Bush Lupine


Lupinus arboreus

I blogged this Northern California native wildflower recently (way back in May) but they’re still in bloom, so I am being forced to blog this again, now aren’t I? Someone must be at fault here.

Blue Bedder


Penstemon heterophylla “Margarita BOP”

This California native perennial is a low shrubby 2 foot border plant, with abundant bright blue flowers through spring and summer. Long-lived, hardy to 10°, prefers lots of sun and little water. Now that’s the kind of plant we like.


I wonder what a garden blogger would say about this plant? Barbara at Wild Suburbia has some beautiful wildflower pictures, including this particular penstemon variety.



Dudleya cymosa

This is one of the more attractive dudleyas we’re growing. Fat green leaves with bright red edges, and these spectacular bloom displays – as much for the red color of the bloom stalks as for the pale yellow flowers.

Dudleyas were named for famed Stanford forester (and botanist) William Russell Dudley.

I wonder if I’ll ever get a plant named after me?

Blue Witch


Solanum umbelliferum

Kinda shrubby, but a small and airy shrub at that. Showy violet flowers are in full bloom and can keep going through summer and fall.


One-Leaf Onion


This is a local native onion. And it’s a pretty annual bloomer, with clumps of grass-like leaves through the winter and spring. But I’d call it a deciduous bulb.

Allium unifolium

Bush Lupine


Lupinus arboreus

A northern Cal. native, so you know it’s good. This lovely plant will help renew depleted soils, and will survive in coastal sandy areas too. That’s a winning combo. Oh, and also the flowers, oh the flowers.

Tapertip Live Forever

What a strange common name for a plant.

What a beautiful plant.


Dudleya attenuata, native to Southern Cal., but grows like it was meant to live in the Bay Area.

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.

Beard Tongue


Penstemon “Firebird”

This species’ flowers are usually a very bright red, and these are clearly not. So I wonder if this is a natural variation, or if we have them mislabeled. They’re certainly not Margarita BOP’s, which is the other penstemon we’re growing right now.

If I knew more about them, then I could decide to be the expert, and then I could make a grand pronouncement about this color, and the nature of penstemons in general. That’s the great thing about having a blog.

Manzanita Berry Season


Arctostaphylos pajaroensis “Warren Roberts”

Did you ever wonder who these people are that got plant varieties named after them?

Well, Warren Roberts is the Superintendant of the Arboretum at UC Davis.

He comes from a long line of Kern County cattle ranchers and says he inherited some of his plant know-how from a Gold Rush-era great-grandmother who was well respected for her knowledge of herbs.

California Lilac


Ceanothus “Blue Jeans”

I caught this one just before the buds opened. This is an unusual ceanothus, what with the very small glossy dark green leaves. Deer resistant, it grows to 6 ft. tall! Interesting. Quite the lavender color, or I suppose it may be called lilac, but I think it’s more lavender.

Wikipedia thinks it might be a light mauve, even. But definitely more lavender than lilac.

Another Blooming Manzanita


Arctostaphylos pajaroensis “Warren Roberts”

A nice dense medium height shrub with summer leaves in the steel blue color range. I like the various A. pajaroensis cultivars.

Rosy Dawn


Arctostaphylos edmundsii

A great and very bloomful groundcover manzanita. Compact grower, works well on hillsides. But really, it’s about the profusion of pink-flushed flowers, I always say.

Blooming Native


Arctostaphylos “Austin Griffiths”

Known for it’s large green leaves and compact, twisted form with sculptural branching. Gets to about 8 ft. tall, and pretty fast too for a manzanita.

Pretty Flowers


Arctostaphylos pajaroensis “Lester Rountree”

It’s a manzanita in bloom!

Sunset Across the Pacific, or Why You Must Love Yellow Flowers


Fremontodendron ‘Pacific Sunset’
flannel bush

Let’s see what the good folks at Calflora have to say, shall we?

Showy hybrid flannel bush which grows in a broad “V” to 20 – 30 ft. tall. Covered with orange-yellow cup-shaped flowers for a long period in spring. Requires full sun and plenty of room. Best if not watered once established.

That seems about right. But then, what do I know?

Red Bud, Red Pod


Cercis occidentalis – Western Redbud

From rocky soils in the foothills of the Sierras. Bright red seed pods sure do look ripe for the picking. Hap says we still have to wait before gathering the seeds. Something about just the right amount of ripeness.

Now there also appears to be another flower starting, getting ready to open.

And the plant in the background is an Acacia.

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.

Wild California Lilac


Ceanothus griseus “Yankee Point”

Fast growing ground-cover shrub, 2 to 3 ft. tall, with glossy dark green leaves and blue flower clusters winter through spring. Can handle partial shade and as low as 20º F.

Well, that’s the technical info, but what about the feeling? The meaning? The purpose? Well, it’s an interesting photo…

Anchors Away


Ceanothus gloriosus “Anchor Bay”

These flowers are a bit more on the purplish side than most of the California Lilacs, which tend to be a bit more on the powdery blue edge, if my eyes don’t deceive me.

The leaves are some of the toughest of the Ceanothus leaves, which makes them great as a deer-resistant plant, along with the “Emily Brown.”

Shag Bark Manzanita


Arctostaphylos rudis “Vandenberg”

This California native with very dense foliage can be used in your garden as  a deep green backdrop. On the other hand, if you prefer, with a minimal amount of pruning it can form a hedge to protect you from your annoying neighbors, naturally growing to about 6 ft. tall. However, the thickly growing leaves will tend to hide the deep red manzanita bark on the twisting branches.

We’re starting to get the small clusters of small white and pink flowers already, and they should last into early spring.

Hardy to 15°F. brrrr……

Gee, I feel like a garden blogger all of a sudden, taking pictures of plants in my garden and describing what they can be used for. Maybe I should talk about the berries next, and which urban and suburban animals will appreciate your providing them with this lovely smorgasbord.

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.

Slender Bush Mallow

Recent flowers posted while in the midst of a pain-reliever-fueled haze have not been natives. What was I thinking?

Here is one of the most slender of the bush mallows. The pink is so tender as to be almost white.

Malacothamnus jonesii

I want to be a bee and caress those petals.

Western Redbud

Another shot of Cercis occidentalis in bloom with some morning dew. Now isn’t that lovely?

Western Rosebud

Man, these have nice bloooms sprays. Cercis occidentalis.

It’s native to the west coast. Slow growing to 20ft. tall. Summer drought is preferred. Careful not to disturb roots when transplanting. Magenta flowers in spring and sometimes again in fall, like right now. From rocky soils at the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas.

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.


Arctostaphylos morroensis – Morro Manzanita

Endangered in its native range in Southern Cal., it grows well coastal gardens throughout the state. Lavender flowers with red berries.


Eriogonum parvifolium, aka Seacliff Buckwheat – Can handle Sun or Shade, gets to around 2ft. Great native coastal shrub, important plant for endangered butterfly populations. Handles clay soils and winter freezes.

Bush Mallow

Malacothamnus palmeri – Palmer’s Bush Mallow, from Carmel and Big Sur Central California Coast. Shrubby, branchy, almost tree-like, but only 6 ft. tall. They bloom a lot.

Check out those bristles.

Yarrow Bloom Sprays

Achillea “Heidi” is a burgundy yarrow, but the blooms, even on one plant, come in pinks, reds and whites too. Alongside the yellow and terra cotta yarrows at the nursery, and some other pink and burgundy ones too, they are a proliferation of colors. Very beautiful. I recommend them for along sidewalk strips because they can take some abuse and some traffic and come back with big bloom sprays throughout the year.

April 2023

US Constitution


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