California Native Plant Society Annual Fall Sale: mark your calendars

California Native Plant Society Annual Fall Sale: mark your calendars

Plant Sale Update
One morning in August, Wendy Born, Cindy Tancreto, Betty Young, Pat Sesser and I potted up 150 plants. They join over 2000 plants being grown for our fall plant sale. A core group of people have been propagating and growing plants in our shade house at the Laguna Foundation. We will have a fall plant sale, but it will be entirely different than any we have had before. Because of the Covid 19 quarantine, it will be entirely online. This is the first year that there has been no flyer, because the sale is online, there is no need for a flyer to post in your neighborhood to let the public know about the sale. All communication will be online.

Our members will be invited via email to order plants on October 7. When you order online you will be able to choose a day and time to pick up your plants at the nursery in Santa Rosa at the Laguna Foundation. There will be no deliveries. All orders will be placed in your vehicle when you drive up. Details will be posted on the plant sale page of our website. If you want to order plants, make sure that Susan Dean (, our membership chair, has your email. I will write about some of our plants, but for a complete list, check our website-

Ferns I am excited about the number of plants that we will have. There will be a good selection of shade loving ferns such as sword fern (Polistichum munitum), deer fern (Blechnum spicant), five-finger maidenhair fern (Adiantum aleuticum) and a very special evergreen maidenhair, Adiantum x tracyi (a cross between five finger maidenhair and northern maidenhair).

Habitat Plants The sale always had a special table that featured habitat plants. I will highlight the plants that are especially good to attract pollinators and should have a special place in your garden. Hummingbirds, butterflies and bees love native plants. Atriplex lentiformis or quail bush (6’ x 10’) is a beautiful silver gray leaved plant that, although it doesn’t have showy flowers, is none the less a bird friendly plant. Birds like the flowers and the seeds.

Epilobiums, Snapdragons and Columbine Hummingbirds love the Epilobium canum (California fuchsia) and we will have four varieties: ‘Everett’s Choice’, ‘Canyon Coral’, Cloverdale’ and ‘Calistoga’ . All are low growing, spreading varieties with bright red flowers, except ‘Canyon Coral’ with toned-down orange/red flowers. Galvezia speciosa ‘Firecracker’ (Island Snapdragon) is a shrub with bright red flowers on arching branches. Aquilegia formosa (Columbine) is an early spring flower. Its orange and red flowers are entirely pollinated by hummingbirds. As a result, the Columbine sets many seeds and often reseed in the garden.

Pipevine Two species that are closely allied with butterflies are the pipevine (Aristolochia californica) and the milkweed (Asclepias speciosa). The pipevine butterfly lays its eggs exclusively on the pipevine and the caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves. Plant it and the pipevine swallowtail will find it and lay eggs. The Monarch butterfly has a similar relationship with the milkweed. Milkweed is essential to the life cycle of the Monarch. The caterpillar feeds on the leaves of the milkweed.

Coyote Brush and CoffeeberriesIf you want a good, drought tolerant evergreen shrub, plant coyote brush, Baccharis pilularis. We are offering plants that are grown from seed. These can grow to 6’ or more. There will also be Baccharis ‘Twin Peaks’ or dwarf coyote brush which is a low growing form -2’ x 6’. Another good evergreen shrub is coffeeberry (Frangula aka Rhamnus californica). It can be planted in sun to light shade and has insignificant flowers that pollinators just love. We will have three varieties ‘Mound San Bruno’(4-5’ x 6’), ‘Eve Case’(7’ x 7’) and ‘Leatherleaf’( 6’ x 6’). We have also grown many coffeeberries from seed and they are very attractive with dark green leaves and red stems. All of them have large red to black fruits.

Toyons Heteromeles arbutifolia or Toyon is a very popular large evergreen shrub that can grow to over 12’. A member of the Rose family, it has a cluster of white flowers followed by red berries in the fall. A variety of Toyon called ‘Davis Gold’ has yellow berries will be available. I like “Davis Gold’ because it resists the leaf spot disease that can disfigure the leaves of regular Toyon.

Ceanothus Commonly known as California lilac, Ceanothus is a very popular California native for the garden. The CA lilacs are drought tolerant, hardy shrubs for a sunny location. All are vigorous growers, with blue flowers. They need occasional summer water, especially inland. We will have 6 varieties at our sale–‘Carmel Creeper’ (3’ x 12’), ‘Anchor Bay’ (low growing), ‘Concha’ (6’x 6’), ‘Dark Star'(6’ x 8’), ‘Kurt Zadnick’ (3’ x 10’) and ‘Skylark’ (8’ x 8’).

Manzanitas We will have both varieties of Arctostaphylos hookeri (Monterey manzanita). Arctostaphylos hookeri ‘Wayside’ and A. h. ‘Ken Taylor’. Both are low growing ground covers that are drought tolerant and have white to pink blossoms and are long lived. ‘Wayside’ is the taller of the two.

Salvias Check out the Salvias. Salvias are a genus that one can fall in love with and begin collecting different varieties to see how they grow. The ground covers S. x ‘Bee’s Bliss’ and S. sonomensis and S. spathacea (Hummingbird sage) will be available. There will be two Salvia clevelandii selections–S. ‘Winnifred Gilman’ (compact 3’ x 3’) and S. ‘Pozo Blue’ is the hardiest. Salvia brandegei-Brandegee sage (5’ x 7’) with dark green leaves and pale lavender flowers. Salvia apiana(white sage) (5’ x 5’) woolly grey leaves and long flowering stalks grows well in a full sun area with occasional watering during the summer.

Other Perennials The sale will include an number of perennial plants as well. We’ll have the low growing Aster chilensis. Two buckwheats, including Eriogonum grande rubescens (red buckwheat) and Eriogonum fasciculatum ‘Warriner Lytle’, a very low growing ground cover with white flowers. Helenium bigelovii, a yellow flowered sneezeweed. For the shade garden, Heuchera micrantha and H. maxima (commonly known as Alum Root) both have beautiful large leaves and white flowers on slender, wiry stems. Another member of the Saxifrage family is Tellima grandiflora (fringe cups) has a similar habit with evergreen foliage and flowers borne on a stalk.

Iris’ The pure native Iris douglasiana is the only Iris that we will have. Two Phacelias–the ground cover P. bolanderi (woodland phacelia) and P. californica, a plant found growing on road cuts and canyons of Sonoma County. It grows with a low basal rosette of grey leaves with a stem with lavender flowers in a coil. Silene laciniata (Mexican Pink) is a spectacular plant with red flowers that can get up to 20 inches tall. Penstemon heterophyllus ‘Margarita Bop’ has very blue flowers and grows to 5 inches.

Succulents Dudleya farinosa (bluff lettuce) is a low growing succulent that made headlines last year when people were stealing plants from our coastal bluffs and mailing them to China! Apparently there was a huge market for them. Now you can grow this famous plant in your garden. We have grown many of them from seeds that we gathered on the coast. We also offer a similar succulent, Dudley caespitosa looks almost like D. farinosa and is also found on the Sonoma County’s coastal bluffs. Both flower with reddish stems and small yellow flowers in the spring.

Monkey Flowers Our sale wouldn’t be complete without monkeyflowers. The woody, drought tolerant Diplacus  (formerly Mimulus) grows to about 3 feet. This year we grew them from seed so there will be no cultivars but instead we will have three the straight species: Diplacus aurantiacus (sticky monkeyflower) grows on our hillsides and has deep orange flowers and is very drought tolerant. Diplacus linearis is new to us and I don’t have a description to share. D. grandiflorous (azalea flowered monkeyflower) has large white flowers.

Grasses We are growing four grasses: Melica imperfectaMelica torreyana and Festuca californica and Festuca californica ‘Serpentine Blue’.

Our California native plants are so important to the environment. They save water, attract pollinators, provide wildlife habitat, and they create a beautiful local touch to your garden.

Liz Parsons, Milo Baker Vice President

More Plant Sale Info at