Saturday, March 27, 2010

SRP Native Plant Sale & CA meets Southwest in a pile of dirt

Today was the Nature Conservancy's annual Spring native plant sale at the Santa Rosa Plateau Visitor Center. We arrived around 10:00am and found parking to be scarce. Not surprising, as it was a gorgeously sunny (albeit breezy) spring day, drawing in a profusion of visitors and hikers to the reserve.

3/27/10 Visitor Center, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.

3/27/10 Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis). Visitor Center, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.

3/27/10 Mahonia 'Golden Abundance.' Visitor Center, Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve.

As always, Susan Frommer, along with a wonderful crew of friendly volunteers, were on hand at the plant sale to help with plant selections, helpful advice, and good humor. I'm glad that Susan has expanded the typical selections to include a few southwestern (not native, but non-invasive) drought tolerants that are perfect for xeriscapes and also great companions for native plantings.

My bounty today:
Heartleaf Penstemon (Keckiella cordifolia)
Deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens)
'El Dorado Gold' Fremontia
Red-Skinned Onion (Allium haematochiton)
Chaparral Clematis (Clematis lasiantha)
Purple Needlegrass (Nasella pulchra)
San Diego Honeysuckle (Lonicera subspicata)
Chaparral Currant (Ribes indecorum)
Hartweg's Sundrop (Calylophus hartwegii)
Texas Sundrop (Calylophus drummondianus)
Engelmann Oak (Quercus engelmannii)
Mountain Mahogany (Cercocarpus betuloides)

I am also ecstatic that I was finally able to transform a pile of dirt left by our builder off our driveway into a beautiful flowerbed that is bursting with both California native annual wildflowers and a few Southwestern perennials. A former weed den (Mustard, Filaree, Clover, etc.), this patch of dirt has now morphed into a veritable hummingbird magnet.

Growing in harmony in this loamy pile are:

'Mission Bells' California Poppies (Eschscholzia californica)
Whitney's Clarkia (Clarkia amoena whitneyi)
'Aurora' Farewell to Spring (Clarkia amoena 'Aurora')
'Shamini' Clarkia (Clarkia rubicunda)
Western Buttercup (Ranunculus occidentalis)
'Cape Sebastian' Seaside Daisy (Erigeron glaucus)
Purple Needlegrass (Nasella pulchra)
Southern Monardella (Monardella australis)
Mountain Pennyroyal (Monardella odoratissima)
'King Range' Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla)
Blue Thimble Flower (Gilia capitata)

Agastache 'Desert Sunrise'
Agastache 'Orange Flare'
Agastache 'Pink Pop' (Agastache astromontana)
Agastache 'Ava'
Agastache 'Rosita' (Agastache cana)
Agastache 'Acapulcho Rose' (Agastache mexicana)
'Magenta Hope' Autumn Sage (Salvia x jamensis)
'Dancing Dolls' Autumn Sage (Salvia x jamensis)
West Texas Grass Sage (Salvia reptens)
'Hot Lips' Salvia (Salvia microphylla)
'Berzerkeley' Salvia (Salvia microphylla)
'Stampede Lavender' Autumn Sage (Salvia gregii)
'Navajo Bright Red' Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
'Lipstick' Autumn Sage (Salvia greggii)
'Nearly Red' Pineleaf Beardtongue (Penstemon pinifolius)
'Tall Orange Mix' Pineleaf Beardtongue (Penstemon pinifolius)
'Blue Lips' Penstemon
'Jacob Kline' Hardy Bee Balm (Monarda didyma)

And here are a few more natives blooming in the garden:

3/27/10 Western Redbud (Cercis occidentalis).

3/20/10 Pink-Flowered Currant (Ribes sanguineum glutinosum).

3/26/10 'Anacapa Pink' Island Morning Glory (Calystegia macrostegia).

3/27/10 Bird's Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor).

3/27/10 Frying Pans (Eschscholzia lobbii).

3/27/10 Bush Monkeyflower (Diplacus aurantiacus).

3/27/10 Globe Gilia (Gilia capitata).

3/27/10 Southern Suncups (Camissonia bistorta).

3/26/10 'Sunset Strain' Lewisia (Lewisia cotyledon).

3/27/10 Ceanothus 'Dark Star'.

3/27/10 'Alexandra' Monkeyflower (Mimulus cultivar).


  1. ah so now I know where you got the name for your blog from - those suncups are little beauties. So many of these plants I have never seen before. The lewisa's last maybe 1 winter if its not too wet but we have to grow them on their sides so the water runs off their leaves and not into their rosettes. My ceanothus died this winter (10 ft high) still have to get it out of the garden. I did'nt realise that mimulus would cope with your hot temperatures.

  2. Your garden is so beautiful. I recognize some favorites (Salvia greggii) and many that I do not. I do love visits to your garden as we have similar dry climates, although we get much hotter :-)

  3. Yes! I've always loved any member of the genus camissonia, as they are always sunny and indescribably cheery by disposition. As for Lewisias, I've killed a few by way of overwatering, so I've found a happy medium by planting them in clay pots in really well-draining soil. You're absolutely right - water in the rosettes does not bode well for the Lewisias.

  4. Thanks, Noelle! I must say that I've been really inspired by your own beautiful gardenscapes and words of wisdom. Btw, I've already sowed the globemallow seeds you sent me and I will be chronicling their progress (cross my fingers that they will actually germinate) in my blog.

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