Posts from the ‘California Native Plants’ Category

California Native Foods Lunch Event (December 8th at CNGF) @CalNativeGarden

Eating California

Lewisia – my current favorite CA Native plant

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Mystery Dudleya

So I purchased this Dudleya from a local San Jose nursery.  The customer service rep told me that it was the Dudleya Britonii after looking the plant up in their purchase records.  I chuckled because it looks nothing like that!  In the last picture below, you can see my mystery plant photographed with a Dudleya Pulverulenta which is commonly confused with the Dudleya Britonnii, so you can tell how vastly different the plants are.

Update: After doing research online, I think this plant looks very similar to Dudleya Ingens.  I’m still going to continue to research to make sure though! 🙂

Mystery Dudleya width of over 30 cm /12 in

Impressive Long Cauex of about 18.5 cm /5 in

Mystery Dudleya Profile

Dudleya Pulverulenta and Dudleya Ingens

 

Dudleya Brittonii and Dudleya Ingens

 

The Hover Fly

Hoverfly 2

Hoverfly 1

Hoverfly 3

Hoverfly 4

Yarrow flowers attract itty bitty Carpet Beetles!

Carpet Beetles

Carpet Beetles on Yarrow Flower

Making love for 2…making love for 2 minutes! Soldier Beetles mating caught on camera!

Two Soldier Beetles mating

Soldier Beetles mating

My current California Native Plant collection

It’s a work in progress!  I love adding to my California Native plant selection.  If you love California, you must start your own native plant collection too!

Here are reasons why to go native (courtesy of California Native Plant Society)

Native vegetation evolved to live with the local climate, soil types, and animals. This long process brings us several gardening advantages.

  • Save Water:
    Once established, many native plants need minimal irrigation beyond normal rainfall.
  • Low Maintenance:
    Low maintenance landscaping methods are a natural fit with native plants that are already adapted to the local environment. Look forward to using less water, little to no fertilizer, little to no pesticides, less pruning, and less of your time.
  • Pesticide Freedom:
    Native plants have developed their own defenses against many pests and diseases. Since most pesticides kill indiscriminately, beneficial insects become secondary targets in the fight against pests. Reducing or eliminating pesticide use lets natural pest control take over and keeps garden toxins out of our creeks and watersheds.
  • Wildlife Viewing:
    Native plants, birds, butterflies, beneficial insects, and interesting critters are “made for each other.” Research shows that native wildlife prefers native plants.
  • Support Local Ecology:
    As development replaces natural habitats, planting gardens, parks, and roadsides with California natives can provide a “bridge” to nearby remaining wildlands.

Where can you buy natives?  I’ll tell you, I haven’t been lucky at Home Depot, OSH, or Lowe’s yet (although they have great plants for other purposes too).

Here are favorite two local nurseries for natives that I like to shop at:

Middlebrook Gardens

I’m a little biased, because these are the folks who really turned me on to Native California plants!  Alrie Middlebrook and her team are Experts at native plants!  They have been in business for a long time and know their plants!  They are extremely helpful and approachable.  Their nursery provides a great selection that represents several habitats and accompanying plants.  That is helpful when you’re trying to find plants for certain micro climates in your yard/patio.

Check out their website:

http://middlebrook-gardens.com/

Summerwinds Nursery

I love Summerwinds because they have beautiful pottery and a huge selection of plants.  Their selection of natives hasn’t been replenished yet but I can’t wait to see more salvias at the store soon!  Dan, their native plant specialist was very helpful to me yesterday and is going to help me build my Dudleya collection as they become available.  They have shrubs that are native also, but as a container gardener, I don’t find shrubs to be practical or very attractive.

Check out their website:

http://www.summerwindsca.com/

Enjoy your natives and party on!


Hiking and Identifying Native Plants in Point Lobos

I planned this wonderful trip with Henrik down in Monterey.  And my was it a fun filled activity packed weekend!  We  first met up with my friends Raul and Kelly on Friday night to have dinner at Passionfish which is a famous local seafood restaurant.  We had a fantastic time as I always do with Raul and Kelleeeh.  When the four of us get together, we make quite a ruckus where ever we go!  🙂  The next morning Henrik brewed us some fresh coffee and off we went, sans breakfast, down 1 South.  I was surprised how close our destination was to the Carmel Barnyard/Crossroads off 1.  Even though I have lived in Monterey during my high school years, I had never been to Point Lobos!  So we got in with no issue and were notified that our $9 admission would also get us in free to any of the other parks close by.  It was heavenly!  Point Lobos is sooo beautiful!  I took lots of photos as you can see!

I’m still learning about my native California plants.  I have signed up with http://www.CalFlora.org which has helped immensely in identifying plants.  Trouble is, being so inexperienced at this, and with the plants not all having bloomed, the pictures are a little more difficult to identify.  So any help would be extremely appreciated!

I’ll tell you though, I’m hooked on Dudleyas!  I found that patch of beach plants at the Del Monte Blvd Exit in Seaside was a really interesting community of Sea Thrifts (Armeria Maritima) and lots of Dudleya Cymosas.  I later figured out that I had also seen Dudleya Edulis, which I mistook for being related to the ice plants that have taken over as a non native.  I have also been able to identify Dudleya Farinosa that I found in Point Lobos.

I also enjoy Salvias.  There is a large variety of native salvias and I only own one.  Again, I found large bushes of salvias in Point Lobos, but because they haven’t bloomed yet, it was impossible for me to identify them.

Every Rose has it’s thorns and is super high maintenance!

Weird pattern generated from Black Spot fungus?

I had given up on roses since my failure to keep a rose alive and disease free about a year ago.  What I later decided was that the garden centers in San Jose sell roses that are inappropriate for San Jose’s weather conditions.  My conclusion stemmed from the fact that at the end of the gardening season (late fall) the roses that remained in the stores had all this powdery mildew and brown leaves.  So this observation led me to decide, never again would I purchase a rose!

In December of 2011, I discovered Rosa Californica, the California Rose.  I had to add this rose to my native California plant collection and give roses another go.  I made sure to place it in the sunniest spot in my patio so as to create the best conditions for it to thrive in.  I have carefully built my garden specifically to attract beneficial insects to dine on the aphids would surface.  Sadly today I found many aphids (green, black, and purple) on my rose.  I also found that my plant has the Black Spot fungus.  This is a symptom of the plant being in humid/wet weather for too long.  Well it has been rainy and very humid.  But as a native plant, this rose has really disappointed me so far.  I mean, there’s no one spraying fungicides on California roses out in the wild!  What the heck!

Rose leaves with Black Spot fungus

Browning leaves caused by Black Spot fungus

According to http://www.RoseMagazine.com, “the fungus becomes active in a wet environment with a temperature of about 24 degrees Celsius (approximately 75 degrees Fahrenheit). It needs about 7 hours of these conditions to germinate and then symptoms will begin to appear on rose foliage within three to ten days. From then on spores are produced every three weeks. If unchecked, black spot can affect the entire rose garden leaving an unattractive appearance of many ‘bare-naked’ plants. Spores can over winter in the garden so autumn cleanup is crucial otherwise the entire cycle can repeat itself the following spring and summer.”

Black Spot fungus...a quite representative image

For the treatment Rose Magazine offers a solution:

” The worst case scenario can be avoided with some preventative measures, a keen eye and diligence. While plants are dormant in spring, spray thoroughly with fungicidal soap and wettable sulphur (both readily available at the local plant nursery). Sulphur is actually a historical remedy used for hundreds of years by farmers for their crops. It definitely has a place in the chemical-free garden. Fungal spores cannot germinate in the sulphur film and thus cannot get a chance to attack the plant. To be effective the sulphur must be on the plant and leaves before the spores land on them. Sulphur washes off in rain and so must be reapplied repeatedly. The product is sold in powder or liquid form and also works well against mildew and rust. Other preventative measures include keeping the leaves dry when watering (try soaker hoses or drip irrigation methods), water in the morning so that foliage has a chance to dry off throughout the day and pruning plants to improve air circulation.”

Greaaaat!  Where am I going to find Sulphur?!  I think for now, I’m just going to relocate the rose to the middle of the garden, and clip off the diseased leaves.  Then I’m going to have to coyly ask Henrik for my Fungicide back and I’m sure he’ll make fun of me since I sort of bashed his dudleya kind of recently…

Kick off the new gardening season with the Master Gardeners’ Spring Garden Market!

If you are in the San Jose area and want to explore an amazing collection of heirlooms…mark your calendars!  The MG’s are knowledgeable and are very helpful with questions about plants, soil quality, watering specs, and light needs.  I personally want to add some Salvias to my collection.  I so far only have the Black and Blue Salvia.  So I’m still on the look out for natives to attract beneficials.  I also want to grow food on the patio this season.  With so many heirloom varieties, I will surely find some mouth watering specimens!

Here is the official event description:

The 18th Annual Spring Garden Market 

See you at the Spring Garden Market!

Saturday, March 31, 2012     9 a.m. – 2 p.m. 

Join us at beautiful History San Jose for our premier plant sale, sustainable gardening showcase and fair (Directions | Parking Map)

Our plant sale features unique heirloom varieties you won’t find elsewhere

Loyal fans have been coming for years for the 75+ varieties of  tomatoes and 100+ varieties of peppers, and now you can pick up beans, eggplant, collards, lettuce and other greens, Chinese broccoli, amaranthus and kohlrabi – and strawberries.

But wait there’s more! We’ve also expanded our offerings to include herbs and flowers.

Itching to start planning the garden?  The descriptions of plants we sold in 2011 are tantalizing! The selections this year are mostly the same but we’ll post soon the updated lists. One special new tomato: the hybrid purple tomato, Indigo Rose, bred for even higher levels of antioxidants.

Master Gardener Sustainable Gardening Showcase

Man with dog at the marketThe Spring Garden Market is a day when you can learn about sustainable vegetable gardening. Master Gardeners abound and are easy to spot in their blue aprons, so bring your questions.

Join us for short and long talks on a wide variety of gardening topics. Chairs are set up and you can pick up snacks or lunch and relax in the shade. Browse the calendar of talks we gave in 2011 for an idea of topics.

  • 40-Minute Talks in the Educational Circle (40 minutes) These in-depth talks include Growing Great Tomatoes and How to Build a Raised Bed.
  • Short Talks all around the Market (10 minutes) Taking care of your new plants. Feeding the soil, composting and mulching. Waterwise gardening with native and Mediterranean-climate plants. How to attract butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and other beneficials to your garden. And more!

Stroll along Master Gardener Lane lined with tables with information and hands-on displays about organic, earth-friendly gardening.

  • Favorite Plants Waterwise and native plants. UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars. Succulents. Cut flowers.
  • Hotline LIVE! and Plant Clinic Drop by with all your gardening questions.
  • Animal Pest Control Got gophers, moles, voles or other critters? Drop by for advice.
  • Tool Care It’s easier than you think to keep your tools sharp and in tip-top condition.
  • And much more … Composting, worm bins,  fertilizing, DIY drip irrigation and everything in between.

We’re asked so often about our favorite tools that we’re bringing our Top Ten Favorites to market. High on the list are the great publications from the University of California.

  • Our Favorite Tools Sale We compiled over 25 years of experience from 330+ Master Gardeners to come up with our top choices of books, tools, gloves and gardening items.
  • UC Gardening Publications Display Oodles of free pamphlets as well as excellent reference books for you to browse. Not on sale at the market: browse the catalog and purchase online from UC with a 10% discount when you use our promotion code PRCLA43.

Green Elephant Sale In a category of its own, our Green Elephant Sale features treasures from our garden sheds and garages to yours – tools, pots, apparel, books, trellises as well as unusual items you can repurpose to use in your garden. Everything but the kitchen sink … although one year we did have a kitchen sink for someone to plant in! The prices can’t be beat and we only put out items in good condition.

Vendor Fair

Booths line both sides of the Main Street in History San Jose. Plant nurseries, gardening societies, urban farmers, beekeepers and conservation groups are found alongside vendors of containers and raised beds, apparel, mosaics and even chicken coops. See the list of vendors for an idea of our colorful “Main Street.”

Amenities

A Plant Daycare can be found right next to the plant sale, where you can leave your purchases securely. There is no charge.

This year six gourmet food trucks will provide coffee, lunch, drinks and snacks.

But perhaps the best amenity is History San Jose itself. Wander the beautiful park and see the historical buildings, beautifully restored, along with their gardens.  In 2011 we created a demonstration garden at the Umbarger House where we’ll be holding some of the gardening talks and giving tours of the new garden. And don’t forget to visit the old-fashioned ice cream shop in the Hotel building!

The Spring Garden Market is sponsored by the Friends of Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County.

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