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.

Final Shots in the Native Series

Here we have our final pictures from our trip along the Sonoma Coast, not including some more shots of Benjamin that will appear on future Fridays I’m sure.

Dudleya farinosa

My favorite picture of them all. So bright, so exposed, so wind-swept and salt-sea-encrusted and yet, such a happy plant that it’s blushing for it’s good fortune.



Dudleya edulis

Clumping rosettes to 12″, green in shade, SoCal native

Hardy to 15F
Full Sun to Part Sun
Cactus Soil
Low Water

First Look

Solanum “Indian’s Grey” is a California native we’ll be featuring for November. So that means there will be better photos to come. So this really is just a “first look”.



Jim at the Palm Springs Desert Sun spends a day in the desert to find the local Mojave Fishhook Cactus. And finds one!

With the discovery of this one, known to botanists as Sclerocactus polyancistrus, my list was complete. I had found and photographed every kind of cactus known to exist in the deserts of California….

(T)his species is rarely abundant even in favored habitat…. The other factor making it difficult to find a Mojave fishhook is that each specimen looks very much like a browsed clump of bunch grass.

Sounds like Jim has been busy finding cactus in California.

Flannel Bush

Fremontodendron “San Gabriel”

We grow some strange things in California.

Flannel Bush


Fremontodendron “Ken Taylor” – Flannel Bush
Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Summer-drought
Size: 6’ t. x 10’w.

Perfect for sunny dry areas. Blooms spring and summer – golden yellow/orange. Rich mass of thick thick green leaves.


Flannel Bush

Fremontodendron californicum

This is a shorter of the California flannels. Generally it will stay below about 10ft. They put out an amazing show of these buttercup-yellow flowers in spring, i.e. right now. Right Now!

I hear from the grapevine that they will espalier well. They’re totally freeze tolerant so you could probably grow it in Oregon too, just try to keep them a bit drier in the summer.

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.

Flannel Bush

Fremontodendron “Pacific Sunset” surrounded by the terra cotta sale.


Flannel Bush


Fremontodendron mexicanum

Finally, another Flannel Bush that looks just like the other Flannel Bushes. This one gets 15ft. tall, and quick too.

Really, I can’t tell them apart. But whatever, they all have these giant yellow flowers, they’re all Cal. natives, they all are irritating to the touch. You know, the flannel bush!

Flannel Bush


Fremontodendron “California Glory”
Flannel Bush
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 give an unbelievable showing in spring. Will espalier well. Hardy to 20F.

Flannel Bushes

These are called bushes, and yet they can easily get 20ft. tall.

Fremontodendron “Pacific Sunset”

Fremontodendron “San Gabriel”

Fremontodendron “California Glory”

I don’t know if there’s a whole lot of difference here. Some slight variations in flower color and leaf shape. But these are all in the 10-20ft. tall range. “Pacific Sunset” is maybe the tallest of the 3 and can get over 20ft. on a good day.

Plant them out of the way of pedestrian traffic since they can cause a reaction if you rub them the wrong way.



Erigeron glaucus

I’m making new native perennials signage and I thought this photo came out nice, so I’m sharing it with you. The other (more pleasant) common name is Seaside Daisy.

Flowering Currant


Ribes sanguineum ‘Claremont’

This native flowering currant has delicious fruit, if you like currants that is, and you know who you are. But it’s really all about the flowers, now isn’t it.

I was able to capture this picture in the 5 minute break in the weather a couple days ago, at the same time I took the protea photo.

This plant has been put aside for Samuel. Good thing I was able to get the picture when I did, because there’s no telling when I would be able to get another one.

Flowering Currant

Ribes Dancing Tassels

Ribes “Dancing Tassels”
Chaparral Currant
California Native
Deciduous shrub

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

Winter blooming hummingbird plant. Spectacular pendant rose flower clusters. Woody branches have peeling red bark as they age. Hardy to 25F.

Flowering Currant

More Ribes sanguineum “Claremont” blooming. This seems to be dominating the nursery right now.

Far Out Flora has some luscious pictures from Golden Gate Park.

But there are more Ribes blooming than just this one. More! Stay tuned…

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.


Accuweather says you should,

Forget the Whales! Save the Pollinators

Indeed. They suggest planting native Milkweeds, Sunflowers and Berry bushes.

We agree. To encourage you, here are photos of California native milkweeds and sunflowers.

Asclepias tuberosa

Encelia californica

And a bonus Achillea “Paprika”

Now that’s how you attract native butterflies and bees.

Fuchsia-Flowering Gooseberry

This California native spiny Ribes is also blooming. The flowers are rather low down on the plant, so I had to raise it up to photograph. Either that, or I would have to lay down on the ground. I would have too, for you, but I didn’t.

Ribes speciosum

Giant California Poppy

Matilija Poppy

Romneya coulteri – Matilija Poppy

Spectactular giant California poppy blooms on top stems that can get to 8′ tall. You can see them from miles away. Nows a good time to see them in bloom, since they’re now in bloom. They do have an underground rhizome – difficult to establish, easy to spread.

They belong in the back of a succulent garden, up against the house assuming you don’t have a white house.

Giant Chalk Dudleya


Dudleya brittonii
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

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!

Green Roof San Francisco

This has been much blogged, but here’s the green roof on the top of the Academy of Sciences building in Golden Gate Park.

If you look very closely you can see that it’s all California native plants.

Oh, and look over there, I see some Dudleyas! So many succulents. What’s that? It’s a Sedum? It is!

These cell phone pictures aren’t very good. Maybe I should go back to using my camera.

Hairy Goldenaster


Heterotheca villosa

California Native
Herbaceous Perennial

Sun: Full Sun
Water: Low
Size: 1ft

Low growing native perennial with grey-green leaves and hairy stems. Bright yellow flowers in summer. Makes a great groundcover for dry areas! Hardy to below 0F.

Happy New Year Postings


Ceanothus “Tassajara Blue”
Mountain Lilac

Hybrid California Lilac with glossy deep green leaves and blue flowers as you can see. Makes a great hedge plant if you want an 8ft. tall hedge. Most people don’t. So you’d trim it right down to 5ft. and have yourself a happy new year.

Hillside Morning Glory

Another photo from our Sonoma foray.

Calystegia collina ssp. collina does not appear to be available in cultivation, probably because it’s tiny, but maybe because it’s too cute, too beautiful to be able to properly photograph and thus veritably impossible to advertise. At least, that’s my excuse for an out-of-focus picture.

Holly Leaf Ceanothus

Ceanothus Emily Brown

Ceanothus “Emily Brown” is always the most popular of the Holly Leaf Lilacs. And the Holly Leaf Lilacs are always very popular because they are so very deer resistant. As deer resistant as a Euphorbia? No! Not quite that deer resistant, but resistant enough. You can really see how sharp-edged those leaves are. That’s a lot of resistance.

Native to California
Evergreen shrub

Sun: Moderate to Full Sun
Water: Drought tolerant
Size: 2ft. to 3ft. tall

Low-spreading shrub with rich dark green leaves, dark blue blooms in spring. Edible seeds are favored by native birds. Deer-resistant, cold-hardy, doesn’t like temps over 100F.


September 2021

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