California Lilac

Ceanothus gloriosus v. exaltatus “Emily Brown”

Small rigid green leaves, like holly. Shrubs only to 3′ tall. I would say these California Lilac flowers are “lilac” in color. The very definition, even. We commonly use this plant as a shrub in low-water gardens. Works well near traffic areas where you don’t want a cactus poking you, but still want something vigorous that can stand up to kids or pets.

California Lilac

Ceanothus “Anchor Bay”

This holly-leafed Ceanothus will get about 2ft. tall and spread fairly wide. I like to say around 6ft., but if you leave it be it can go 8ft. But you shouldn’t let it go totally wild, you know. A little pruning helps.

All of the holly-leafed Ceanothuses are deer resistent. Most of the Ceanothuses are in bloom around about now. Floral scented flowers!

California Lilac Blooms


Ceanothus griseus “Kurt Zadnik”

Was cultivated here in Berkeley at the Botanic Gardens from a Sonoma County plant.

So, we want to know, who is this Kurt Zadnick, and what did he do to get this plant named after him?

Kurt Zadnik took over the (UC Botanic Garden California) Area in 1979 and stayed through 1996…. By the late 1980s Kurt Zadnik’s responsibilities changed to focus more on the greenhouse succulent plants.

Good enough, indeed.

California Lotus

Lotus crassifolius v. otayensis is the California native lotus that comes from Otay Mountain.


Lotus crassifolius var. otayensis
Otay Mountain Lotus

Herbaceous perennial

Sun: Moderate to Full
Water: Low to Moderate
Size: 3 feet

Furry grey upright stems, clusters of purple and white pea-sized flowers in spring, grey-green oblong leaves. Endemic to California.

They sure do look like pea flowers. I wonder if this is in the pea family?

It is! It is in the Pea Family – Fabaceae.

Did I forget to mention that Otay Mtn. is in San Diego County? Sounds like a desert down there.

California Monkey Flowers

It’s Mimulus season again here in Berkeley as the Monkeyflowers all rebloom. Not quite as many flowers as in the spring, but a lot of flowers for a second flush.

These Mimuluses are all in the Jelly Bean Group. I won’t tell you which is Pink, Orange or Terra Cotta, but those are the listed colors.

California Morning Glory

Calystegia macrostegia
Great twining vine, works well climbing on fences locally. Will bloom for much of the year, and will go dormant in the summer if you let it go dry. It’s a Coastal favorite, though it also comes from some of the srubbier chaparral areas of California.

California Morning Glory

Calystegia macrostegia “Candy Cane” is one of the few vines we carry. Maybe tomorrow I’ll blog the other.

It’s a native vine that, like most Morning Glories, blooms a lot. It’s not invasive, like so many of the other Morning Glories. But it is pretty, like all the other Morning Glories.

The blooms are often a lot more striped than this photo would indicate.

It can take full sun in its native coastal scrub habitat, but would need afternoon shade inland. It can die back if you don’t ever water it around this time of year, but then we wouldn’t ever do that so it stays evergreen for us.

California Morning Glory

From the Channel Islands


Calystegia Macrostegia ssp. Cyclostegia ‘Candy Cane’ can be evergreen with some summer water. Full sun at the coast, with afternoon shade further inland. Fast growing vine, but not one of the more invasive of the morning glories. On a hillside, it can be grown as a groundcover.

California Mountain Lilac


Ceanothus “Joyce Coulter”

These grow low and wide. How wide? Maybe 8 feet wide. They will mound to about 3 feet high when mature.

You really want to make sure you have sun if you’re planting them on the coast. But the good news is they can handle some coastal clay soil.

In the mountains they can be hardy down to 10°F.

California Native Flowers in Berkeley

Mimulus Georgie Orange

Mimulus “Georgie Tangerine” on 4th Street in Berkeley

I can’t actually confirm the ID of the cultivar, but I’m pretty sure. Embiggen the photo if you want to look a bit closer yourself and let me know what you think. Maybe it’s M. “Curious Orange”?

California Native Grapes

These should really be going dormant by now, but instead we have new fruit coming. And it was cold last night! At least the leaves are green and not the deep burgundy red this variety gets in the fall.

California GrapesViutis Roger's Red

Vitis californica “Roger’s Red”
California Native
Deciduous Fruiting Vine

Sun: Partial
Water: Drought tolerant
Size: up to 25′

California native grape, deciduous. Gray and green leaves revamp to a deep, rich red in autumn months. Edible, small purple fruit. Fast growing and frost hardy.

California Native Irises

This hybrid from native irises, probably including Iris inominata, is called “Pink Parfait”.

It’s compact and like other native irises it’s drought tolerant.

And what does that mean, anyway? Cause it’s certainly an iris which likes regular watering. Well… it doesn’t mean it likes to be dry. It means it can survive being dry. It can survive our very dry summers by going dormant and practically disappearing if you don’t water it. And that’s OK.

California Native Onions

Allium unifolium, One-Leaf Onion.

Interesting that the common name and the latin name are the same. Someone must really think that one-leaf aspect of the plant must be really important.

They have pretty flowers. I wonder if they taste good? They bloom all the way through to July. Of course, they’ll die back in winter, and then the bulb expands and grows and comes back next spring. When not in bloom, they look like a grass.

California Native Plants

You may be wondering why there’s been more California Native photos this week than cactus or succulents.

I’ve been featuring some native plants this week, because we’re about to have our first big Native Plant Sale at the nursery. We’ve brought in all kinds of natives. We have probably close to 100 species out right now. And now is the best time to plant them, so you know, get with the program.

Here’s our ad running in the Chronicle.

The ad looks weird online, versus in the paper which it was designed for.

Plus we have radio ads too. KPIG on your AM dial, local radio, classic Americana. Good stuff.

California Native Plants for the Garden


It’s Gaura lindheimeri on the streets of Sydney. Australia!

Gaura lindheimeri – Appleblossom Grass
Native to California

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 2-3 feet

Wispy, upright perennial. The stalkless leaves and flowers grow directly on the stems. White flowers with a hint of pink bloom in the spring through fall. Cut back flower stalks for repeat bloom.

California Native Plants in Berkeley

Derby Street

Epilobium canum – California fuchsia. Now those are some tubular blooms. Also known as the Hummingbird Trumpet, since those tubular flowers attract hummingbirds, and the wide open end resembles a trumpet. At least, that’s what I would guess. But the truth is that a trumpet is brass-like in color and the Epilobium is bright orange, so the comparison only goes so far.

Anyway, it’s a nice full specimen plant, even if they are low growing and this plant is less than a foot high.

California Native Plants in Bloom

Did you know that there were plants in bloom this weekend? Maybe you thought they would all wilt in this heat, but No! Beautiful flowers popping up all over! And not just from the cactus. Although, especially from the cactus this weekend. Cactus flowers like the heat. But wait, this isn’t a post about cactus flowers. This is a post about California Native Perennials. Wildflowers! First up…. Fleabane!

Erigeron glaucus

Erigeron glaucus
Seaside Daisy, Fleabane

N. California Coastal Natuve
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Sun
Water: Moderate
Size: 6-12″
Clay tolerant, found on clay coastal bluffs. A great butterfly plant, mixes well with coastal sages and monkey flowers. Lavender flowers spring through summer when it could use a little extra water. Hardy to 20F.

Salvia Winifred Gilman

Salvia “Winifred Gilman”
Musk Sage

California Native
Evergreen perennial/shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 3 to 4 ft.

Fragrant grey-green leaves. Strongly fragrant whorls of lavender blue flowers. Deer resistant, attracts butterflies. Hardy to 10F.

California Native Plants in Early Spring – I

It looks like there’s been a break in the early spring weather as the temps are dipping down below 40F.

Maybe we’ll get some much needed rain too.

In the meantime, we’ve had such nice weather that the nursery is all ready for spring early. More plants are out than you can imagine. Like these California natives.

California Native Succulents

Dudleya “Frank Reinelt” is a coastal variety of D. caespitosa, so you know it will grow well for you, assuming you are coastal too, since we are the Bay Area, so named after the coastal feature that defines it.

California Natives in Bloom

A couple of nifty California Poppies for you to enjoy.

California Poppy Sundew

Eschscholzia californica “Sundew” is a mini flower. Very buttercup-yellow.

California Poppy Moonglow

Eschscholzia californica “Moonglow” is big and has very deep color tone. You can choose to gaze deep into this flower. If you click to enlarge you can gaze even deeper.

Iris PCH

Finally we have yet another Iris PCH in bloom at the nursery. They have been doing very well all spring long.

California Natives!!!

We have a lot of native, and native-hybrids out in full bloom this weekend. Pictures ensue.

Gaura Passionate Rainbow


Gaura lindheimeri “Passionate Rainbow” is a compact version of this ever-scrabbly wildflower. It also has very good color not just in the flowers but in the foliage too. I love colorful foliage!

Iris PCH

Iris PCH – we have only a few more still in bloom. Like this very deeply colored blue hybrid.

Eriophyllum Siskiyou

Wooly Sunflower

Eriophyllum “Siskiyou” works well in your garden. They are in full bloom right now and will rebloom throughout the year anyway, just not quite as full as this.

Solanum Indian Grey

Blue Witch

Solanum “Indian’s Grey” is one of our favorite blue-flowered native perennials in the deadly nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Solanum Spring Frost

White Witch

Solanum “Spring Frost” is one of our favorite white-flowered native perennials in the deadly nightshade family (Solanaceae).

Achillea kelleri

Achillea x kelleri is a stunning white addition to all your very colorful yarrows. These are really stunning. You should come see them in person, along with the yellow and red yarrows currently in bloom too. I highly recommend this hybrid for planting in your mom’s garden when you help her out next weekend. She will thank you.

California Natives???

A redacted letter from a concerned citizen:

Cactus Jungle:

You have on your list Fouquieria xxxx from California, this incorrect (sic)….. Fouquieria splendens is the only one that grows in the United States, all the others grow in Mexico and Baja. Your Fouquieria xxxx looks more like Fouquieria xxxx from Baja….. Do you have any more information on your plant? I have grown all of the known Fouquieria’s (sic) and have been in Mexico many times studying and collecting them.


Thank you for your concerns. The word “California” can refer to the current political boundaries of the state formerly governed by Arnold Schwartzenegger, or they can refer to the ecological and geological physical area (among other options). We prefer to include plants native to Baja California as part of the ecological area of California.

Thank you,

Editors Note: Science!

California Penstemons

Here are 2 new additions to our California Penstemon collection.

Firecracker Penstemon eatonii is red and firecrackery. The flowers are kinda aimed down rather than aiming out and up.

Azure, or Sky Blue, Penstemon azureus var. angustissimus is a local Northern Cal. native from the areas around and about North and East of us in the Bay Area. Blue, or purple, depending on how you see this range of colors, is always a nice addition to the flora of the neighborhood.

The Azure Penstemon has a more typical weedy stem and light foliage for a Penstemon, whereas the very exciting Firecracker Penstemon has denser thick green underfoliage and thick bloom stalks.

P. azureus is endemic to Northern California while the more common P. eatonii can be found throughout the West including into Idaho, for crying out loud.

California Poppy

More bright and colorful California Poppies, Eschscholzia californica.

Orange King

“Orange King”

Thai Silk Fire

“Thai Silk Fire”

Red Chief

And my favorite, “Red Chief”

California Succulents

The Dudleyas are always a crowd-pleaser, what with the small chalky leaves and green leaves and long bloom spikes with pale small flowers too.


Dudleya anomala is our newest member of the California native Sea-Lettuce family. I wonder how it got a strange name like that? This one is pretty reliably green and doesn’t get too red in sun. Where in California is it from? Why its from Baja California.

Tight clusters of green rosettes with slightly red tips in full sun. White flowers on long bloom stalks.

  • Hardy to 25F
  • Full Sun to Part Shade
  • Cactus Soil
  • Low Water


Dudleya brittonii is the classic Giant Chalk Dudleya, also from Baja California.

18″ rosettes on single stems with chalky leaves. Looks best if dry through the summer months – avoid overhead watering.

  • Hardy to 20F
  • Full Sun to Part Sun
  • Cactus Soil
  • Low Water


Finally we have the very red Dudleya farinosa – Sea Lettuce, our own Northern California coastal succulent.

  • Hardy to 20F
  • Full Sun to Part Sun
  • Cactus Soil
  • Low Water
September 2021

US Constitution


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