Advertising California Native Plant Week

My garden has been celebrating California Native Plant Week by not just blooming profusely,  but  by producing blooms on plants that I have on several occasions given up on.

This was labels as a Western Columbine when I bought it at a native plant nursery. It was hard to spot much of last summer, with just a hint of life in its slowly growing leaves. When it blossomed I was surprised that it was all white. I’m hoping it . This year it is definitely at the top of my favorite blossoms list, with its deep nectar reservoirs for feeding hummingbirds protruding out behind the flower, adding to its intricate and complex shape. It may not be the native plant I was hoping for but it looks too pretty to remove. Any thoughts?

This is a shot of the entire plant. Its foliage is quite nondescript and this one is about 12 inches high.

The bush monkey flower, Mimulus aurantiacus, has begun to blossom. Last year this kept flowering almost until the end of August. This enhance any garden all summer long.

The blue-eyed grass, Sisyrinchium bellum, grows in a swath around the little brick wall that retains the slope of the garden. These cheerful blooms are great for borders.

In one line of sight you can see 5 different colors of blossoms, from the blur of blue eyed grass in the foreground, past the creamy yellow of the bush monkey flower and the pink checker bloom. Of course the poppy’s vibrant orange steals the show, but just behind it is the demure white of the Western(?) Columbine.

Here’s a closer look at the checker bloom, Sidalcea malvaeflora.

Tucked in against the wall of railway sidings the blue flax, Linum lewisii, has blossomed for the first time ever too. I started these from seed and am so pleased to see them blossoming in a “proud parent” kind of way!

The bush anemone, Carpenteria californica, was once described some where as a plant to “brighten up a dark corner” and it certainly lived up to that reputation.


I wanted my native garden to showcase native plants that could produce as pretty a garden as non-native blooms are know for. I think that as these plats have certainly accomplished this. I hope that folks who are nervous about moving away from “conventional” plants in their yards will see that native gardens don’t have to be about wild-looking, meadow-like landscapes.

Every native garden is an advertisement for planting with natives, and with that in mind, think about keeping your native garden so that your neighbors and all who pass by it will admire it and be inspired to venture into the realm of going native.

To view other native gardens you can go on the Going Native Garden Tour this weekend. You need to register first but it’s simple and free. Just go to their web page.

There is a CNPS Native Plant Sale at Hidden Villa today too.

Byddi Lee

2 replies to Advertising California Native Plant Week

  1. I admit to being one of those people that used to think native gardens were sparse, Xeric-looking, and devoid of color. I was SO wrong. I think the problem was I used to see overly contrived native gardens awash in gravel, and lacking diversity, or creativity. The GNGT is a great thing to do for those thinking of using natives in the garden. Some of the gardens last year were gorgeous. Despite my previous judgments about native gardens, now I seem to be a bit of a native plant nut, and can't plant enough! I really like the Carpenteria, and would love to try one here. Do you water your Monkeyflower at all? The ones that grow wild here I think conk out around late June, early July, but I don't water them. I'm tempted to irrigate one to see if it extends the bloom period, like it does with the California poppies.

  2. I did water my Monkeyflower last year because it was its first year in the ground. I might water once or twice a month this year. It doesn't take much to throw a gallon of water near its roots for a reward of constant blossom!

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