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.

Watering the Natives

So to speak…

The native perennials and wildflowers are looking really nice. They like it when Rikki waters them.



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.

Red Buckwheat

Eriogonum grande v. rubescensis from San Miguel Island of the Channel Islands National Park.

The rubescens is for the red flowers. The grande is for the big leaves, as far as buckwheats go.

We give them full sun, but then we’re at the coast just like the islands they come from. On the other hand further inland they need some afternoon shade to be at their prettiest.

They will bloom on and off for months through the summer, and yet they don’t need summer water after the first year in the ground. I assume that is because they’re native to clay soils.

Butterflies love them. Deer might too, but we don’t have deer very often down here in the Berkeley Flats, so we watch the butterflies instead.

Desert Milkweed

Asclepias subulata is Hap’s new favorite perennial. These are very cold hardy (down to 20F) and need only a little water through the summer dry season. They’ll get 4 to 5ft. tall and will attract the usual complement of butterflies and bees and even some birds too.

Native to California as well as Arizona and Nevada and down into Baja too. It will get leaves, but they don’t last long.

These are classically inclined to be complementary with a very dry cactus garden, so go ahead and plan it out that way.

More June Rain in the Bay Area

Here, have some flowers.

OK, so those flowers aren’t exactly “pretty” but they are called Baja Fairy Duster.

Calliandra californica will get 6 ft. x 6 ft. in an open, vase-shaped shrub. The red puffball flowersare pollinated by hummingbirds and butterflies too. But not today. They’re all hiding from the rain.


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



Achillea “Paprika”

Do you want to see all the different yarrows currently in bloom all at once, or should I space them out so you can enjoy their colorful blooms for weeks to come?

Blue Eyed Grass

I have jury duty today. Hopefully that will be it. But blogging may slow down a bit. Of course, I could always do jury-pool-blogging for you.

Sisyrinchium bellum in the iris family. In person it always seems more blue than in the photos.

Seaside Daisy

Also known as Fleabane

Erigeron glaucus is a reliable California coastal bloomer. Easy to grow, lives for years, spreads out a bit. It’s a Northern Cal. native, up through the Oregon coast, so it can handle clay soils and sandy soils. High winds too. It’s an exposure-junky, although that’s not to say a bit of afternoon sun won’t make it happy. I love double negatives! Did I just say it likes a bit of afternoon shade, or not? Hard to say.

Will be found an attractive plant by the butterflies and the bees.

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.

Santa Catalina Live-Forever

Dudleya hassei

I love Santa Catalina Island! OK, well, no. I’ve never been there. I’ve never been to the Channel Islands at all. I have been to Santa Barbara though.

Yellow Eyed Grass

Sisyrinchium californicum

This tiny yellow flower is hard to photograph. The yellow is very dense and the flower is very small. Here’s my secret: (shhh, it’s photoshop.) I isolated that baby from the rest of the picture and tweaked it up good.

Here’s how it looked straight out of the camera.


Matilija poppy

Our first giant poppy flower of the year!

According to Calflora,

Matilija poppy is a glabrous, shrubby perennial, heavy branched and woody at the base, growing to 8′ tall.

I wonder what glabrous means? I suppose I should take a botanical terminology class. Or, let me check the wikipedia.

In botany and mycology, glabrous is an adjective used to describe a morphological feature as smooth, glossy, having no trichomes (bristles or hair-like structures), or glaucousness (see also indumentum). No plants have hair, although some structures may resemble it. Glabrous features may be an important means of identifying flora species. Glabrous characteristics of leaves, stems, and fruit are commonly used in plant keys.

Romneya coulteri

Mallows are in Bloom

Malacothamnus fasciculatus is one of three mallow species we currently have at the nursery, all in bloom or bud. Plus the related Flannel Bushes in big bloom.

Lewisia cotyledon "Regenbogen"

Lewisia cotyledon “Regenbogen” has these weirdly vibrant flowers. They supposedly come in a variety of colors and striping too, but all of our babies we’ve been growing have bloomed in this color, so far.

It’s definitely been Lewisia season for the past 6 weeks or so. The rains the last couple days have stopped the show, but I presume when we get sun again, soon enough, they’ll be bursting out again.

Santa Rosa Island Sage

Salvia brandegei “Pacific Blue” – is from Santa Rosa Island, one of the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara.

These are a nice size. They’ll get 4 ft. tall x 6ft. wide. Heavily branched, the narrow green leaves are nicely scented. The tiered whorls of dark lavender blue flowers open slowly over the course of a month long bloom period. Long-lived, very drought-tolerant, hardy to at least 15°F.

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.

Coast Sunflower

Encelia californica, also known as the California Brittlebush. You can extend the bloom season by deadheading religiously. The shrubs will get hundreds of flower heads at the same time. It is a daisy, or sunflower, or aster, depending on if you prefer to call the Asteraceae Family the Aster, Sunflower or Daisy Family. I usually call it the Daisy family since the flowers are all, clearly, daisy flowers.

It will survive most Berkeley winters, but is short lived regardless, so mix it in with your ceanothuses and your echeverias for maximum effect.

Año Nuevo State Reserve

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

Artemisia pycnocephala

Lupinus arboreus

Monkey Hand Tree

The x Chiranthofremontia has bloomed.

This Chiranthodendron x Fremontodendron hybrid is interesting. It’s a 15ft. shrub with stunning flowers. Far Out Flora got their photo of this plant up before me. How about that!

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.

Silver Bush Lupine

Lupinus albifrons is a very pretty California lupine. The silver foliage is pretty year round while these two-toned flowers are pretty all spring long.

California has some pretty lupines. Like this one. And this one.

"Sunset Strain"

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

Bitterroot [updated]

Another color Lewisia cotyledon flower for spring.

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

February 2024

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