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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bonus picture of an Owl after the break… Read More…
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.
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.
More from my walk along the coast in Sonoma County.
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.