Wildflower Meadow in Sierra Madre GardenJennifer LaPlante and Steve D’Auria’s Sierra Madre garden will be on the Theodore Payne Garden Tour for the 4th year this Saturday!  The Tour runs from  from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The Theodore Payne Garden Tour features 47 gardens across the Los Angeles area during two days, Saturday the 21st and Sunday the 22nd.  This garden is number 7.

Here is what TPF wrote about the garden:

“This foothills landscape showcases unusual plants from the San Gabriel Mountains and local wilderness. The steep, narrow 4,000-square-foot garden, begun early 2011, includes terraces of local stone, rock water features, permeable paving, drains and swales, and formal and woodland plantings.”

At this point, the garden is more than 8,000 square feet of local native plants and hosts goldfinches, woodpeckers, scrub jays, squirrels, deer, bears and bobcats! It features a wildflower meadow ringed by coast live oaks.

Restoration of the local ecology was an important purpose in creating the garden. It features local native plants and 90% are species local to the area. Many are rare. It features plants such as the Humbolt Lily, Lilium humboldtii, Dudleya lanceolata and D. cymosa, the local Coral Bells, Heuchera caespitosa, and the Soaproot, Chlorogalum pomeridianum.

Several beautiful fountains by Stonemason Bruce Goss evoke the many streams, rivers and seeps of the San Gabriel Mountains.  See his Flickr Gallery, and find more photos on Facebook.

To see beautiful photos of the work in progress by artist/photographer A. Fanto, go to http://afanto.com/ansg/.

Chliopsis linearis, Theodore Payne Sales Yard

Desert Willow, Chliopsis linearis, Theodore Payne Sales Yard


I’ll be teaching the Three-Part Design Class at The Theodore Payne Foundation starting this Friday, September 12.

Friday, September 12, 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Theodore Payne Foundation
10459 Tuxford Street, Sun Valley, CA 91352 (map), 818-768-1802
Here’s what TPF says about the class:
“This comprehensive  three-session course for home gardeners offers a sound foundation in design styles and process, the importance of sustainability and how to model a garden after patterns in nature. Students will devise a base/plot plan, implementing knowledge of hardscape materials, irrigation, soils and more. Prior to the class, students will complete a preliminary questionnaire and warm-up exercise for their site. In addition, students are asked to bring photos of their site and a baggie of the site’s soil to the first day of class.”

Theodore Payne classes fill up quickly, so you may want to preregister by calling them  at 818-768-1802.

Here is their Calendar.

P.S – Not all California native plants are desert plants – this is only one of many sections of Theodore Payne’s sales yard.  Dry Shade and Riparian (riverbank, or moist areas) are two of my favorites.

Salvia pachyphylla
Rose Sage, Salvia pachyphylla

 I was at Hunter’s Nursery as usual for the 12th Annual Big Bear Xeriscape Tour, providing information about the many native plants for sale at Hunter’s.  Hunter’s still has some natives for sale, including lots of Arctostaphylos patula – a high-elevation Manzanita,  Rabbitbrush, Yarrow and other great plants.  The tour was created by the Sierra Club Big Bear Group, and co-sponsored by the Big Bear DWP.

“Xeriscape” basically means drought-tolerant in Greek.  It’s an easy word to make fun of – think zero – so I like to say drought-tolerant instead.  But it was originally developed by a high-elevation water district in Denver, so it makes sense in Big Bear.

The BBDWP created a beautiful Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, and these photos are from the garden.  Everything was in bloom and gorgeous, and kudos to the gardeners!

Penstemon eatonii

Firecracker Penstemon, Penstemon ssp.

Penstemon spectabilis

Showy Penstemon, Penstemon spectabilis

Penstemon spectabilis close up

Penstemon spectabilis detail

Solidago ssp

Goldenrod, Solidago ssp.

Aquilegia formosa

Western Columbine, Aquilegia formosa


Native Wildflowers at Learning Garden.jpg

Native Wildflowers and Shrubs at the Venice Learning Garden


I will be giving a presentation on Getting Started with Native Plants during the City of Monrovia’s Monrovia Area Partnership 5th Neighborhood Conference.  The  Conference is free.  It features 24 speakers on many topics, including  Solving Stormwater Runoff, Immigration Outlook, Therapy Dogs and the Wild Side of Monrovia.

My presentation will start at 10:30.   Here is their blurb for me:

“Native plants support more birds, butterflies and
pollinators than non-native plants and use up to
75% less water. Attend to learn how to get started.”

When and Where:

Saturday, August 9, 2014, 9:30am – 3:00pm
Monrovia High School Event Center
845 W. Colorado Blvd.
(Enter on Madison Ave)
Childcare provided for ages 6-16.
Classes will be also given in Español.

Hummingbird at Fountain

Hummingbird at Fountain  2012 Orchid Black

I will be reprising my lecture on water saving strategies a the At Home with Natives 2013: Sustaining California with Native Gardens  Symposium sponsored by the Orange County CNPS tomorrow, Saturday, October 19,
at Saddleback College, Health Sciences Building, Room 145, 8 to 4:30

Here’s what they wrote about my talk: Water in our Gardens, Saving, Storing, Using:

“We’ll examine swales and earthworks meant to keep water on site, conserving both water and topsoil, appropriate rainwater harvesting and storage, some thoughts about greywater– and a quick look at Orchid’s view on practical irrigation..”

I get to share the stage and a panel later in the day with the following wonderful people: Speaking will be Guy Stivers, Lili Singer, Abe Sanchez, Mike Evans and also on the panel will be Bob Allen, Ron Vanderhoff and  Dan Songster

For more information, look on the Orange County CNPS website.

                                                                         Mike Evans

I’m pleased to be once again bringing the “good news”  and the “how to” of natives to Landscape Architects, Designers and LEED Professionals at the LA EXPO , in two seminars with Mike Evans.  Mike is both passionate and practical speaker, and has over 30 years of experience of success with California native plants. I will be focusing on color, with input from Mike, and Mike will be focusing on success using a plant community approach, with my input.  We plan robust discussion to help professionals counter obstacles to using natives in the landscape.

California’s Most Colorful Plants: Designing for Color Throughout the Year

Saturday February 9th – 8:30-10:00 a.m, CEU Accreditation: LA CES, 1.5; LEED, 1.5; APLD, 1.5

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Spring in California is a riot of color, sending photographers to the wildflower meadows and inspiring numerous native garden tours. Surprisingly, some natives bloom almost year-round. Other California plants bloom at different times of the year, whether in January or July. Features such as colorful leaves, berries and stems provide additional interest in Fall and Winter. Creating continuous bloom also helps pollinators thrive, enhancing habitat. This course provides a tour through the most colorful plants in the California native palette with plant descriptions and bloom times, as well as numerous examples of color in the landscape and the most striking color combinations. A descriptive plant list will be made available.

Success with Native Plant Design Using a Plant Community Approach

Saturday February 9th – 10:00 a.m-12:00  p.m., CEU Accreditation: LA CES, 1.5; LEED, 1.5; APLD, 1.5

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Success with California’s native plants depends on more than choosing the showiest native plants and putting them together in the landscape. Choosing a palette of plants based on natural communities and associations of plants is an ecologically sound basis for design, and leads to the most successful, longest-lasting and easiest to maintain landscapes. This course will focus on communities including Chaparral, Riparian/Alluvial Fan, Coastal Sage Scrub, Oak Woodlands, Meadow and Desert and how to match these associations to the micro-climates and soils on your site, as well as to features such as planted bio-swales. The best-looking and most reliable selections from these communities will be discussed. A descriptive plant list and plant community list will be made available.