'Siskiyou Pink'

Gaura lindheimeri ‘Siskiyou Pink’ – Appleblossom Grass

These are strangely wispy plants with upright stems and weirdly stalkless leaves and flowers growing directly on the stems. Rose pink flowers of course.

They’re a wild addition to any closely cropped garden plan. Well, I should rather say that if you are uptight about your garden, then these are just the plant to loosen you up, so to speak, if you know what I mean, wink wink nudge nudge.

Ultimately, the problem is that there are too many California Natives. Too many plants grow wild in this state that we call our home. My head hurts.

"Sunset Strain"

Another one of the brilliantly colored California Native succulent Lewisia cotyledons, this one is from the “Sunset Strain” family of cultivars.

Anchors Away


Ceanothus gloriosus “Anchor Bay”

These flowers are a bit more on the purplish side than most of the California Lilacs, which tend to be a bit more on the powdery blue edge, if my eyes don’t deceive me.

The leaves are some of the toughest of the Ceanothus leaves, which makes them great as a deer-resistant plant, along with the “Emily Brown.”

Año Nuevo State Reserve

A couple productive garden plants in their Northern California coastal native habitat.

Artemisia pycnocephala

Lupinus arboreus

Another Blooming Manzanita


Arctostaphylos pajaroensis “Warren Roberts”

A nice dense medium height shrub with summer leaves in the steel blue color range. I like the various A. pajaroensis cultivars.

Another Re-shoot


Lupinus arboreus, blogged last week with photo from cell phone, reblogged this week with photo from camera.

I suppose I should now say something about this plant.

First we should describe those leaves, those luscious green with a hint of silver glistening in the garden light leaves that are the heart of this perennial shrub. These are Peltately palmate leaves, indeed a classic of the form. Here’s a link to some Lupine Leaves at Bartlett Cove, Glacier Bay NP., Alaska.

Well, that has tired me out. Should I continue to the flowers? Should I describe the color as lavender, or would you argue it is more of a powdery-violet? No, it’s not bright enough to be violet.  If I had it in me, I might call it mauve, but that’s as far as I would take it. We thought we were getting yellow lupine blooms, like this, but not.

Apricot Monkeyflower


Mimulus “Esselen” – Santa Lucia Monkeyflower

California Native
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Full Sun to Part Shade
Water: Low
Size: 2ft.

Compact shrub with glossy green leaves and bright orange flowers in spring and summer. Great for coastal gardens. Attracts hummingbirds and is a host plant for the Checkerspot butterfly. Deer resistant. Hardy to 20F.

Beach Mallow

Malacothamnus palmeri is actually called Bush Mallow. This California native has hairy leaves, thus being a deer resistent option. Native to the Central Coast, it’s naturally found as far north as Monterey. But it’s a reliable yearly bloomer with reblooms in the fall, so it has been planted successfully farther north than Monterey. Why, one could even claim to have seen it in the Berkeley area.

Beard Tongue


Penstemon “Firebird”

This species’ flowers are usually a very bright red, and these are clearly not. So I wonder if this is a natural variation, or if we have them mislabeled. They’re certainly not Margarita BOP’s, which is the other penstemon we’re growing right now.

If I knew more about them, then I could decide to be the expert, and then I could make a grand pronouncement about this color, and the nature of penstemons in general. That’s the great thing about having a blog.

Beavertail Cactus

Opuntia basilaris

The Beavertail Cactus is native to California and Arizona, and into Northern Mexico and Southern Utah a bit too. The local populations are varied, and indeed the plants that are descendent from the California populations from the Mojave are not particularly hardy in Berkeley. The Mojave is a very dry desert. So after giving up on a number of plants years ago, we finally have some sourced from Arizona stock, and they are doing better, thank you very much.

These are a shrubby prickly pear, low growing – less than 2 ft. tall generally. The blue-green pads can often turn a bit purplish in the winter. And just so you know, these are generally spineless. Though they do have glochids, which are the tiny little hooked spines, so there.



I wish I were a bird. Then I would eat these lovely manzanita red juicy red extry red berries. Maybe I should eat them anyway.

Arctostaphylos “San Bruno Mountain” also known as the Bearberry. I wonder why?

Bitter Root

Lewisia cotyledon “Sunset Strain”

Lewisia longipetala “Plum”


Lewisia longipetalas are all still in crazy bloom. They are going for months. Who wants to bet they keep blooming into August?



Lewisia Cotyledon

This is a really nice color bloom. It’s one of the Sunset colors. People often ask if we have any orange Lewisias, and so I expect this one to get grabbed up pretty quickly today.

Bitterroot [updated]

Another color Lewisia cotyledon flower for spring.

[Updated with a better photo. Click for bigger.]

Blooming Native


Arctostaphylos “Austin Griffiths”

Known for it’s large green leaves and compact, twisted form with sculptural branching. Gets to about 8 ft. tall, and pretty fast too for a manzanita.

Blooming Natives

Ceanothus griseus “Kurt Zadnik”

We like the Ceanothuses. These California native shrubs range from 6″ tall to over 20 ft. Here we have a cultivar that gets 3ft. tall and can spread over 10 ft. wide if you let it. It was cultivated right here in Berkeley at the UC Botanic Gardens from a specimen found up in Sonoma, so you know it will do well in local gardens.

Blooming Reruns

This native Abutilon palmeri was blooming in August of 2010. That was a very long time ago. I love these Indian Mallows. They’re one of my favorites.

Blooming Succulents

Lewisia cotyledon

Normally the California Native Lewisia cotyledons bloom in spring and summer, but we do always have a few that will bloom at other times of the year, like now.

In fact, we find that as these plants mature they can bloom up to 6 times per year! That’s a lot of blooms. You just have to dead-head them to prevent them from going to seed in case they were pollinated. If they go to seed then they are done blooming for the year.

Lewisia Alba

Bonus picture of an Owl after the break… Read More…

Blue and White

California Lilacs are not just lilac color. First for comparison we have a lilac colored Ceanothus.


Ceanothus “Vandenberg”
Santa Barbara Ceanothus
Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 5ft. x 5ft.
Small dark green leaves, compact clusters of dark blue flowers in late winter. Deer resistant. Hardy to 15F.


Ceanothus “Snow Flurry” is the white flowered one.
White Wild Lilac
Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low, some in summer
Size: 12 max.

Provides seeds that native birds thrive on. Huge sprays of brilliant white flowers in spring. Rich green leaves. Perfect for Bay Area gardens – drought-tolerant, easy to grow.


Ceanothus “Ray Hartman” is too blue for my eyes.
Mountain Lilac
Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 20’max.

Light blue flowers, dark green leaves. Fast-growing, completely drought-tolerant. Cold and heat hardy. Do not irrigate.

Blue Bedder


Penstemon heterophylla “Margarita BOP”

This California native perennial is a low shrubby 2 foot border plant, with abundant bright blue flowers through spring and summer. Long-lived, hardy to 10°, prefers lots of sun and little water. Now that’s the kind of plant we like.


I wonder what a garden blogger would say about this plant? Barbara at Wild Suburbia has some beautiful wildflower pictures, including this particular penstemon variety.

Blue Blossom

Ceanothus thyrsiflorus

This California Lilac is endemic to California. There are many cultivars and Hybrids from this, but the original Blue Blossom has a very soft blue flower. In habitat it has been known to grow about 20 feet tall, but in local gardens it stays under 12ft. generally.

The small native bees can live off these flowers. But be warned – the deer like these soft green leaves too.

Blue Eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium bellum is a local favorite, Native to California, blue-eyed grass. We have a whole bunch of cultivars of this exact species out right now.

Sisyrinchium Rocky Point

Sisyrinchium “Rocky Point”

Sisyrinchium Quaint and Queer

Sisyrinchium “Quaint and Queer”

Sisyrinchium Waynes Dwarf

Sisyrinchium “Wayne’s Dwarf”

Sisyrinchium Nanum

Sisyrinchium “Nanum”

Plus we now have one new non-native Sisyrinchium available and it is much bigger, and more iris-like.

Sisyrinchium Aunt May

Sisyrinchium “Aunt May”

That’s a lot of Sisyrinchiums. But wait! Here’s another and it’s another native, a local native!

Sisyrinchium californicum

Sisyrinchium californicum


Blue Eyed Grass

More from my walk along the coast in Sonoma County.

Sisyrinchium bellum
Blue Eyed Grass

In cultivation these get quite large, clumps to 1 ft., with dozens of blooms for months on end. In these more natural, i.e. harsh, conditions, they’re tiny little plants with one flower at a time. But the flowers are just as blue as ever.

In this closeup we can see the pollen. Seems like some bees have been by here recently. Unless it was the cows nearby that were pollinating the flowers.

October 2021

US Constitution


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