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 Blue Eyed Grass

We have a couple new (for us) cultivars of the classic California favorite Blue Eyed Grass.

blue eyed grass3

Sisyrinchium bellum “Nanum” is low growing, to 6″ high, with wide leaves and particularly pale blue flowers. Very productive.

blue eyed grass2

Sisyrinchium bellum “Wayne’s Dwarf” is also low growing, but not as low as Nanum. This might even get 10″ tall. We see there are the very classic deep blue flowers.

In general if you keep these members of the Iris Family (Iridaceae) a little bit irrigated through the summer you can get more flowers all summer long. However they are expecting a dormant period by fall.

Here’s a closeup of “Wayne’s Dwarf” for good measure.

blue eyed grass1

Yarrow in Red and Yellow


Achillea “Red Velvet”

North America; Cultivated variety
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: Low, blooms to 3 feet

Green gray foliage. Flowers summer thru fall. Often used for cut or dried flowers. Attracts butterflies and birds. Hardy to below 0F.


Achillea “Moonshine”

Cultivated variety, including a California Native species
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low to Moderate
Size: Fern-like foliage to 36″

Yellow bloom sprays in Spring through Summer that fade as they age. Often used for cut or dried flowers. Attracts butterflies and birds. Hardy to below 0F.

Pink Monkeyflower


Mimulus “Jelly Bean Pink”

Pink Monkeyflower

California Hybrid
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water: Low
Size: Shrub to 2ft.

Pink flowers will bloom year round. Deer resistant. Hardy to about 20°F.

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.

Iris PCH Attack!

Only a week ago, and we had three different lovely Iris PCH in bloom. Now we have 3 more!

Iris PCH5




Iris PCH4


Iris PCH

Iris PCH1

The Pacific Coast Hybrid Irises are in bloom.

Iris PCH2

So many colors!

Iris PCH3

Iris Pacific Coast Hybrids (PCH)

Hybrid from California natives
Evergreen Perennial

Sun: Shade to Part Shade
Water: Moderate, well-draining
Size: 8″ to 20″
Gorgeous clumps of dark green leaves give way to spectacularly colored blooms from spring through summer. Hardy to 10°.

Golden Currant


Ribes aureum v. gracillimum

Here’s a sweet and edible California native shrub, to 5ft. tall. It’s definitely a coastal plant and doesn’t do well with inland heat.


Bloom season is here!

White Flowering Currant

Our first new California Ribes this year, and it’s a white-flowering California Ribes this year to add to our currently blooming pink and red flowering California Ribes.


Ribes “White Icicle”

California Native
Deciduous Shrub
Sun: Sun to Part Shade
Water: Low
Size: to 8ft.

Icy white flower clusters in early spring lead to dark blue hued berries in summer. The flowers attract native bees and butterflies while the berries are a good source of food for other local wildlife including birds. Hardy to 10F.

Manzanita Blooms

arctostaphylos paradise small

Arctostaphylos “Paradise”

The Manzanitas are looking very fresh on such a beautiful Sunday.

Arctostaphylos pajaroensis “Paradise”
California Native/Western US
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low, summer-drought
Size: 5’t x 8’w. in 10 years

“Large clusters of flowers of a lovely shade of pink in winter. Older foliage is blue-green and the newest growth is bronze red. Should be able to tolerate some summer water.”

Chapparal Currant

Ribes Barrie Coate

Ribes “Barrie Coate” is coming into full bloom. I see that it has probably the most saturated color of the flowering currants, all native to California, that I am aware of.

I like it!

Ribes malvaceum “Barrie Coate”
Chaparral Currant

California Native
Deciduous shrub

Sun: Full Sun to Part Shade
Water: Occasional
Size: 6 ft.

Winter blooming hummingbird plant. Very dark pink flower clusters February-March. Woody branches have peeling red bark as they age. Hardy to 25F.

Flowering Currants


Ribes sanguineum

The California native currants are in full bloom now, with fresh new green leaves popping up everywhere too. We have 3 or 4 varieties right now, so you know they must be gorgeous too.

Chaparral Currant

We’re getting into bloom season for a whole bunch of native currants.

ribes barrie coate

Ribes “Barrie Coate” is a favorite for the rich deep color of the blooms. The berries are edible of course, but it is grown primarily for the flowers. Because, I mean, look at them.

Ribes “Barrie Coate”

California Native
Deciduous shrub

Sun: Full Sun to Part Shade
Water: Occasional
Size: 6 ft.

Winter blooming hummingbird plant. Very dark pink flower clusters February-March. Woody branches have peeling red bark as they age. Hardy to 25F.

You can see from the photo that the blooms come before the leaves with this species. By spring it will be a gorgeous green shrub and will still have more blooms too!

Shagbark Manzanita

Arctostaphylos rudis Vandenberg

Arctostaphylos rudis “Vandenberg” is a very attractive manzanita from the wilds of California. Wild indeed. Found originally on Vandenberg Air Force Base, near San Diego, it is a satisfying 7 foot tall tree with shaggy red bark. Left in its wild state it will be much wider than tall, even over 10ft. wide, but it can be kept pruned for shape to as wide as tall, though I wouldn’t recommend trying to prune this into a vertical tree.

Arctostaphylos “Vandenberg”

California Native
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low, summer-drought
Size: 6t x 10w.

Dense foliage forms a deep green garden backdrop, or perfect as a hedge. Clusters of small pink flowers in spring. Hardy to 15F.

The pretty pink bell shaped flowers are great for attracting hummingbirds.

Oregon Sunshine Still Blooming

eriophyllum siskiyou bloom

Eriophyllum lanatum “Siskiyou” just never wants to give up with the blooming. This is a strange time of year to see even one of these cute yellow daisy flowers.


Eriophyllum lanatum “Siskiyou”

Native to California and Oregon
Evergreen Perennial Groundcover

Sun: Full to Partial Sun
Water: Low
Size: 12″h, spreads 3ft. wide

Pretty whitish to grey-green woolly leaves with stunning displays of yellow daisy flowers throughout the spring. Tidy and low-growing groundcover, blooms pop up to 12″h. Cut back after blooming. Hardy to 15F.


Arctostaphylos densiflora Howard McMinn

Arctostaphylos densiflora “Howard McMinn” is another California tree. This one is shorter than yesterday’s Catalina Ironwood, topping out at below 10ft., vs. the 40ft. tall Ironwood.

Arctostaphylos densiflora “Howard McMinn”

California Native
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 7ft.h. x 10ft.w.

Large evergreen mounding shrub with clusters of small flowers, white to light pink, in winter through spring. Berries are favored by native birds. Dark red trunk.


A. “Howard McMinn” is a nectar source for the Monarch Butterfly and the California Dogface Butterfly

Catalina Ironwood

Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp asplenifolius

Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp asplenifolius

I’ve been blogging a bunch of non-native shrubs this week. This is not one of them. This one is a California native tree.

Hap likes this tree. We don’t grow a lot of trees so you can bet someone at the nursery likes it if we carry it. It certainly has bright red bark and very green leaves.

Lyonothamnus floribundus ssp asplenifolius

California Native
Evergreen tree

Sun: Full to Moderate
Water: Low – keep dry
Size: 40’

Quick growing. Peeling grey bark reveals new red bark. White flowers in summer. Well-drained soils, low water. Hardy to 20°.

Winter Mallow


Malacothamnus “Casitas” is still in bloom months later. Here was a photo from October.

I can see the bloom cycle is coming to an end and should last maybe a month more.

Emeryville Natives

Apparently the town next to Berkeley, Emeryville, is no longer part of California.

Hah, I’m just joking.


Here we see someone at the local mall who thinks that California native plants include spurges. They don’t!


And here we see that the entire garden is filled with non-natives – not a native to be seen. Shall we list them out?

Euphorbia from Europe, Senecio from South Africa, Chondropetalum from South Africa, Aeoniums from the Canary Islands, Sedums from Asia.

Actually, it’s a pretty nice drought-tolerant Mediterranean style garden, so I shouldn’t complain that they put out one or two silly native signs.

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.

Flannel Bush

Fremontodendron “California Glory”

California hybrid
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water: Summer-drought
Size: 15ft. to 20ft. max.

Unbelievable spray of yellow flowers in Spring. Rounded shrub with dark green lobed leaves. Saucer-shaped buttercup yellow blooms. Will espalier well. Hardy to 20F.

These do seem to bloom not just in spring, but throughout the year as I’ve blogged these Fremontodendrons in spring and Fall and now winter. I think the spring bloom is more extensive.

Wet Dudleya

This California Native Giant Chalk Dudleya is wet, but the rain stopped long enough for me to take the picture.


Dudleya brittonii

Desert Thorn Apple

Datura discolor

Nice flowers. And it’s in the Solanum Family (Solanaceae) so you know the leaves are poisonous. Why is it called Thorn Apple? Because of this:

ID Question

Can you help ID this plant growing 50 miles north of Santa Cruz. Any ideas on a species?


Dustin –

It’s a Dudleya. 50 miles north of Santa Cruz is the Half Moon Bay area, so it is probably Dudleya farinosa, but possibly Dudleya cymosa.


Chapparal Bush Mallow

Malacothamnus fasciculatus “Casitas”

Bay Area CA Native
Evergreen Shrub

Sun: Full Sun at coast to Part Shade inland
Water: Low once established
Size: Bushy, erect stems 4 to 10 feet

The butterflies flock to the small pink flowers that cover the plant throughout the summer. Clay-soils tolerant. Good for hedges and along fences. Hardy to 25F.

February 2023

US Constitution


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