Coral Bells

Heuchera “Canyon Belle”

I can’t tell if this photo is in focus. I took it with my phone, and am blogging it direct without seeing the results on a computer. What do you think?


Cholla City

Cylindropuntia prolifera

A shrubby California coastal native cholla grows 3ft. to 8ft. tall and blooms like you wouldn’t believe. Would you?

Coast Buckwheat

Eriogonum latifolium flower buds are about to open. I wonder what color they’ll be?

Paprika Yarrow

Achillea “Paprika”

The color on these varies. They will come in much darker red, too.

The achillea hybrids are generally from Achillea millefolium which has subspecies in Europe and the Americas. I like to think of them all as California natives since there is one native subspecies, and the hybrids seem to have all interhybridized pretty readily, so I figure that’s close enough. But apparently this one really is hybridized from the California native yarrow. Good to know.

Lavender Yarrow

Achillea millefolium “Lilac Beauty” – a very mellow lilac, practically white, but not quite pure white. A nice glow above the rich green yarrow leaves.

Pink Monkeyflower

Mimulus “Trish” is the last of our currently blooming native monkeyflowers.


Red Monkeyflower

Mimulus puniceus is more of a burgundy monkeyflower to my eye. Not as showy as the white monkeyflower I featured a couple days ago.


Tilden Park


Ceanothus “Tilden Park” is a small-leafed, very shrubby, overly bloomful local variety.

This Wild California Lilac is a late bloomer for the California Lilacs, lasting into early summer. Can handle full sun, and even the inland heat, or the coastal fog belt. Can tolerate poor soils, as long as it has good drainage. Great for large swaths of the hillsides. Attracts native bees.

Easy to prune, but make sure you prune in spring before the blooms.

Blue Eyed Grass

Not actually a grass, but in the iris family.


Sisyrinchium bellum – Northern California native, easy to grow and get all those pretty little blooms. Look, the thing is, you should be replacing your water-intensive lawn with a native meadow look, and these beauties are a key component between the bunch grasses and the yarrows. I’m telling you the truth here, so you should listen to me.

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.

Single Leaf Onion


Allium unifolium is the most beautiful of the ornamental onions. That’s not just my opinion, it’s pedantic fact – I mean just look at the flush of those pink blush flowers with the little striping in them. Sometimes they’re more of a lavender color.

Native to coastal California all the way up to the Oregon border, they are a productive herbaceous perennial, producing lots of new bulbs every spring, and popping up pretty early with large swaths of flowers.

I recommend planting it among a garden filled with native grasses, and every spring you’ll get this little surprise of pink flowers poking out.

Another Re-shoot


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.

Flannel Bush

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


Holly Leaf Mountain Lilac


Ceanothus “Blue Jeans” has whorls of deep lavender flowers. Does deep lavender mean it’s purple? I wonder about these things. Anyway, this is one of the deer-resistant holly-leaf ceanothuses. Forms a dense shrub that is just coming into a full flush of bloom.



Arctostaphylos densiflora “Howard McMinn” is a really nice, deeply-red-barked, twisted-branched medium-height California-native manzanita that has a large showing of pink-tinged bell-shaped blooms this time of year.

They are not to be used as a border plant, as they are only to be used as a centerpiece for a small garden. OK, you can also use them as a feature plant in a larger garden. And they can occasionally be brought indoors in colder areas to be a houseplant sitting in a very bright window, but never in a green pot. Mustard and Burnt Umber are the preferred pot colors.

They can also be bonsai’ed, but that will take a lot of work to reestablish and maintain.

Yellow Daisy Flowers

I see more of the coreopsis flowers have opened. I took the photo this morning before the storm started. And the storm has started.

Coreopsis gigantea, California native from the Channel Islands.


California Lilac


Ceanothus “Julia Phelps”

The ceanothuses are coming into bloom, just like the arctostaphyloses. That’s what happens when the winter rains start up around here. And we’ll see various species and varieties continue blooming through spring. So we always like the ones that are early bloomers.

This variety forms a really nice medium height, wide-spreading-but-not-too-wide shrub. Makes a good cover plant for native hillsides, although more compact than some of the lower-growing groundcover ceanothuses. Also will work well in a small yard or as a street shrub. Can be pruned to create the perfect shape, but just not so severe to be a hedge. I like them in their more wild form.



Arctostaphylos rudis “Vandenberg”

We are at the start of manzanita bloom season. The earliest bloomers are starting. We should have species blooming from now until May. Nice!

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.

California Fuchsia


Epilobium canum “Catalina”

I wonder if this was first discovered on the island of Catalina? Or maybe the color reminded someone of the island. Hmmm…. How can I find out? If I google it, I find out that it was

…selected by Mike Evans of Tree of Life Nursery from the Middle Ranch area of Catalina Island.

Good to know. If I were to name it, I would call it a “Creeping Trumpet”.

Coast Aster


Aster chilensis “Purple Haze”

Such a native wildflower in the Sunflower family (asteraceae) that you should have to have a license to grow it.

It does take a bit more water right now and through the summer than other natives, but the payoff is a full autumn flush of blooms. This was the first bud to open this year. Congratulations!

Otay Mountain Lotus

The fall blooming California natives are starting to bloom at the nursery.


Here we have a favorite, the Lotus crassifolius var. otayensis and the blooms are just starting to crack open. Pea-sized!

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!

Davis, California

The UC Davis Arboretum has a bunch of good programs.

Saturday, August 15
Guided Tour: California Native Plants in the Garden
10 a.m., Buehler Alumni & Visitors Center
Tour the Mary Wattis Brown Garden to see great native for your home garden.

And in case you can make it over there in the next hour:

Friday, August 7
Folk Music Jam Session
12 p.m., Wyatt Deck
Pull out your fiddles, guitars, banjos (you name it) for an acoustic jam session. Campus and community folk musicians play together over the lunch hour. All skill levels welcome. Listeners welcome!

Oh well, I guess my fiddle will have to stay put away until another day.

Lavender Sage


Salvia “Allen Chickering”

I see we have more native wildflower perennials in bloom. I see that the photos keep coming, no matter.

This one smells really nice – the fragrant leaves make a nice tea. The lavender flower whorls make this a Bay Area garden favorite. Not to mention that it’s deer resistant and attracts butterflies. This plant has everything. But wait! Don’t make your wildflower decisions yet! Did I mention it makes an herbal tea? I did? What was that, kid? I can’t hear you, speak up a bit. Hey! You kids! Get off my lawn!

April 2023

US Constitution


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