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Just five more days to register, space is limited and the symposium seating is filling up fast. Please remember that our Santa Clara Valley chapter only holds a symposium every couple of years so don’t miss out. And Sherri Osaka wants to remind us that there will be plants for sale as well!

Are you concerned about our state’s shrinking water supply?  Learn how to conserve irrigation water and create a beautiful landscape at the same time at the Native Horticultural Symposium “Saving Water, Creating Beauty with California Native Plants,” September 20th at Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Rd., Los Altos Hills.  To register and find out more information, visit www.cnps-scv.org, or call (408) 828-6467.

As the continuing drought shrinks our water supply, people are searching for ways to conserve water. Landscaping with California native plants is a proven technique for creating low-water use landscapes and is especially effective when combined with other water-saving methods.  Learn how at the Native Horticultural Symposium “Saving Water, Creating Beauty with California Native Plants,” September 20th at Foothill College, 12345 El Monte Rd., Los Altos Hills.  Speakers at this year’s symposium are experts in native plants and water conservation:

  • Barbara Eisenstein, blogger, writer, speaker
  • Robert Kourik, writer, speaker, researcher
  • John Greenlee, grass expert, nurseryman and designer
  • Theresa Lyngso, master gardener and composter
  • John Whittlesey, horticulturalist and author
  • Ken Foster, certified permaculture designer and landscape contractor

The symposium runs from 9 AM – 5 PM, September 20th.  $65 for students, $90 for CNPS members, $100 for the general public. Continental breakfast and lunch are included. To register and find out more information, visit http://www.cnps-scv.org or call (408) 828-6467.

SF Flower and Garden Show

Last spring, a number of our local resources, and some even farther afield, participated in the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show. It was a scramble to get the speakers organized and to get booths and displays set. But it turned out to be a very successful event, according to the feedback I received.

Now the question is: shall we make a coordinated effort again this year – and even improve on our efforts? The next show will be held March 18-22, 2015 at the San Mateo Event Center. The theme this year will be “Going Wild.” That makes it right up our alley!

The creators of the event say, “In response to increasing demands for participatory experiences from the new generation of garden en­thusiasts, presenters with an idea for mini “hands-on” workshops or “Make & Take” stations are encour­aged to present ideas for consideration for the “Do-It-Together” workshop area.

The overall criteria for the selection of speakers for 2015 will be new speakers with exciting information or points of view, as well as those speakers rated highest in past years. The most successful speakers are always those who engage the audience with strong interpersonal skills and craft their presentation or demonstration to be manageable within the time allowed (45-minutes with a maximum of 15-minutes for Q&A.) Because the majority of show attendees come from the Bay area, priority will be given to speakers with subject matter that is tailored to sustainable gardening in Northern California with its par­ticular climate, water patterns, and appropriate plant choices.”

We will need to have our plans together quickly – they have a deadline for speaker applications of October 30th. So, please let me know what you think about this event. Should we go for it? 


Alri’s Edibles

Courtesy Middlebrook Gardens

Photo courtesy Middlebrook Center

The California Native Garden Non-Profit Foundation (CNGF) invites you to join us on Saturday, September 20th from 5 to 10 PM at the Middlebrook Center, 76 Race Street, San Jose, CA, for an elegant evening of dining and music at our Eating California Fall Harvest Festival. The Festival will culminate CNGF’s Eating California Native Edible Eating series, a partnership with The Red Basket Chef, a line-up of cooking, designing, and tasting workshops that are taking place on several Saturdays throughout the summer and early fall of 2014. The culminating Fall Harvest Festival will also serve as a finale to the many projects and events related to sustainability, garden design, and food taking place at the Middlebrook Center this summer. The Festival will capture the essence of the mission of the California Native Garden Foundation–to provide the next generation the knowledge and resources necessary in order to create a prosperous future society based on the ideals of healthy living and the preservation of the natural world.

The festival includes

a tasting menu of small dishes using native edible ingredients
organic and sustainable wine
garden-brewed beer
garden infused mixed drinks
silent auction
Bossa Nova music by Dillon Vado Trio
socializing with inspiring people

West Basin

Another water agency has upped the ante on turf removal. The West Basin Municipal Water District Turf Removal Rebates are now raised to $3 Per Square Foot. West Basin provides drinking and recycled water in southwest Los Angeles County – Culver City, Inglewood, El Segundo, Rancho Palos Verdes, Palos Verdes Estates, Manhattan Beach.

This is thanks to a grant from the California Department of Water Resources and funding from the Metropolitan Water District. This limited time offer allows West Basin residents to replace their high water use lawns with efficient California Friendly plants and landscapes. This incentive will help in mitigating the impacts of this and future droughts.

To find out more on how to qualify visit: www.socalwatersmart.com or call 888.376.3314.

These programs require, generally, an inspection before you tear out the turf, and most do not allow you to replace turf with artificial fur of just gravel or hardscape like cement. They do not generally require that the plants be native, but we know natives rate the best solution for water savings, pollution reduction, habitat value and our sense of heritage.

If you live in this area and go for the rebate, please let us know how it goes and share “Before and After” photos with us.



sierra foothills oak

Photo courtesy CNPS Sierra Foothills chapter website.

On September 28, between 1:00 and 3:00, the Sierra Foothills chapter has a garden tour in Sonora. It will be held just before their October Plant Sale.

This is a local garden that has incorporated natives with non-natives. Deana Corso is graciously opening up her beautiful Phoenix Lake garden for a guided tour. Her garden has been on the Master Gardener’s Annual Tour twice over the past ten years. This is a great opportunity to get ideas for planting natives in your own garden. During the tour, members will talk about the natives growing throughout her expansive garden. Don’t miss this opportunity to see, in person, natives growing amongst oaks in a garden setting. If you have any questions email Stephanie at sjgarcia@mlode.com

Directions : 15575 Buena Vista Avenida, Sonora
From Sonora: Hwy 108, take Hess Ave, LEFT on Hess; RIGHT onto Phoenix Lake Road
Turn LEFT on De Los Portales, at the main, Phoenix Lake entrance
RIGHT onto Paseo De Los Robles; RIGHT onto Buena Vista Avenida
Park in turn about beyond driveway

I love these one-garden tours – they can be a very in-depth appreciation of all of the challenges that go into the making of a garden. Talking to owners about how and why and when they made decisions about their garden are extremely helpful.


MLCNPS Symposium

Jim and Catie Bishop have been working for months now to bring you the best native plant gardening symposium. It is chock full of cool stuff, including yours truly speaking. Check out this lineup:



SUSAN KRZYWICKI, State CNPS Horticulture Director

BERNADETTE BALICS, Native plant landscape designer

GLENN KEATOR, Noted author, botanist, and native plant ecologist

JOHN WHITTLESEY, Pollinator habitat designer, photographer and author of The Plant Lover’s Guide to Salvias

This symposium will help attendees to:

  • Design a pleasing landscape
  • Choose & maintain native plants
  • Create bird & pollinator habitat
  • Use less water & fertilizer
  • Q & A time with the experts

DETAILS: SEPTEMBER 14, 2014 8:30 am – 4 pm at the CHICO WOMEN’S CLUB, 3rd St and Pine, Chico

REGISTRATION: Please register online at mountlassen.cnps.org

$35, $30 CNPS member Includes LUNCH


photo courtesy Timber Press

photo courtesy Timber Press

I just got word that Judith Larner Lowry has had a new book published and I am ordering it right now! It is titled California Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Evergreen Huckleberries to Wild Ginger.

The book, published by Timber Press, available widely, is announced by the publisher: “The diversity of California’s terrain and climate are a forager’s dream, with unique offerings from the coast, the mountains, the deserts, and everywhere in between. A passionate wild foods expert, Judith Larner Lowry shows you what to look for and how to gather it in a sustainable way.

California Foraging is a hardworking guide packed with detailed information and clear photography for the safe identification of more than 120 wild plants. It also features a seasonal guide for foraging year-round and collecting tips for sustainable harvesting.”

Timber Press has published other works that many of our gardening community would be interested in. Judith, of course, as many of you know, has been the  proprietor of Larner Seeds, which specializes in California native plants and seeds, for the last 35 years. She’s a great writer and has published the wonderful Gardening with a Wild Heart from UC Press. She is also a prolific contributor to west coast gardening, nature and environmental magazines and journals.

I am looking forward to this book, as it is an important aspect of gardening that I think holds tremendous potential for our future.



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