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.




Nice photo of our smiling Betty Young, courtesy of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy’s newsletter has published an article, entitled “Oh, How We Have Grown.” Betty Young wrote the article, detailing her thoughts as she approaches retirement. 

She ran their Native Plant Nurseries for many years. She writes, “From Muir Beach to Mori Point, from Hawk Hill to Crissy Field, and all across the Presidio, restoration efforts by the Parks Conservancy, National Park Service, and Presidio Trust have benefited a wide range of wildlife—including rare, threatened, or endangered species. The California red-legged frog, San Francisco garter snake, mission blue butterfly, coho salmon, Franciscan manzanita, and many more species now enjoy expanded and healthier habitat—due in large part to the palette of plants that are thriving in restored landscapes.” 

And Betty’s role was to provide the best-quality plants from the nurseries she oversaw.  She details her efforts to improve propagation facilities and notes that, “…we have learned to grow over 400 species of plants that are native to the park (I hardly know 400 people!).” I love her sense of humor. 

And we are now hoping that Betty’s knowledge will be brought to our volunteers scattered over 34 chapters in diverse climates, conditions and configurations. She is knowledgeable, of course, but she is also willing to help any and all of us who have questions about how to germinate, transplant, care for, and nourish plants for our own use, plant sales, and other projects. 

Please read the full article she wrote – and you will see her wisdom in each sentence. We look forward to having more of her time available to all of us. 

Start storing up your questions for her!



Sus ConThe Bay Area non-profit, Sustainable Conservation, is searching for an experienced and collaborative Managing Director of Programs to provide oversight and guidance to all of its program areas.  They have two major program goals: (1) help California farmers be a model for environmental and economic sustainability, and (2) restore California’s rivers and streams on private lands.


This is an excellent position for a strategic and highly organized individual who enjoys mentoring others and has a track record of success in leading teams to achieve tangible results. You can find the complete position description at this link: http://job.ceaconsulting.com/jobs/managing-director-of-programs-san-francisco-ca-8003.

If someone you know is interested in this leadership opportunity, or if you have questions about the position, please contactSavanna Ferguson at savanna@ceaconsulting.com or by phone at 415-421-4213 x18.


Summer Golf


Forty acres have been replaced with natives. Photo courtesy Union-Tribune.

Forty acres have been replaced with natives at La Costa Golf Course. Photo courtesy Union-Tribune.

The U. S. Open was a couple of months ago, but I am just catching up with a ripple effect from this event that is related to our main interest: native plants. The San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper, which knows its audience, published an article about the New Brown in golf. Moving from that intense green of super-manicured turf to a more natural look is going to be difficult for many. Golf is an important hobby and tourist attraction in San Diego, so this really hits home.

The water use statistics, let alone the environmental impact form the synthetic fertilizers, etc. is just too much for today’s world.

Pinehurst, the venue for the U. S. Open, had a different look this year. It was showing off the U.S. Golf Association’s “brown is the new green” initiative.  Locally, courses have had to adapt. The article in the Union-Tribune quotes Sandy Clark, the longtime superintendent of Barona Creek Golf Club as saying, “What Pinehurst represented to the public is that this is OK. We don’t have to be wall-to-wall green. I think it’s going to break the barrier for the industry in terms of what we think we can and cannot do.

“I think it started a few years ago at Pebble Beach (for the 2010 U.S. Open). They roughed up the course a little bit for that one. People scratched their heads and said, ‘What are they doing?’ But two of the most famous golf courses in the world have provided us with different looking golf courses, and it turned out great.”

And, I love this quote from Craig Kessler, director of governmental affairs for the Southern California Golf Association. “We’re going to get back to past of the game, when the main attraction was that it was played in nature.”


native sons nursery site

Aerial Shot of Native Sons Wholesale Nursery, courtesy of the Native Sons website.

It isn’t often that we get some good news going and yet, this morning we heard two nice, connected pieces of info.

Tim Fross, from Native Sons Wholesale Nursery in Arroyo Grande wrote this email to Robert Hall, who shared it with the online Yahoo Group: “

With regards to neonicotinoids, we discontinued using any product containing them at the beginning of the year.” That’s great!

And that led Jean Struthers to mention that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has just announced they will ban neonics and GMOs in All Wildlife Refuges. “We have determined that prophylactic use, such as a seed treatment, of the neonicotinoid pesticides that can distribute systemically in a plant and can affect a broad spectrum of non-target species is not consistent with Service policy,” James Kurth, chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, wrote in a July 17 memo.

Thank you to those who have lobbied, discussed, written about and generally raised awareness level on this issue. We are making progress.


Photo courtesy Alicia Funk.

Photo courtesy Alicia Funk.

Alicia Funk, at The Living Wild Project, just completed a short and beautiful film called “Manzanita Madness.

Alicia writes, “My favorite time of summer is here – the time to gather Manzanita berries. I hope you’ll enjoy our new short film on manzanita, participate in our manzanita recipe contest to win $250 for your favorite non-profit, and enjoy this month’s blog with harvesting tips and recipes.”

I watched the film and loved it. Please check it out.


She also suggested this event: the Tahoe foodie community will meet at the premiere of Elevate Tahoe-Food Innovations at 6,000 feet, a film on Saturday Aug. 23 at the Community Arts Center in Truckee. Doors at 6:30 p.m., film at 7:15 p.m. The Living Wild Project is one of the organizations featured in the film.


It’s fairly warm in most parts of California and the northern end of Baja. And dry. People are talking dry dry dry…so here is a bit of refreshment.

I took this photo at the Waterfront Grill in National City. The cool water and colorful surfboards reinforce the beautiful rusts and creams of this field of buckwheats. Eriogonum species always turn up on drought-tolerant plant lists everywhere. For ornamental gardening, they are usually conceived of as plants for the typical dry-looking garden.

But here, they were positioned at water’s edge and they really made a hit, visually.

The Eriogonum family is a pretty diverse group, with a wide cultural range. Great pollinator attractors, too. Find out what grows nearest to your location, find it at a local nursery and try one soon. Then plant more!



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