Saturday, February 19, 2005

California Buckeye Leafing Out

California Buckeye. Aesculus californica
HIPPOCASTANACEAE. Buckeye or Horse Chestnut Family.

California Buckeye trees are leafing out. At lower elevations on the San Francisco Peninsula it started about a week ago and most are already almost fully leafed out. They're the first native deciduous trees to leaf out, always a pleasing sight for me. One of my favorite colors is the shade of green of the freshest young buckeye leaves. I suppose some would call it chartreuse -- "a strong to brilliant greenish yellow to moderate or strong yellow green" says my dictionary. Whatever you want to call it, I really like it and look for it every year.

A photograph of later-in-the-season California buckeye foliage from Mission Creek Web site:



I've come to appreciate California buckeye more and more over the years. I remember hearing it spoken of disparagingly decades ago because its nectar and pollen are toxic to honeybees. Many gardeners don't care for the fact that it is the first deciduous tree to drop its leaves, before the summer is over. Labadie says the foliage is: "Good for about two months." Many of the leaves turn yellow and brown, at times as early as June, and the casual observer might conclude it's dying!

"Nothing is ever perfect" says the Little Prince. I've come to appreciate the many virtues of the California Buckeye. I love its muscular structure and the single heavy fruits that develop at the branch tips in the fall. I've found it grows quickly and easily from seed planted en situ -- where the tree is to stand. Its huge glossy brown seeds, when fresh and handsome, never fail to sprout for me. It quickly develops a stout tap-root which coils in containers -- the trauma of such cruel confinement only sets them back. Better to let it root straight downward from the beginning, where the tree is to stand!

I fondly recall watching a beautiful Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus) eating buckeye flower buds at San Antonio County Park in Los Altos.

In May the California buckeye tree becomes a spectacular candelabra of flowers fragrant and white that draw many butterflies. Delightful clouds of Spring Azure butterflies (Celastrina ladon echo, aka Echo Blue) attended a specimen on a San Francisco street -- buckeye flower buds and flowers are its caterpillar cuisine! It's the best butterfly nectar plant, being so large and flowering in a season of butterfly abundance -- I've seen up to seven species simultaneously nectaring on one tree! Hummingbirds also visit buckeye flowers.

Examine native plants to find interesting insects! I've seen only one Timema -- an atypical walking stick with a stout body and short legs -- it was on California buckeye foliage. Late spring is a good time to look for insects on buckeye foliage and flowers.

A bird foraging study confirms that birds find the California buckeye a happy hunting ground. In late spring in an oak woodland on the Tejon Ranch in Kern County Black-headed Grosbeak used "California buckeye ... more frequently than any other foraging substrate" -- for 31% of observed foraging time. Others spending a significant amount of time seeking insects in California buckeye include Northern Oriole (11.4%), Plain Titmouse (7.3%), Nuttall's Woodpecker (5.3%) and Acorn Woodpecker (4.5%).

Though toxic when green, as California buckeye leaves turn yellow and fall they become high protein forage for deer. I once saw a yellow banana slug feeding on an old rotting seed in the leaf litter.

Print Resources:

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
The Jepson Manual, Higher Plants of California
Native Plants for Use in the California Landscape
, Emile L. Labadie
California Butterflies, John S. Garth and J.W. Tilden
California Insects, Jerry A. Powell and Charles L. Hogue
Proceedings of the Symposium on Multiple Use Management of California's Hardwood Resources, November 12-14, 1986, San Luis Obispo, California, Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, General Technical Report PSW-100, pages 169-170.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Helping the Monarch Butterfly

"Monarch butterflies' numbers drop sharply" was an article in the newspaper today.

This winter there's about a 75% fewer monarchs observed on their Mexican overwintering grounds. Tree poaching in their mountain fir forest overwintering preserves may be partly responsible for the reduction. Adverse factors in their summering ground in North America -- genetically modified crops and a much cooler than usual spring and summer last year -- also have hurt them. [The reported population fluctuation may not affect us here in the San Francisco Bay area so much, since many of our monarchs over-winter here in California, as in Pacific Grove.]

Monarchs are less evident where I live than decades ago, and loss of milkweed patches is a major cause. Monarch caterpillars eat milkweed -- true milkweed, Asclepias -- and little else. The largest patch I knew of in Cupertino is now an upscale housing development without milkweed. The local native host is narrowleaf milkweed, Asclepias fascicularis.



A few times I've heard of people planting a narrowleaf milkweed and the caterpillars eating the poor little plant to the ground! However, the plant usually survives and comes back the next year and continues to slowly spread underground into a little colony over the years.

Though not exactly a California native plant, the Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifolia, is a great favorite among late summer nectar plants for the adult butterflies.

One of the best native plants for butterflies of all kinds is the Calfornia Buckeye tree, Aesculus californica. I've seen up to seven species of butterflies simultaneously nectaring on one tree! It typically blooms in mid to late May.

Narrowleaf milkweed image is from from the Web site of Edgehill Mountain Park, San Francisco.

Bird Feeder Alert from Fish and Game!

This news release says much about why I, as much as I love gardens teeming with life, am reluctant to encourage the use of "bird feeders". I maintain this reluctance despite the fact it would probably be more advantageous for me, business-wise, to promote birdfeeders. I advocate feeding birds by creating a garden that "grows" plenty of food for them to find. If you do use feeders, please do so responsibly as suggested in the DFG press release.

Immediately following is the current link to the news release, the text of which is fully reproduced just below its link, since it is a "news release"!

News: California Department of Fish and Game Asks Northern Californians to Remove Bird Feeders to Slow the Spread of Avian Disease

News Release: For Immediate Release
Feb. 10, 2005
DFG Asks Northern Californians to Remove Bird Feeders to Slow the
Spread of Avian Disease
Contacts:
Patrick Foy, DFG Office of Communications (916) 651-9130
Pam Swift, Wildlife Veterinarian, (916) 358-1462

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) is encouraging northern California residents to remove bird feeders for at least one month to help slow an outbreak of salmonellosis, a disease affecting small brown birds known as pine siskins that live primarily in wooded areas.
------------

Photograph of pine siskins at a bird feeder by Lisa Barker of Project FeederWatch at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Used by permission.
-----------
Human exposure to and contraction of the disease from wild birds is rare and unlikely, especially if basic precautions are taken. However, pets can contract the disease, especially if they are exposed to fecal matter below the feeders.

Pine siskins are brown, streaked birds with yellow patches on the wings and tail. Their diet consists primarily of seeds, making bird feeders particularly attractive. Birds contract the disease from one another, most often by eating fecal-contaminated food - but also by sticking their heads inside tube feeders where their eyes come in contact with the feeder itself.

California’s West Nile virus hotline has received many tips from concerned citizens reporting dead pine siskins throughout the forested areas of northern California, from Grass Valley to Eureka. Salmonellosis is a bacterial disease and is not related to the West Nile virus.

To help control the disease, DFG biologists are urging residents to discontinue feeding birds for at least 30 days, and when feeding is resumed, to:

• Replace all food in birdfeeders and water in birdbaths daily. Clean up old food around feeders
daily, and only use small amounts of food.
• Decontaminate feeders by using a 10 percent solution of household bleach in water, preferably
cleaned just prior to adding new food.
• Spread small amounts of seed over a large area in the sun, instead of using bird boxes or feeders.
Also, vary the location of seeds to avoid encouraging a concentration of birds at one site.
• Replace wooden bird feeders with plastic or metal. Wood harbors salmonella bacteria and cannot
be sanitized as effectively.
• Use gloves when handling dead birds and bird feeders and wash hands with anti-bacterial soap
when finished.

This is the second time in less than a year that DFG has asked that birdfeeders be removed to slow the spread of a disease affecting birds. In July 2004, DFG asked that all bird feeders be removed for the purpose of slowing an outbreak of trichomoniasis in California’s mourning dove and band-tailed pigeon populations. More detailed information about that disease and tips on controlling it and other avian diseases can be found at
Deadly Bird Disease Can Spread By Birdfeeders

Diseased Birds at Your Feeder -- excellent advice and information from Project FeederWatch of the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
********************

Note: I personally question the recommendation to abandon wooden birdfeeders. I would let them dry for a few hours or overnight after you thoroughly clean and santize them and before returning them to use.

A few years ago we were urged to get rid of our wooden cutting boards on the same basis. But wood actually has inherent anti-bacterial properties, whereas plastic or metal doesn't. While in normal use wood may not be as easy to "sanitize" -- instantly -- it is likely to be equally or more sanitary, especially if there is any lack of diligence in cleaning. There is nothing inherently anti-bacterial about plastic, so any bacteria left on it will persist indefinitely, whereas wood's inherent anti-bacterial action doesn't allow bacteria to persist on it for more than a few hours. Personally, I honestly feel safer with a wooden cutting board in normal use. I don't believe we really need plastic to "live the good life"!

I have calls in to the DFG to clarify the source of research behind their recommendation. I'll be very surprised if the protocol was other than to test for the bacteria shortly after cleaning.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Landscape Design Pet Peeves

When you're having a "professional" take care of something for you, don't check your brains at the door. Mistakes are made -- routinely! Ask questions!

Near the top of the list of typical designer foibles that annoy me is the specification of a vine without provision of means of support. Vines climb, but not anywhere, any how. Different sorts of vines have different means of climbing. A landscape or garden design that includes vines without trellises or some other -- appropriate to the species -- sort of support, is not, in my opinion, a rational or praiseworthy design.

Designers commonly envision the beauty of vines without giving much thought to the means required for vines to express that beauty. At an upscale shopping center I saw vines planted between closely spaced massive pillars -- I suppose the designer imagined them ascending by twining around them -- but the pillars were smooth conrete, with nothing for the vines to get a purchase on, so they remained small and ineffective for years. With a trellis between the pillars -- and the right maintenance specifications -- the effect that I suppose the designer imagined might've been achieved.

Even something so simple as glue-on vine supports might've helped -- but such details are commonly overlooked in typical "low budget", little-or-no-oversight maintenance contracts. There is often a disconnect between the designer's vision and the people required to carry it out -- the gardeners defeat the landscape designer's purposes.

Another failing of this puny vine design was the postage stamp sized soil beds given to the vines, surrounded by paving -- an unrealistically small soil area to provide roots for substantial vines. There probably wasn't provision for adequate air and water under the paving for reasonable root growth. If you want it to grow big above ground, there must be room for roots underground. Some naively assume roots can expand downward. Not necessarily so -- not unless provision has been made for exceptional aeration downward, because roots need air about as much as they need water.

Today I saw heavy Clematis armandi, an evergreen clematis, planted at the base of bare walls without support. They were truly struggling to express themselves. Someone had crudely tied them up with a rope. They were like piles. They should've, in my opinion, gone in only with appropriately designed trellises.

Planting beds in cave-like tunnels are another typical foible. Plants and buildings, each needs their space. No green plants grow in caves -- light fuels their life. Some cave-like recesses which building architects naively seem to think should be planted are simply too dark. They're good places only for rock arrangements, or some other option that doesn't include living plants.

Places under eaves or in cave-like recesses often are simply too dark to grow plants. Most of us don't realize how effectively our eyes compensate for varying light intensities. Light we can see by isn't necessarily enough to support growth. Full sunlight boasts an intensity of about 7,000 foot-candles; many "interior" spaces are only a few hundred or even 50 or less foot-candles -- not enough to support the growth of landscape plants. Skylights provide far greater light intensity than artificial illumination, as a rule.

Plantings deep under eaves receive no rain water, unless it is directed to them from downspouts -- a good idea, because irrigation water includes salts that build up detrimentally in the soil, while rain water is free of salts and leaches them out. Plants deep under eaves [like the view I get from my dentist's chair] or "inside" structures often get very dusty. Such dust cannot be simply washed off, at least not if it has been allowed to gather for months and years.

The best remedy for such dustiness is to wipe each leaf with a soft cloth, slightly moistened with deionized or distilled water. It's tedious job and rarely done, so extremely dusty plants are common in malls and other settings where plants are grown out of the rain.

I'm struck by the crudity of gleaming public places adorned with desperately dusty plants. We moderns are so used to ugliness. In most such places the plants already suffer from lack of enough light, and the dust makes it worse -- even less light reaches the food-manufacturing chloroplasts inside the leaves.

Because plants under eaves get little or no rainwater, they sometimes get desperately dry during the rainy season, when the irrigation system is turned off, or people simply forget to water them, assuming that somehow the rain is watering them. Often some rain will blow in, especially under eaves, but the plants there aren't getting nearly as much water as those out in the open -- check and see! In a demonstration home garden at a local arboretum with an automatic irrigation system, the plants under the very broad eaves of the building were dying for lack of water. Plants under eaves or in "tunnels" are on a very different rainwater regime. A rationally designed automatic irrigation system puts plants in the building's "rain shadow" on a separate circuit. If you have an "automatic" irrigation system and don't want to go to that trouble, be sure to remember to hand water them -- let the rain be your reminder!

Salts build up in the soil of plants rooted in the rain shadow of buildings that are irrigated without receiving any rainwater. Irrigation water has substantially more mineral salts than rainwater. As the water evaporates from the soil, more and more salts are left behind. So not only do they need to be watered to make up for the lack of rain, but an occasional extra heavy watering is advisable to leach the accumulating salts from their root zones. Plants under eaves are often puny and show burned leaf edges from a) simply lack of water and b) the heavier concentration of salts built up from irrigation water and never leached out.

There may be a "rain shadow" of sorts near a building, even not under the eaves. Watch out for this effect! Those puny, ineffective vines at the upscale shopping center were also suffering from the building "rain shadow" effect. It was a beautiful idea, but didn't have a chance of succeeding in the real world.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

San Francisco Bay Region Internet Wildlife Gardening Resources

Online articles about wildlife gardening:

from Yerba Buena Nursery in Woodside:

Record of native bees found in the Greater San Francisco Bay Region, with some of their likely plant hosts, compiled by Laura Arneson

Deer-Proofing Your Bay Area Garden by Kathy Crane, owner of the Yerba Buena Nursery

Deer Repellent Spray Recipe from Yerba Buena Nursery

…………………

From
the Yerba Buena Chapter of the California Native Plant Society:

Gardening With Natives for Wildlife by Jeffrey Caldwell

Snakes in the Garden by Jeffrey Caldwell

Wildlife Habitat Piles in the Garden by Mark Heath
Interesting article -- one of the easiest and best possible ways to "make habitat"!

Gardening with California Natives: GARDENING FOR HUMMINGBIRDS by Lori Hubbart
Annotated list of useful plants.

Gardening with Natives: GARDENS AND WILDLIFE by Fred Rinne
A philosophical take.

Gardening With Natives: POLLINATION PARTNERS: THE CHEMICAL ATTRACTION BETWEEN PLANTS AND INSECTS by Leslie Saul-Gershenz
Very informative short article.

INVITE WILDLIFE TO YOUR GARDEN BY PLANTING LOCAL NATIVES by Jake Sigg
Addresses plantings suitable for your soil type.

Gardening for Bees by Randy Zebell
Observations of a perceptive San Francisco native plant gardener -- focus is on native bees.
…………

Birds, Other Wildlife and Native Plants – articles on the Web site of the Santa Clara Valley Chapter, California Native Plant Society; include some by me, updated versions to be also found elsewhere on this blog, and these:

California Native Hummingbird Plants by Ellie Gioumousis

Wild Pigs and Plants by John Rawlings
…………….

Native Plants that Attract Birds – by Doreen Smith
This list gets down to a useful level of detail.

Plants for Bay Area Butterflies by Native Here Nursery, East Bay Chapter, California Native Plant Society

Santa Cruz Mountains Bioregion Electronic Almanac by Fred Mc Pherson
Good annotated bibliographies, among other things.

Natural Resources Conservation District Biology Technical Notes
Many free PDF document downloads available, such a study of “Nesting Structures” (most relate more to the Eastern U.S.)

Creating Butterfly Gardens (503 KB PDF)
For California – a Natural Resources Conservation Service publication, 2 pages.

Backyard Conservation
Help protect the environment in your yard, though ever so small, using methods developed for farms and ranches.

BARN OWL NEST BOX – Plans and Instructions (PDF)
2 pages, this and next two from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

BLUEBIRD HOUSE – Plans and Instructions (PDF)
2 pages, developed in Davis.

KESTREL HOUSE Plans and Instructions (PDF)
2 pages, developed in Davis.

Santa Cruz County Resource Conservation District
Order free publications such as “Barn Owls for Rodent Control”, “Build a Home for Bug-eating Bats”, “Creating Butterfly Gardens”, “Plant Natives for Birds”, et cetera.

San Mateo County Resource Conservation District
Documents available include “Improving Songbird Habitat”; many oriented to those with country property.

Nestbox Articles – from the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society by Leda Beth Gray

Setting the Table for your Winter Birds – from the Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society by Garth Harwood

Wildlife and Inspiration – 40 page PDF download offer for fee from the Growing Native Web site; perspectives from many interviews with native plant gardeners.

Keeping Your Cats Indoors by Leda Beth Gray

Bette Wentzel Butterfly & Hummingbird Garden, Shinn Historic Park and Arboretum, Fremont City Park -- a project of the Ohlone Audubon Society.

Attraction Factors for Hummingbirds, Butterflies and Moths by Phil Gordon, Ohlone Audubon Society

Butterfly Gardening in the Bay Area (PDF) by Barbara Deutsch and Sally Levinson
Very helpful article by the North American Butterfly Association, 6 pages.

Butterfly Gardens and Habitats by North American Butterfly Association
Several excellent publications available here as PDF documents, highly recommended for serious butterfly gardeners. Reports on butterfly gardening from other areas of California may be helpful, too.

PRBO Conservation Science
Excellent articles, concise and authoritative by the Point Reyes Bird Observatory. Under Publications, click on Conservation Education, then Bird and Wildlife Information for these must-read articles: “Landscaping for Birds”, “Helping Birds at your Bird Feeder”, “Helping Birds in Next Boxes”, “Helping Birds at Horse Ranches”, and “Helping Birds in Orchards”.

Why are Bat Houses Important? – Organization for Bat Conservation

Gardening for Pollinator Insects by Xerces Society, Portland, Oregon
Good for information on making nests for native bees and meeting all the needs of butterflies – concise and authoritative.

LICHENS AND WILDLIFE

NATIVE USES OF NATIVE PLANTS in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and Foothills of California and Nevada (4.23 MB PDF)
Natural Resources Conservation Service, 19 pages. Lavishly illustrated with color photographs. Aboriginal uses helped shape the “natural habitat” found by the first European explorers and settlers.

Bay Nature
Local natural history magazine Web site; has had excellent articles on wildlife gardening or of interest to wildlife gardeners.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Garden Habitat Makes a Difference

I just ran across some news stories that confirm what a difference it makes when gardeners are friendly to wildlife. Wildlife gardening is popular in the United Kingdom, bolstering the numbers of some species of birds.

A British Trust for Ornithology study notes that gardens make up more than twice the land area of the country's nature preserves. Their report says "wildlife friendly gardening is important for the future of threatened species like the song thrush and spotted flycatchers"!

The article "UK Gardens Protecting More Birds" concludes: "The British household garden is playing a much bigger role in the conservation of wild bird species than was thought" and "gardeners can make a difference"!

I've always believed this and seen it confirmed many times. The fact is, many "preserves" are heavily used by people, most are on marginal, unproductive land and often are significantly overrun with invasive exotic weeds. Even small patches of man-made garden habitat, contrived to be packed with life-support value, are extremely supportive of wildlife, especially the smaller species -- and most of life's diversity consists of smaller species.

Some species declining in the "wild" are doing better in gardens. "Hands on" management of an area to benefit particular species can really benefit them.

UK gardens protecting more birds

The Blue tit is a very popular garden bird in Britain and has been reproducing very successfully thanks largely to wildlife friendly gardeners:

Blue tit boom 'may cause crisis'



The bird is reproducing so well the British Trust for Ornithology is encouraging people to put up nesting boxes, because natural nesting cavities are in short supply!
The lack of nesting sites is the key population limiting factor for many species, one that a sympathetic gardener can remedy. If you are thinking about putting up nesting boxes for this year, delay no longer. The earlier they're in place, the better.

Nesting boxes are among the products carried by Wild Birds Unlimited stores, a good place to shop.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

California Native Plant Resources for Central Valley Gardeners

When reading lists or whatever, for photographs of a species, enter its botanical name in “Images” search field at: Google



Growing Native: topical articles chronicling interviews with California native plant gardeners: basics of growing native plants, grasses, medicinal plants, oaks, clay soil, small spaces, birds and butterflies, etc. Growing Native, P.O. Box 489, Berkeley, CA 94701.

“California Plants for Central Valley Dry Gardens” by Warren G. Roberts. Pacific Horticulture, Volume 40, No. 2, Summer 1979, pp. 27-36. Reprinted in The Pacific Horticulture Book of Western Gardening, edited by George Waters and Nora Harlow, 1990, pp. 240–251. Natives for water conserving landscapes.

Demonstration Garden Project, California Native Plant Society, Sacramento Valley Chapter, Sacramento Old City Cemetery at 1000 Broadway in Sacramento. Native Plants Suitable for Sacramento Area, including Sources and Nurseries (20k PDF) is one of the helpful publications on their Website. For others, including a list of hummingbird plants, see their Plant Lists page.

Sacramento Valley Prairie Project, UC Davis” by C.D. Thomsen, M.I. Wibawa, K.J. Rice and P.E. McGuire, 8 pp. (83 k PDF) on Elvenia J. Slosson Ornamental Horticulture Research Endowment Web site. It is one of the Research Reports from 1995 – 1998. Essential source for ecological restoration or gardening with locally native grassland species. Excellent notes on native butterfly larval and nectar plants. Plant lists for the project plots are reproduced at the end of this article.

U.C. Davis Arboretum includes the Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California Native Plants and other collections featuring various native plants.

American River Natural History Association -- check out their publications.

California Native Grasslands Association, P.O. Box 72405, Davis, CA 95617. A rich source of information. Don't neglect their Historical Archive. They have produced "Hidden Treasure: California Native Grass" a video/DVD production you may be able to find at your local public library.

California Oak Foundation, 1212 Broadway, Suite 810, Oakland, CA 94612. Go to the homepage of their Web site to subscribe to a free electronic monthly California Oak Report.

The California Native Plant Society Web site has a bookstore, photo galleries, links to local chapters and many other Web sites. Bookstore offers: Wildflowers of the Sierra Nevada and the Central Valley by Laird R. Blackwell, Common Riparian Plants of California by Phyllis M. Faber and Robert Holland; Oaks of California by Bruce Pavlik, et.al.; Golden Poppies of California by Gordon Lepp; Wild Lilies, Iris and Grasses: Gardening with California Monocots by Nora Harlow and Kristin Jacob; a 30-minute educational video: “California’s Gold: Vernal Pools” by Huell Howser; et cetera.

California Native Plant Society, 1722 J Street, Suite 17, Sacramento, CA 95814.

Fremontia, a journal of the California Native Plant Society, Vol. 29, No. 1, January 2001 (1.4 MB PDF) is about native plant gardening: lists of resources, index to Fremontia gardening articles from April 1973-January 2000, school gardens, conservation-related concerns about growing native plants. Other issues of possible interest are available on their Publication Program page.

California Native Plants Discussion Group

Farming for Wildlife: Voluntary Practices for Attracting Wildlife to Your Farm published by the California Department of Fish and Game, 2nd printing April 1997. 41pp. Includes planting native vegetation in non-cropped areas.

“Riparian Enhancement on Sloughs” by the Yolo County Resource Conservation District. This and many other articles of interest to wildlife gardeners are included in "Bring Farm Edges Back to Life!" (243 KB PDF) from their Library.

Freshwater Farms, Inc.: wetland plantings -- expertise and plants.

Look for native plants and their nursery sources online at California Native Plant LINK EXCHANGE -- find sources for a particular species or for native plant suppliers by county.

Sacramento Valley Prairie Project, U.C Davis

These are the species planted in the original research plots:

Bunchgrass—Perennial Forb Association
Achillea millefolium, white yarrow
Agoseris grandiflora, California dandelion
Asclepias fascicularis, narrowleaf milkweed
Chlorogalum pomeridianum, soap lily
Clarkia purpurea ssp. quadrivulnera, four-spot
Elymus multisetus, big squirreltail
Eschscholzia californica, California poppy
Grindelia camporum, valley gum plant
Lomatium utriculatum, bladder parsnip
Koeleria macrantha, junegrass
Melica torreyana, Torrey’s melic grass
Nassella pulchra, purple needlegrass
Perideridia sp., yampah
Poa secunda ssp. secunda, Malpais bluegrass
Sanicula sp., sanicle
Solidago californica, California goldenrod
Wyethia angustifolia, narrowleaf mule’s ears
Wyethia helenioides, mule’s ears

Native Bulb Section
Brodiaea elegans, harvest brodiaea
Calochortus luteus, yellow mariposa lily
Chlorogalum pomeridianum, soap lily
Dichelostemma capitatum, blue dicks
D. congestum, ookow
Koeleria macrantha, junegrass
Melica torreyana, Torrey’s melic grass
Poa secunda ssp. secunda, Malpais bluegrass
Triteleia hyacinthina, white brodiaea
T. laxa, Ithuriel’s spear

Short-Statured Spring Wildflower Field
Calandrinia ciliata, red maids
Castilleja exserta, purple owl’s clover
Claytonia perfoliata, miner’s lettuce
Koeleria macrantha, junegrass
Layia platyglossa, tidy tips
Lupinus bicolor, dove lupine
Lupinus nanus, sky lupine
Melica torreyana, Torrey’s melic grass
Poa secunda ssp. secunda, Malpais bluegrass
Pogogyne zizyphoroides, Sacramento pogogyne
Sidalcea diploscypha, fringed sidalcea
Sisyrinchium bellum, blue-eyed grass
Trifolium fucatum, bull clover
Trifolium wildenovii, tomcat clover
Triphysaria versicolor, smooth orthocarpus
Viola pedunculata, johnny-jump-ups

Tall-Statured Spring Wildflower Field
Achyrachaena mollis, blow wives
Agoseris grandiflora, California dandelion
Clarkia purpurea ssp. quadrivulnera, four-spot
Delphinium hansenii, Hansen’s delphinium
Eschscholzia californica, California poppy
Hordeum brachyantherum, meadow barley
Lupinus microcarpus var. densiflorus, white lupine
Lupinus m. var. microcarpus, chick lupine
Lupinus nanus, sky lupine
Lupinus succulentus, arroyo lupine
Sisyrinchium bellum, blue-eyed grass
Wyethia helenioides, mule’s ears

Summer-Active Forb Field
Asclepias fascicularis, narrowleaf milkweed
Eremocarpus setigerus, turkey mullein
Lotus purshianus, Spanish clover
Hemizonia congesta ssp. luzulifolia, hayfield tarweed
Malvella leprosa, alkali mallow
Trichostemma lanceolatum, vinegar weed

Moist-Prairie Association

Anemopsis californica, yerba mansa
Carex spp., sedges
Euthamia occidentalis, western goldenrod
Glycyrrhiza lepidota, wild licorice
Hordeum brachyantherum, meadow barley
Juncus spp., rushes
Leymus triticoides, creeping wild rye
Sisyrinchium bellum, blue-eyed grass
Stachys ajugoides. var. a., hedge nettle
Sporobolus airoides, alkali sacaton

Riparian Grassland Understory With Trees, Shrubs, and Vines
Aesculus californica, California buckeye
Sambucus mexicana, blue elderberry
Rosa californica, California wild rose
Aristolochia californica, dutchman’s pipe
Lathyrus jepsonii, Jepson’s pea
Vitis californica, wild grape
Elymus glaucus, blue wild rye
Elymus trachycaulus, slender wheatgrass

Bank Association
Elymus multisetus, big squirreltail
Eriogonom nudum, naked stem buckwheat
Eriophyllum lanatum, woolly sunflower
Koeleria macrantha, junegrass
Lupinus microcarpus var. densiflorus, white lupine
Lupinus succulentus, arroyo lupine
Nassella cernua, nodding needlegrass
Nassella lepida, foothill needlegrass
Nassella pulchra, purple needlegrass
Phacelia imbricata, imbricate phacelia
Solidago californica, California goldenrod
Melica californica, California melic
Wyethia angustifolia, narrowleaf mule’s ears
Wyethia helenioides, mule’s ears

Road Border

Aristida ternipes var. hamulosa, hook three-awn
Castilleja exserta, purple owl’s clover
Eremocarpus setigerus, turkey mullein
Heliotropium curassavicum, salt heliotrope
Lomatium sp., wild parsnip
Nassella cernua, nodding needlegrass

Not used in this planting --which consisted almost entirely of collections made within 12 miles -- but used effectively in Davis landscaping is Muhlenbergia rigens, deer grass or basket grass. Stephen Edwards describes it as “one of the most arresting … of California’s ornamental bunchgrasses …” The leafy portion grows to about four to five feet wide by two to three feet tall with with the flowering stalks rising up to about five feet high. It's becoming a landscaping staple. “It tolerates a diversity of garden conditions, and it can fulfill a wide range of functions – hedge, border, framework, weed suppression, bank stabilization, or just plain 'sit there and be beautiful.' I find myself recommending this species for dry landscape uses more than I do any other plant." (quotation from “A Californian Treasury of Native Perennial Grasses” by Stephen W. Edwards of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden, pp. 129 –138 of “Out of the Wild and Into the Garden, Volume 1 – A Symposium of California’s Horticulturally Significant Plants. April 30—May 2, 1992. Edited by Bart C. O’Brien, Lorrae C. Fuentes, and Lydia F. Newcombe. Special editorial assistance provided by Janet R. Taylor and Matthew H. Bolin. RANCHO SANTA ANA BOTANIC GARDEN OCCASIONAL PUBLICATIONS, Number 1. Viii, 212 pages. 1997. Published by Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont, CA.