California Native Plant Society

CNPS eNewsletter

Sempember 2015

CNPS Takes It to the Capitol!

Fix it for Good

On September 14, CNPS and partners celebrated the launch of Save Our Water's "Fix It For Good" public education campaign by breaking ground on the Capitol landscape conversion project with a sheet mulch demonstration on the East Lawn of the Capitol. The event was put on by the California Department of General Services to showcase their commitment to rethinking the landscape on the Capitol grounds by converting lawn and other high water use areas to water-wise landscapes featuring California native plants. The goal of the demonstration is to teach the public about sheet mulching, an environmentally friendly lawn conversion technique that removes your lawn, creates a weed barrier, and fortifies your existing soil all without having to haul material off to the landfill. The demonstration was accompanied by a small water conservation expo where partner organizations hosted educational activities and information booths.

Continue reading here.

Gardening in Deer Country

Charlotte Torgovitsky

Deer Country GardeningFor many Californians throughout the state, deer are the largest free-living animals they will commonly encounter. For anyone with an affinity for the natural world, it's an impressive thing to realize that these animals are self-sustaining, leading their own lives, and needing nothing from us. But they are also are more than just beautiful creatures to admire; they are in many ways symbolic of a more calm, untroubled, and carefree life outside of the human hive of activities.

I have lived and gardened in "deer country" (Marin County) for decades now; and so often hear other gardeners complain that they "can't grow anything" because of the deer. Granted, deer are herbivores, and that can create challenges (and a lack of tranquility) for some California gardeners when they venture into a cultivated landscape! It is possible to create a beautiful garden despite the deer, but first a gardener has to understand these lovely creatures!

Continue reading here.

California Hazelnut

Vivian Mazur

HazelnutIf you have a shade garden, the California hazelnut (Corylus cornuta ssp. Californica) is a natural resident. It is widespread in woodland, particularly in moist or shaded canyons. It can be found in the Coastal Ranges in Northern California, the Siskiyous, and Sierras. If you hike this time of year, you may be rewarded with a crop of nuts unless the squirrels have beaten you to them. The name, Corylus, comes from the Greek 'coys', meaning helmet, which refers to the sheath around the nut. The hazelnut is in the birch family (betulaceae), related the alder. It is interesting to notice the similarities between them - from the shape of the leaf to the late winter catkins.

Continue reading here.


It's CNPS Fall Plant Sale Season!

CA Azalea - S. FlowerdewFall is the right time to prepare your garden for spring! When is your local chapter hosting a plant sale, presentation, or native gardening workshop? The CNPS Horticulture Events Calendar is searchable by CNPS chapter and type of event, including "Plant Sale" to help you plan for regional CNPS Chapter plant sales. The calendar is frequently updated, so be sure to check back for events in your area.


CNPS Educational Grants Due September 30

This fall, the CNPS Educational Grants Program is again offering over $7500 for seven research grants to students and researchers. All grant proposals must be submitted by September 30th, and awards are announced by early December. Grant awards are decided by a review committee who determines which grant is appropriate for each proposal funded. See for more details about the various CNPS Education Program grant opportunities, application instructions, or to apply.


Upcoming Fall "Ditch Your Lawn!" Workshops

Native Garden by Pete Vellieux

CNPS is partnering with organizations around California to deliver all-new statewide “Ditch your Lawn!” workshops program, which aims to teach homeowners how to replace their thirsty lawns with water-saving native plants. Classes are being held in Sacramento, Redding, Chico, Modesto, and Encino this September and October, and CNPS hopes to continue this program into the future and add more class locations as we continue working towards a healthier and happier California. Visit to register for a “Ditch Your Lawn!” workshop near you, or contact Becky Reilly at for more information.


Upcoming CNPS Plant Science Workshop

Further details, pricing, and registration information for upcoming workshops are posted on the workshops webpage. Please contact Becky Reilly, CNPS Events Coordinator, for more information.

CEQA Impact Assessment
Nov 4-5

Instructor: David L. Magney, Botanist/Certified Arborist. This workshop will focus on how to read and analyze the biological resources section of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) prepared to satisfy the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Registration open now. Last day to register is Monday, October 19.


Chapter Events - A Sampling from Around the State

To connect to your local chapter, or to find other events in your region, see this page for a list and map of CNPS chapters. Even more events from CNPS chapters and partners can be viewed on the Horticulture Events Calendar.

Bristlecone Chapter
Restoration Planting Field Day
Saturday, October 3, 9:30 AM

Join in again this year, on Saturday, October 3, to team up with BLM Botanist Martin Oliver for a bitterbrush planting in the footprint of the Indian Fire south of Mono Lake in Mono County, California. Martin has several hundred young bitterbrush grown out by our Bristlecone Chapter president, Katie Quinlan and volunteers, from seed to be placed and planted. Join in on this opportunity to continuing helping with this post-fire Bi-state Greater Sage-Grouse habitat restoration project. Prepare for diverse weather conditions: sunblock, layered clothing, boots, and sun hat. Bring your lunch, water and any other creature comforts. Trip leaders will bring treats and extra water. We should be finished by 2-3 PM. Meet at Mono Mills off Hwy 120 at 9:30 AM. Contact: Julie Anne Hopkins (831) 566-6012.

San Diego Chapter
Field Trip: Indian Flats and Vicinity of Lake Henshaw
Sunday, October 4, 8:30 AM - 4:00 PM

Leader - Fred Roberts, The area around Indian Flats Campground is not frequently visited by botanists, especially in the fall. However the region offers many interesting fall-blooming plants. This is the easiest place to find the beautiful, state-listed endangered Mojave tarplant (Deinandra mohavensis). The other specialty, primarily found along sandy roadsides east of Lake Henshaw is Warner Springs lessingia (Lessingia glandulosa var. tomentosa), locally endemic California Rare Plank Rank 1B.1 plant. It is known only from the Valle de San Jose surrounding Lake Henshaw. We will see both of these plants and possibly a good deal more following July's summer rainfall in the area. Bring lunch, water, and sun protection. Vehicles should have an Adventure pass. Several roadside stops will be made, which may involve short walks. The group will meet at the SR76 park and ride at the northwest corner of the SR76/I-15 interchange at 8:30 (Thomas Guide map 1048 H2). It is about 45 minutes to an hour to the Lake Henshaw area. If you want to ride-share from coastal central San Diego to the 15/76 junction, meet at 7:45 at the parking lot behind Denny's on Friar's Road just east of HWY 163. Questions? Email

Mount Lassen Chapter
Field Trip: Butte Creek BLM Trail
Sunday, October 4, 9:00 AM

Meet at the Chico Park & Ride west lot (Hwys 32/99) in time to leave by 9 AM. Bring a light jacket, lunch, water, insect/sun protection, and money for ride sharing. We'll drive east on Hwy 32 to Garland Road, then south to the trailhead in Butte Creek Canyon. This is an easy 3 mile round trip walk along a secluded section of scenic Upper Butte Creek. The trail stays close to the stream, has several wooden bridges, and a structured steel stairway. The trail winds through a narrow band of riparian vegetation containing a variety of flowering plants and a mixed coniferous forest extends up the rugged canyon walls. Call for alternate meeting place. Leaders: 530-893-5123, 530-342-2293.

Marin Chapter
Program Meeting: Vertic Clay Soil Endemic Plant Species
Monday, October 12, 8:00 PM

Learn about some of California's rich diversity of edaphic (soil-influenced) endemic plant species, including those restricted to physically and chemically extreme substrates. You've heard about the challenges of serpentine soil and gypsum-rich soil; come learn about vertic clay soils that present a unique extreme stress to plant growth and some of the plants adapted to this environment. Ryan O'Dell is a Natural Resource Specialist (Botany/Soils/Paleontology) with the Bureau of Land Management in Hollister, California. His specialty is edaphic endemic plant species ecology and conservation. Doors open at 7:30; program at 8:00. Redwoods Retirement Home, 40 Camino Alto, Mill Valley.

Channel Islands Chapter
Program Meeting: Native Plant Sections of the Ventura Botanical Gardens
Tuesday, October 13, 7:15 - 9:00 PM

Speaker: Joe Cahill. Learn about what the new Ventura Botanical Gardens (VBG) is planning for their native plant areas at Grant Park, Ventura. The botanic garden will feature many different plants from around the world, but will also highlight plants that are native to the Ventura County region. In early 2015, the Ventura City Council approved a 35-year master plan for the gardens. The greatest proportion of the 107-acre site will be devoted to native California plants. Mr. Cahill will briefly present the history of garden site, design process, recent progress, and plans for phase I over the next five years. Come and hear what they are thinking and provide them with feedback as well. Bring your unknown native plants to ID before the talk. Venue: Topping Room, E.P. Foster Library, 651 E. Main Street, Ventura.

Sacramento Valley Chapter
Program Meeting: Exploring Biodiversity in California Grasslands
Wednesday, October 14, 7:00 PM

Come find out where some of the most species-rich habitats are in California, it just might surprise you! The CNPS Vegetation Program has been studying (and delighting) in grassland vegetation of the Great Valley and Carrizo Plain since 2008. In some cases, Jennifer has re-visited the same plots up to five times over the last few years. Some seasons are breathtakingly showy like the spring of 2010; others are dry and dusty with exposed soil churned from rodent activity. Jennifer will lead a photographic journey across the Valley and through time to explore the native plants of our grassland habitats. Jennifer Buck-Diaz is a vegetation ecologist in the Vegetation Program of the California Native Plant Society where she surveys, classifies, and maps vegetation across the state. Her recent work focuses on the classification and description of grassland vegetation including the study of spatial and temporal dynamics in these systems. She also sits on the Board of Directors of the California Native Grassland Association.

Santa Cruz Chapter
Habitat Restoration: Seabright Beach
Saturday, October 17, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Our program provides an opportunity for people to learn about the natural systems that surround them while helping to restore special and wild places. No prior work experience is necessary, just show up at the park. We welcome individual volunteers from 8 to 80 years, as well as special group projects. Wear comfortable layered clothing, bring something to drink, and lots of enthusiasm! We work rain or shine, but if things get particularly unpleasant, we call it a day. Tools provided; bring gloves. Questions? Linda Brodman 831-462-4041.

Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter
Habitat Restoration: La Sierra Preserve
Saturday, October 17, 8:30 AM

Restoration of a Hidden Gem. You won't find this beauty spot on any map, but after we meet at Peter Strauss Ranch the way will be shown. We'll weed and water recently planted native plants. Bring drinking water. Receive community service credit. Reservations required or 818-591-1701. From Kanan Road, Agoura Hills, turn onto Troutdale, then left on Mullholland Highway, then right into Peter Strauss parking lot. 3.5 hrs.

Shasta Chapter
Field Trip: Clear Creek Greenway Trail
Saturday, October 24, 9:00 AM

This field trip will be from the Clear Creek Gorge Trailhead to Horsetown-Clear Creek Preserve. We will hike along Clear Creek, where we should see migrating salmon, then through a meadow and a blue oak-gray pine woodland. Part of this area was burned in a fire several years ago, so we'll be able to judge which plants return through root crown sprouting and which through seed germination. We'll see many remnants of past mining days along the trail; the area was heavily mined in years past, and miners still do some low-level placer mining. Mostly level walk of about 4 miles. Dogs on leashes are welcome on this trip. Meet at the trailhead on Clear Creek Road, 4 miles west of Hwy 273 at 9 AM. For more information call David Ledger at 530-355-8542.

Santa Clara Valley Chapter
Talk: Replace your lawn with plantas nativas de California
Wednesday, October 28, 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM

Come to this special presentation in Spanish and English designed especially for Hispanic gardeners. Hear about the benefits of replacing a dry, brown lawn with a garden full of native flowers and life. You'll lower your water bill, while attracting butterflies, bees and birds. Pete Veilleux is a master designer, nurseryman and photographer. He is the owner and propagator of East Bay Wilds Native Plant Nursery ( in Oakland and is a tireless advocate of native gardening. Campbell Library, 77 Harrison Ave., Campbell (408) 866-1991.


Contributors and Photo Credits

  • Caroline Garland
  • Charlotte Torgovitsky
  • Vivian Mazur
  • Stacey Flowerdew
  • Mark Naftzger
  • Capitol Landscape Conversion Project photo collage - Caroline Garland
  • Young buck in garden - Bob and Mieko Watkins
  • California Hazelnut courtesy Calphotos- Keir Morse
  • Western Azalea - Stacey Flowerdew
  • CNPS Education Grant recipient Lee Ripma in Sierras - photo courtesy Lee Ripma
  • A colorful example of native plant landscaping by Pete Veilleux - photo courtesy Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds



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