plants that provide nectar. Some plants,like some of the buckwheats, are both larval host and nectar plants. Our native plant sale this fall is a great place to obtain plants that are used by butterflies.

The layout of a butterfly garden is important too. Larval host trees and shrubs, along the perimeter of the garden, will entice various butterflies to take a chance and dance in the sunlight. Trees such as oaks, aspen, willow, and sycamore not only provide welcomed relief from the blazing sun and harsh drying winds, but also an opportunity for females to propagate the next generation. Some shrubs can become as big as a small tree offering a place for under story plants to nestle. These edges between trees, shrubs, and under story plants provide a smorgasbord of vegetation, not only working as larval food plants, but also offering a variety of habitat types. Trees give the garden vertical layering, producing shady microclimates. Shrubs can diversify the garden horizontally and protect the smaller shade-loving plants. Depending on their orientation shrubs can produce different sun exposures.

Vines like the native honeysuckle (Lonicera spp) and the spectacular San Miguel Coral Vine can also do double duty. While the “wandering ways” of vines offer cover for wildlife, the Variable Checkerspot caterpillars also find the honeysuckle delectable. The Coral Vine would tempt the Common Hairstreak to while away part of the day nectaring and laying eggs in the protection of this beautiful vine. Many times I have watched a butterfly maneuver in and around the vines, searching for a shady spot to lay her eggs, sometimes almost disappearing from view among the foliage, only to reappear again when the job is done. Many butterflies will select the more sheltered and shady parts of the plant on which to lay their eggs. This care protects the eggs from desiccation.

Many species of butterflies can be found in riparian communities gliding about the treetops and coursing along the waterways. They stop to sip water and other nutrients from the moist mud and sand. The boulders and rocks in and along the stream, when warmed by the sun, turn butterflies into sun worshippers. This same environment can be reproduced in your garden. When the planting is done, and the stage is set, place your garden bench in a cool shaded area, so you can relax and enjoy the show.

—by Sandra Huwe, Butterfly Gardener

A Garden Lesson

Several years ago I decided to convert my town house garden (with a postage stamp-sized yard) to California native plants. I started by tearing out all my camellias, azaleas, fuchsias (except for two that I had espaliered along an entry wall in 1980), Baby Tears (which still tries to re-establish itself in shady hidden areas) and various other exotics.

Without taking the time to make a plan, or organize sun vs. shade or wet vs. dry areas, I went to Tree of Life and purchased a trunkful of natives that I had seen on hikes in local areas. After planting them randomly, over the next few weeks I made several more trips and was pleased with the beauties I’d purchased. I dreamed of a beautiful, lush garden of California natives.

It didn’t take me long to learn that beautiful and lush are not adjectives to use when describing native plants. Yes, there are times when a native plant can be overwhelming in its beauty: the California Wild Lilac (Ceanothus, sp.) with its tiny but showy blue to purple flowers in masses on shiny green leaves, the Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis) in spring as it bursts into deep magenta clusters on leafless branches, or the Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) with its unique, large white “fired egg” flowers.

The first spring I had a few Coral Bells (Heuchera, sp.), lots of California Columbine (Aquilegia Formosa), a few Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana), and a few (very few) California Honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula) blooms along with some other less interesting specimens. As summer wore on, it didn’t get better. On top of the lack luster of my garden, I found out about watering problems. I lost some of my favorites due to over watering: Woolly Blue Curls (Trichostema lanatum), Bush Poppy (Dendromecon rigida), and Hillside Gooseberry (Ribes californicum) to name a few.

I tried to cope with my garden problems for another year but it went from bad to worse as more of my yard became dirt and less of it even looked alive most of the time. Many plants that survived didn’t seem to grow bigger or produce flowers such as the Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) and Manzanita (Arctostaphylos, sp.) that looked healthy but refused to grow larger than the one gallon size I’d planted. The one plant that grew and took off (and I do mean took off) was the California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum)—it was so invasive it came up everywhere.

I was discouraged! I gave up the native plant idea and started adding any plants that people gave me, or ones I propagated from other people’s gardens. I had a great time just putting any plant in anywhere in a hodgepodge manner. I began to seek plants that were different or unusual and avoided the Home Depot-type regulars.

Now I’m having a great time and some of the natives are still with me. When I stopped babying the Toyon and left it alone, it decided to grow (now at least eight feet tall) and this year it produced flowers for the first time! The Manzanita is now taking over its section of my garden. The Fuchsia Flowered Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum) is doing well (even though insects ate all of the new, tender shoots on each branch) and the Bladder Pod (Cleome isomeris) has to be trimmed regularly (a challenge only because of its odor when I touch it). Mahonia (Berberis, sp.) and Currant (Ribes, sp.) are now taller than the wall they were planted to cover, and after three years some (two out of six) of the Penstemons have bloomed. This year the flowers of the Mallow (Lavatera, sp.) were so profuse it was almost impossible to get to my front door. A False Indigo (Amorpha californica) that I though had died the first year I planted it now is taking over the plants around it. These natives live happily along with my espaliered Fuschia, Nandina, and apple tree and others. Tending my garden is never boring! A bonus is the birds that visit.

Through all of this, I’ve learned a few things about the natives I still have and that are doing well: 1) natives take longer to get established; 2) natives are harder to transplant after once established; and 3) natives generally are more particular about the amount of water they will or won’t tolerate. Also I have found there are natives you can plant in areas that are shaded or that regularly get more water: California Ginger (Asarum lemmonii), Scarlet Monkeyflower (Mimulus cardinalis), Creek Monkeyflower (Mimulus gattatus), and Hooker’s Evening Primrose (Oenothera elata, ssp. hirsutissima) to name a few.

A friend once referred to my garden as eclectic which I really think in my case is a nice word for mishmash. It will never rival Dan Songster’s beautiful blend of native and non-native, but it’s fun for me to work in and no matter what plant I get, I can always find a spot to plant it because it won’t upset any landscape plan!

—Lois Taylor, Master Gardener

A Late Summer Garden

In these late, dry days of summer, my thoughts turn to the fall planting season—now not too far away—and hopes of rain. Out in the wild, most native plants are doing pretty much what’s expected of them—lemonade berries have ripened, wild clematis bear their powder puff seed heads, California sage brush is gray and withered in summer dormancy. It’s the non-native annual grasses that make our hills look dreary.

My native plant garden closely follows nature’s pattern. The late summer color palette is subtle hues of beige, gray-green, and brown. Regal St. Catherine’s lace is topped with huge, doily-like flower heads, now rust colored. Smaller buckwheats echo the color. Brilliant red trumpets of California Fuchsia poke through here and there throughout the garden, late summer’s treat. Skeletal remains of Golden Stars and Ithuriel’s Spear commemorate spring, past and to come. This late summer garden does not declare its beauty. At first glance, it looks tired and dusty. It is in the vignettes, the contrasts of color, texture, and structure that beauty is discovered.

Stepping from the unnatural green of watered turf and non-native shrubs and trees, I tend to be a little defensive about the look of my summer native garden. “Oh, you should see it in the spring!” I might say. But I have only to spend some contemplative time there to fully restore my confidence and begin plotting where to put in the plants that I will inevitably buy at the fall plant sales.

—Sarah Jayne, Native Plant Gardener


Some Resources For The Native Plant Gardener

Growing Native

Louise Lacey, author of Growing Native, the newsletter of the Growing Native Research Institute, ceased publication with the September/October, 2000, issue. The fifty-nine issues that were published contain a wealth of valuable information for the native plant gardener. These are still available, some as back issues, some as reprints. In the index below, the issues are described by the lead article only; there are informative articles, anecdotes, and lots more in each issue. Each plant description includes information about water needs, size at full growth and pruning requirements. Plants are selected for their desirability in a garden setting.

The prices are based on the number of pages in the issue.

#1 19 Drought Tolerant Evergreen Flowering Shrubs $5
#2 Trees for the Home Garden $5
#3 Plants for Shade and Part Shade $5
#4 Ceanothus $8
#5 Container Plants $5
#6 Bulbs of California $8
#7 Calochortus $5
#8 Vines $5
#9 Southern California Perennial Borders $5
#10 Northern California Perennial Borders $5
#11 Groundcovers $5
#12 Deciduous Shrubs $5
#13 Manzanita $8
#14 Screens and Hedges $5
#15 Annuals for Quick and Lasting Color $5
#16 Food $5
#17 Summer Bloom $5
#18 Sierra Perennials and Shrubs $5
#19 Plants for Dry Shade $5
#20 Water Spots $5
#21 Grasses $8
  with eight grass supplements $12
#22 Medicinal Plants $6
#23 Butterfly Gardening $8
#24 The Sages $6
#25 Berry-bearing Bushes for Birds $6
#26 Flowers for Fragrance $6
#27 Trees for the Small Garden $6
#28 Long-Blooming Flowers $6
#29 Low Growing Groundcovers $6
#30 Hedge and Specimen Plants for the English Garden Look $6
#31 Pacific Coast iris $6
#32 Hummingbird Plants $8
#33 Perennials for Cutting $6
#34 Winter Bloom $6
#35 Fast and Easy Shrubs $6
#36 Tropical Lush Look $6
#37 Restoring California $6
#38 (More) Deciduous Shrubs and Trees $6
#39 Dudleya $6
#40 (More) Medicinal Plants $6
#41 Ferns $6
#42 Lupines $6
#43 White Night Flowers $6
#44 Moist Woodland Perennials $6
#45 Penstemons $6
#46 Theodore Payne’s Favorites $6
#47 Annuals (More) #6
#48 Oaks $9
#49 Songbirds and How to Attract Them $6
#50 Phacelia $6
#51 Coastal Fog (and some shade and salt) $6
#52 Erosion $6
#53 SoCal Perennials and Shrubs (More) $6
#54 Clay Soil $6
#55 Sexual Medical Plants $6
#56 Living Big in a Small Space $6
#57 Hedgerows $6
#59 Lacey Memories $6
#60 in preparation $6

To order, list the number and price of each and send, with check, to :Growing Native, P O Box 489, Berkeley CA 94701


Gardening with a Wild Heart

by Judith Larner Lowry

For inspiration and an attitude adjustment, read this interesting book before starting your new native garden. The author takes a philosophical position in respect to nature and gardens, but stays very much attached to the earth with good, sound information and recommendations in a highly readable format.

Mother Nature

Get out in the wild to observe how plants are distributed in respect to each other, plant associations, soil, slope, sun, water—it’s all there for the learning. Observe the same place in different seasons. There are many Orange County locations with easy access. Guided tours are available. See the Field Trips section for some suggestions.

Botanic Gardens and Arboreta

These facilities provide an opportunity to see plants in a cultivated setting. Visit especially in the dead of summer to see what’s looking good when the heat’s on.

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden
1500 North College Avenue
Claremont CA 91711, open daily, 9 to 5

Fullerton Arboretum—Chaparral Hill
Associated Road
Fullerton CA, open 8 AM to 4:45 PM

UCI Arboretum (natives section in progress)
Campus Drive
Irvine CA, open Monday through Saturday, 9 to 3


Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden offers a wide variety of classes and lectures. Late Summer Native Garden Cleanup on Sunday, October 6, An Introduction to Gardening with California Native Plants on Saturday October 19, Workshop on Identification of the Asteraceae also on the 19th, and Hedges and Screens using Native Plants are just a few of the many and varied offerings.

Call the Garden at 909-625-8767 x224 to request a class brochure. Information is also available on the web at

Plant Sales, Tree of Life Nursery

The Orange County CNPS Native Plant Sale on Saturday, October 5 at the UCI Arboretum will be staffed by experienced Native Plant gardeners who can help with plant choices and layout possibilities. Open from 9 to 10 for members only, 10 to 3 for the general public.

The UCI Arboretum is located at the corner of Jamboree Road and Campus Drive in Irvine. Follow signs to the sale. Parking is free.

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s big sale is on November 2.It pays to be a member—members are allowed in at 8 AM and get the best stuff.

Tree of Life Nursery is open for retail every Friday, and Saturdays in October and November. Again, knowledgeable people will help with selection and their catalog is a treasure trove of information.


Many of the CNPS chapters offer horticultural guidelines on their websites. Go to the State site,, to find them.


Only Butterfly Bush mars the high quality native landscaping around the San Joaquin Wildlife Preserve along Michelson opposite the old Fluor Company buildings (now Park Place) in Irvine. Take a look.


Back Bay Canoe field trip, June 2002

Upper Newport Bay is a 752-acre estuary (plus 140 acres of coastal sage scrub habitat) located in the upper part of Newport Harbor. Though famous for its Aves, UNB remains a vital floral sanctuary just a lattés lob from suburbia in all directions. A checklist of Upper Newport Bay flora by Bob Muns names 195 indigenous plants found at the reserve at one time or another. An additional 180 taxa have joined the party (that’s 48% introduced species).

But what is interesting is that the salt marsh doesn’t have any weeds. It seems the salt marsh with its twice-daily tidal inundations, is effectively hostile toward invasion. Twenty plus species inhabit the UNB salt marsh system, dominated by its one species of cord grass, Spartina foliosa, a poa. Now these salt marsh plants don’t need salt, they’ll grow their tails off in the freshest of water holes. But, for all their special adaptations, they can’t outcompete the vigor of staple freshwater plants, so they take to the refuge of the salt.

We gathered together on the morning of Sunday, June 30, to canoe up and down the bay. While our focus would be on the abundant vegetation of the salt marsh, who could resist taking in this place as a whole? With millions of liters of water being acted upon by celestial forces, 15 million year old cliffs eased up 100 feet by geologic forces, and wildlife that is extremely visible and consistent (compared to other ecosystems) Upper Newport Bay is inextricably all of these things at once, a whole.

Before we took to the boats, we walked a dry old path out into the marsh to observe the resident endangered species, Cordylanthus maritima (salt marsh bird’s beak), which does very well here. It seems the big problem for many of California’s endangered Cordylanthus species is that they haven’t enough estuaries. When Bolsa Chica becomes a functioning estuary again, soon, C. maritima may very well show up. The plant is four inches of flower, resembling a creme colored Indian paintbrush. It is partially parasitic, seemingly on Distichlis spicata (salt grass), taking advantage of the poa’s high productivity and extensive root system. There may be another endangered species here, Dudleya stolonifera, the Laguna Beach liveforever; a hearty handshake to anyone who can prove it. Along with the Cordylanthus, we saw Batis maritima, Limonium californicum, Salicornia spp., and a tiny two and one-half inch Limonium, blooming beautifully. “There is a garden Limonium of that size,” says Celia. All of these plants are placed in archetypal vernal pool formation around a muddy depression, chocolate chipped with horn snails.

Upper Newport Bay has likely been part of a functioning estuary since an ancient river (not the Santa Ana) carved out this coastal canyon from soft rock 300,000 years ago. Not long after the last ice age, as the ocean began to rise, brackish marsh flowed inland much further and a fresh marsh system expanded out into the Tustin plains (ever heard of Swamp of the Frogs?). There were people thriving here at the bay at that time, floating high on the waters in canoes of tule (Scirpus spp.).

Paddling from the dock at low tide, we head our canoes for the white cliffs, 12 – 25 myo diatomaceous sediment from warm shallow seas of epochs past. A two-car garage size portion of the bluff has recently fallen. High upon the steep chalky bluffs are masses of Encelia californica, looking as brittle as it gets at this time of the year. Dudleya lanceolata can be seen silhouetted above; Salicornia subterminalis (shrubby pickleweed), and Sueda californica keep just over the high water mark. Following the main channel, we are flanked on both sides by mud and cord grass. It is here, to the left, where we can edge right up on a three-foot wall of cord grass sod, draining its water load. Looking right in, we can see the countless worm holes in the rich black mud and the bluish painted crabs reflecting the morning sun. It is said the marsh is four times as productive as a corn field, but this is definitely a detritivore’s economy. This is also where we see all the Batis maritima, Jaumea carnosa, Limonium, Frankenia salina, and Salicornias that live inconspicuously amongst the Spartina. Hover flies hover, black birds, sparrows, and swallows gossip and fuss.

Coming up on our right is Big Canyon, a “freshwater” (turf irrigation) marsh/riparian system, with its Typhas and Juncus. Some trees of Orange County are quite visible: Fremontia, Populus, Platanus, Alnus, and Salix species. A terrific birding spot, if that’s your thing. We check out a little gas vent boiling up, indicative of the 100 feet of historic marsh buried below.

The main channel snakes left again, and then swings a long right, and we can finally see just how big the place really is. The largest body of water, the largest mud flats, the largest upland area, where the legendary Indian Springs seep, are all quite a few paddles up into the bay. The bluffs straighten out alongside and become lined with little houses on top. Carpobrotus sprawls a green blanket from top down; bougainvilla, pampas grass, Algerian ivy, Brazilian pepper, all creep slowly away from their yards, but the closer to the water the bluffs get, the more the natives are able to hold their alkali ground.

The washed out salt dike covered in Atriplex marks our furthest point. The area beyond is off limits to humans, as are all the secondary channels, islands, mudflats, and bluffs. Such tight regulation is good considering the presence we already have here. And so we begin the two-hour paddle back to dry dock, against the tide, against the wind, against fatigue and canoe-butt. But that’s how it goes; you can only ride the tide one way. We rode it out.

On the island again, the hard core CNPS’ers took to the other side of the island where a salt marsh restoration had taken place. The restoration consisted simply of backhoeing out a bunch of silt so the tide could come in. With that tide came all the basic salt marsh plants, even the salt marsh bird’s beak! Since we couldn’t go home without the Jepson being pulled out, the botanists among us keyed out two Camisonia species. This is the difference between a CNPS trip, and any other.

Special thanks to all who made it, to Naturalist Bob Oberlin for helping out, and to the Department of Fish and Game. See you next year!

—Todd Heinsma, trip coordinator


Laguna Coast Wilderness: 949-494-9352. For walks in the Northern and Southern Reserves call The Nature Conservancy at 949-832-7478.

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


Thomas Riley Regional Park: 949-728-3420


Rancho Mission Viejo Land Conservancy: 949-489-9778

Crystal Cove State Park: 949-497-7647

Prepare for and follow up on our Shrub Identification Workshop! Fall walks with an emphasis on the shrubs of the Crystal Cove backcountry will take place on the third Saturday of the month: September 21, no October, November 16, and December 21. Meet at 9 AM at the ranger station. From PCH turn inland past El Morro School between Corona del Mar and Laguna Beach. There is a sign at the turn off. Parking is $3. Call or e-mail Sarah Jayne for more information: 949-552-0691 or