Trillium photo by Russel Graham
Is Trillium a neglected California native coveted abroad and deserving more attention at home or a multifaceted research subject? The taxonomy is unsettled for sure, propagation protocols are sketchy, nursery suppliers are easier to find in Europe, the UK, Oregon, Washington, and Canada than in California, botanic garden displays are bigger and perhaps more complete in Scotland and England, gardeners in New Zealand and other parts of the world grow more trilliums than Californians, and the market economics are distorted, while native habitat is disappearing.
Trilliums, all parts in multiples of three, are much admired by wildflower enthusiasts and considered harbingers of spring in their native distributions and in gardens nearly worldwide, whether “Toadshade” (sessile types) or “Wake robins” (pedicled types). Despite significant variation in flower shape, size, leaf appearance, fragrance, and petal color, most folks know the California Trilliums as either white or maroon and may not realize there are 5 different species (with 2 or more yet to be “published”?), again depending on the key, flora, or plant list used. But, what about the pinks, reds and yellows; are they hybrids or just species variation?
This past week and a half, I’ve been to the Kern chapter and in the Bay Area. Signs of spring are still around…the poppies above were on the north side of the UC Berkeley campus.
The Cloyne coop has some native plants in the front garden, plus a nice strip on the back filled with Artemisia and others.
The weather has been variable, so keep an eye on your soil conditions.
Check this out – the RARE one!
Brian LeNeve gave us some updated information about the success of the Monterey Chapter’s wildflower show:
We finally got the wildflower pretty much put away, still some paper work, but I thought you would like to know some numbers of the 53rd annual wildflower show.
We had 661 taxa.
There were 4,800 people pass by the electric counter. This is 1800 more than the best before which was the 50th show.
There were 17 new plants to the show. Some of this is because of misidentifying a plant before and now realized what it was.
We now have 9 new members.
We sold over $2,000.00 worth of books and posters.
There were 32 different members participate either collecting or set up.
If this show is like the others we will have combined for driving 2,500 miles and donated 973 hours.
By any way you look at it another great show.
This note is from Brian LeNeve, Monterey chapter of CNPS on their successful Wildflower show: “I am still having a hard time getting my head around the number of people that attended this year.
According to the counter on the front door there were, 4,800 people cross the door during the three days. The museum does not account for people going in and out multiple times or two people entering at the same time, but it is the same system used for quite a while and it reflects the same inaccurate counting every year so we can use it as an indicator. The best year before this the counter showed 3,000. I still do not have an accurate count of taxa in the show but my hand count showed 667 and I am usually off 5 or 10 either way. The final count will be when we count the cards.”
Congratulations to the team. It was a beautiful show.
by Carolyn Longstreth
Mimulus aurantiacus (Monkeyflower). Photo by Laura Camp.
Like many California homeowners, we have a steep slope on our property. When we bought the place in Northern California in 2006, I was baffled how to create a garden there. It’s an informal area but too steep for a cottage-style mix of roses and perennials. But the area turned out to be the sunniest part of our yard, despite its northwestern exposure and some large trees growing near the top. The gardener in me was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. We terraced the steepest spots and continued to ponder the challenge. Continue reading
Ithuriel's Spear (Triteleia laxa) in a San Jose garden
Some of the most reliable plants in my garden are California native bulbs. They bring seasonal color and variety to the garden, and give it a sense of place (“This is California!”) and a sense of time: they are the markers of spring glory.
Native bulbs are especially appealing to lazy gardeners like me. They need minimal effort at planting time (no need to dig big holes) and no effort thereafter, ever! They come up with the winter rains, and flower in spring. They disappear during summer and return in winter, year after year. To me they are the ultimate in low maintenance gardening!
To succeed with California bulbs, follow these simple rules:
Wildflowers are such a rewarding feature in a native garden. Your neighbors and friends will be amazed by the color and variety. If last year’s flowers were allowed to go to seed, and followed by good winter/spring rains, the flowers will delight us by coming out in great numbers and all corners of the garden.
Tidy tips and California poppy (Layia platyglossa and Eschscholtzia californica), Photo: Laura Camp