Feeding Frenzy-Manzanita and Friends

Every year in my garden, and in the garden at Tree of Life Nursery where I work, and maybe in your garden, too, the earliest Manzanita to bloom is Arctostaphylos refugioensis.  Last year it had plentiful flowers at Christmas, but this year it’s quite early and in full bloom in time for Halloween.

Arctostaphylos refugioensis, Refugio Manzanita, late October

On Saturday, October 30th, I attended a talk by pollinator and native plant expert Bob Allen at the nursery, and in the course of a talk about gardening for butterflies he mentioned that manzanitas are good nectar plants for adult butterflies and moths. When I arrived home later that afternoon, lo and behold, two Monarch butterflies were fluttering high around my front yard, and further observation showed that their target was the profuse blooms of my Refugio manzanita. Guru Bob strikes again! Continue reading

Seasonal color – July – Humboldt’s Lily

Update in July 2011:  Here is a photo of the Humboldt lily in my garden, taken on the 4th of July.  My niece called it the hot air balloon plant!

Now back to the original post:

For those of you who have been following my blog posts, I skipped April, May and June on my “seasonal color” theme.  Never fear – those are our best months for color, and you probably have flowers galore in your native garden without even trying. Perhaps I was intimidated by the sheer volume of choices.  We can catch up next year. Continue reading

Highlights of Orange County’s Native Garden Tour

CNPS Orange County sponsored, hosted, organized (whatever you want to call it!) a Native Garden Tour on May 8, 2010.  The tour was very well-attended (numbers are coming in) and the weather was Southern California perfect!  After hosting duties at one of the gardens, I was able to visit 5 gardens out of 11, and here are some photo highlights from my day.

Meandering trail in dramatic canyon garden

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Orange County Native Garden Tour – Saturday, May 8, 2010

If you are in the Southern California area, you will not want to miss the Orange County Native Garden Tour, sponsored by the Orange County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society. Eleven outstanding gardens will be open to the public for one day only, on May 8, 2010, from 10 am to 4 pm, and this event is FREE to all enthusiasts.

Registration is required.  Click on this link for full descriptions of the gardens and for registration details.

Please spread the word! We are counting down less than four weeks until this fantastic event!

Spring Wildflowers in the Garden

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

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Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

On March 12, I had the pleasure of visiting the premier native botanic garden in the Los Angeles area, on a beautiful sunny day.  The nearby snow-capped peaks were framed by large trees and flowering shrubs.

Many gardening ideas jumped out from all corners of the garden.  The container garden exhibit included this great hybrid Monkeyflower spilling out of a very large pot.

Mimulus 'Ruby Silver' (Hybrid Monkeyflower), Photo by Laura Camp at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

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Seasonal Color – March preview

March is just starting, and here in Southern California we can look forward to Ceanothus just starting to come into peak bloom.  Here’s a teaser from my home garden:  Island Ceanothus, Ceanothus arboreus, which makes a great large shrub or small tree, and is very fast growing.  This tree is about 12 feet tall and 12 years old, but was full-sized after 4 years.  Which Ceanothus are putting on a show in your yard?

Island Ceanothus, Ceanothus arboreus, Photo: Laura Camp ©Tree of Life Nursery