California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

December 2012

A Crooked Path to a Native Garden

Liz Katz

YarrowUnder the huge, leaning Monterey pines, we stumbled over a tangled mat of weedy vines. Juicy snails slumbered under broken clay flowerpots. Agapanthus flower stems stood headless above the tight clumps of strapping leaves; little piles of deer droppings told tattletale nearby. Ancient, treelike camellias grew in the dry shade beneath the pines, blooming red and pink, their double flowers browning with petal blight. This was my big backyard in the Oakland Hills (Sunset zone 16), the project I had wanted for so long. I saw a perfect native plant garden in-the-making. My spouse foresaw sunburn, sweat, and big chiropractor bills ahead.

Continue reading here.

Southwestern Style

Greg Rubin
This article was originally published in the newsletter of the San Diego Horticultural Society

Calliandra californicaSince starting my native landscape company in the early nineties, I have been approached by people who think that a native plant landscape means a cactus garden. The truth is, our California deserts actually have very few species of cacti. In fact, my old business card used to read “We’re Not Talking Cactus Here!” Not that there is anything wrong with cacti, but most of my landscapes tend to use evergreen, colorful shrubs and groundcovers that reflect the feel of Big Sur or Julian more than the desert. Then again, there are many folks who really like the open look of the southwest and want to capture that look at home. A truly authentic southwestern style landscape contains only a smattering of cacti and succulents; the backbone is still based on woody plants.

Continue reading here.

Watershed Gardening: Partnerships for a Greater Good

Susan Krzywicki

Bioswale on Commercial PropertyUrban runoff from gardens and hard surfaces is the #1 source of ocean pollution. If you analyzed what was in that runoff, you would find pollutants such as: pesticides, herbicides, synthetic fertilizers and sediment (soil), oil, engine exhaust, brake pad dust, dog poo, etc.

But where is the runoff coming from? Much of it is from our gardens - both public and private. Homeowners, condominium associations, business parks - we all garden and water.

We know that native plant gardens are almost always much thriftier on water use, so you may not think this is an issue for native plant gardeners. But even if you garden exclusively with low water use native plants, you may still be causing runoff. This can occur during rainstorms as well as during dry periods, called “wet-season runoff” and “dry-season runoff,” respectively.

Continue reading here.

Blooms Among the Tombs: Native Plant Demonstration Garden in Sacramento’s Historic City Cemetery

Jennifer Jewell

Painted Admiral on Buckwheat - Cassandra Nguyen MustoJennifer Jewell is a professional garden writer and host of "In a North State Garden", a weekly Northstate Public Radio and web-based program celebrating the art, craft and science of home gardening in Northern California. This is an excerpt from an article originally published March 3, 2012, on the "In a North State Garden" blog.

One of the best known historic cemeteries of our region might well be the Historic City Cemetery in downtown Sacramento. Having begun life as a 10-acre “Public Graveyard” as designated by Captain John Sutter in 1849, the cemetery now comprises 28 total acres with over 25,000 burial plots - many dating back to the pioneering era. Having suffered years of neglect and vandalism, the cemetery was taken firmly in hand by the Old City Cemetery Committee, Inc. in 1986, which undertook restoration efforts, including an adopt-a-plot program to improve the consistency of care and maintenance. Currently, the Historic City Cemetery also includes three major dedicated garden areas: an Historic Rose Garden, the Hamilton Square Perennial Garden, and a Native Plant Demonstration Garden, tended by the Sacramento Chapter of the California Native Plant Society.

The Native Plant Demonstration Garden was originally proposed to the Sac Valley Chapter of the CNPS by a member named Eva Butler in the fall of 1996. “Who wants to help start a native plant garden in the cemetery?” She put out to the member meeting. It happened to be one of the first meetings that a young Landscape Architect, Cassandra Nguyen Musto, ever attended and she thought: “Heck, why not? Sounds fun.

Read the full article here.

CNPS 2012 Conservation Campaign

The CNPS Conservation Campaign is an effort to raise money to sustain the CNPS Conservation Program. Thanks to donations from hundreds of dedicated CNPS members and CNPS chapters, this campaign has been very successful and we are close to meeting our goal. As 2012 comes to a close, please consider making a special gift to support this indispensable program.

Gifts to the Conservation Campaign can be made online two ways:

Donations made by check can be addressed to: CNPS Conservation Campaign, 2707 K Street, Suite 1, Sacramento, CA 95816.

Thanks to all who have given and continue to spread the word about our campaign. California's native plants appreciate it!

Upcoming CNPS Vegetation Mapping Workshop

Further details, including a list of upcoming workshops in 2013, are available at Josie Crawford for more information.

CNPS Vegetation Mapping Workshop
UC Berkeley and Mount Tamalpais
Jan 16-18, 2013

veg mappingJoin the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), and Aerial Information Services (AIS) for a three-day, vegetation mapping workshop. This workshop is a combination of field and computer exercises in fine-scale vegetation mapping. Participants should have an initial understanding of the subject matter and of GIS.

Cost: CNPS Members $620; Non-members $645
Details and Registration:

Chapter Events

Mount Lassen Chapter

Banana Belt Upper Bidwell Park Hike
Tuesday, January 1, 10:00 AM

Meet at 10 AM at Horsehoe Lake, parking lot E with lunch and drink. Wear hiking shoes for the scramble up to the north ridge where we will see the first of the new year's flowers and the last of the old ones. With two good early rains already, we have a good chance to see blue dicks, purple mouse ears, goldfields along with some paintbrush and gumweed. If the weather cooperates we will have lunch at a Maidu rock shelter that comes equipped with 30 bedrock mortars and running water. Common manzanita may be in bloom down by the park road. Leaders: Wes Dempsey (530) 342-2293 and Gerry Ingco (530) 893-5123.

Santa Clara Valley Chapter

Año Nuevo State Park Field Trip
Tuesday, January 1, 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM

Join us as we celebrate a Chapter tradition of welcoming the New Year with a walk and picnic at Ano Nuevo State Park on the San Mateo County coast.  The park is located south of Pescadero on Highway 1, just north of the Santa Cruz County line. Meet in the parking lot ($10 day use fee) at 10:00 am.  Latecomers will find us on the trail in the coastal prairie. We’ll enjoy sea cliff vegetation, raptors, songbirds and maybe marine mammals. We will face a moderate high tide at noon, but should be able to picnic on the beach. As a day to have fun at the beach with fellow chapter members the ending time and depth of botanical discussion may be extended depending on participants. We will finish at the visitor center. Bring binoculars and layers for variable conditions including wind, sun and fog. Heavy rain cancels.  For more information contact Carolyn Dorsch.

Napa Valley Chapter

Mushroom walk at Archer Taylor Preserve
Saturday, January 5, 9:00 AM

We'll carpool leaving from the parking lot between Target and Pharmaca in Bel Aire Plaza off Trancas Street in Napa near Highway 29. Remember to dress for cool weather and bring snacks, lunch, ample drinking water and sturdy hiking shoes. Steady rain cancels. Leader: Jake Ruygt (707) 253-1839.

Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter

Weed War at Cold Creek Valley Preserve
Sunday, January 13, 8:30 AM

Weed War is an unending engagement started by CNPS in the early 1980s. This month we revisit restoration sites so beautifully planted by volunteers earlier in the year. It's exciting to see the growth and speculate on what native critters now have a home, food, and shelter at the sites as a weed field becomes fully functional. Join us for a satisfying day of planting and weeding. Receive community service credit. Reservations required: call Jo at 818-591-1701 x203 or RVSP via email. Call or email for directions. 3.5hrs. Repeats on Saturday, January 26, at 8:45 AM.

Temescal Canyon Pacific Palisades Native Plant Garden Restoration
Saturday, January 26, 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Help remove exotic invasive weeds, install new native plants, spread mulch, and/or prune the large surviving natives in this corner of an L.A. City Park originally dedicated to the beauty and sustainability of California flora in 1988. We're just a few steps east of ~700 Temescal Canyon Road, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272 (between the PCH and Sunset Blvd., below Bowdoin St.). Community Service Credit. Contact Barbara Marinacci or Michael G. Terry.

East Bay Chapter

Fetid Adder's Tongue Field Trip
Sunday, January 6, 2:00 PM

Location: Huddart County Park, 1100 Kings Mountain Road, Woodside (San Mateo County) California. Meet in the parking lot just past the pay station. David Margolies (510-654-0283, 510-393-1858 cell, or email) will lead a hike on the Crystal Springs Trail where fetid adder’s tongue Scoliopus bigelovii (Liliaceae) blooms in early January. This is a gentle trail, losing about 200 feet over about 1/2 mile to the creek. We will walk to the creek and then return the same way. The area is second growth redwood and mixed evergreen forest. Note that you must pay the park's parking fee even if the station is not staffed (use the envelopes provided). It will probably be muddy and may be raining. but the walk will take place rain or shine. For directions or further information see:

Monterey Bay Chapter

Point Lobos Fungi Field Trip
Friday, January 11, 9:45 AM - 12:30 PM

Chuck Bancroft, state park ranger retired, will accompany CNPS Leader Lynn Bomberger on a walk to explore the forest for fungal friends. Our approximately 2 mile walk will take us on several trails in the pine forest to search for and photograph both fungi and mushrooms and any other unique observations. Bring a point & shoot camera, water, a snack, and wear good walking shoes. Be prepared for any kind of weather. Let’s meet by 9:45 at the Rio Road Park and Ride. Call Lynn for a reservation at 375-7777.

Marin County Chapter

Lagunitas Creek, Samuel P Taylor State Park
Saturday, January 12, 10 AM - Noon

Watch, listen, and learn while endangered salmon spawn in Lagunitas Creek. Explore the botany of the watershed of California’s largest remaining coho salmon population while sharing discussions on the ecology of salmon and local streams, and their relationship to the health of our forests. We’ll meet at the parking lot of the San Geronimo Valley Cultural Center, located at 6350 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. We’ll carpool to the Leo T. Cronin fish viewing area. Rain cancels; call Clint if in doubt. Leader: Clint Kellner, (510) 376-5702 (cell), or email. For additional information including directions, see:

El Dorado Chapter

Program meeting: Gabbro and Serpentine Plants of the Pine Hill Preserve
Tuesday, January 22, 6:30 PM

Debra Ayres, Ph.D. is an Associate Project Scientist in Evolution and Ecology at U.C. Davis. She will talk about the endemic plants which are found on the gabbro and serpentine soils of the Pine Hill Preserve in the west county. She will discuss which native plants can be used in home landscapes on these soils which are widespread around Cameron Park as well as a belt extending north and south. Dr. Ayres has also been a Master Gardener and landscape designer prior to her academic career, so she is well qualified to tie all of this information together. The meeting location is in the Bethell-Delfino Agriculture Building, 311 Fair Lane, Placerville. Chapter meetings are free and the public is always invited to attend. The first half hour is plant identification and socializing. Program will start at 7 PM. For a preview, see the El Dorado chapter page on Pine Hill Preserve.

Contributors and Photo Credits

  • Laura Camp
  • Caroline Garland
  • Liz Katz
  • Greg Rubin
  • Susan Kizywicki
  • Jennifer Jewell
  • Josie Crawford
  • Stacey Flowerdew
  • Mark Naftzger
  • Liz Katz - Yarrow
  • Laura Camp - Red Fairyduster (Calliandra californica)
  • Susan Krzywicki - example of¬†bioswale on commercial property
  • Cassandra Nguyen Musto -¬†Painted admiral butterfly on buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum)


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