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Fall 2003 Newsletter
Vol 12, No. 3. Sept. 2003

Autumn Plant Sale

Saturday, September 13, 9:30 am –1:30 pm
Sierra College, Grass Valley Campus
Our enclosed flyer has all the details!

Plant Sale Preview

We can’t promise that a particular species will be at the September 13th sale.  Our growers do their very best to fulfill our requests.  They are patiently working with nature.

Cornflower Farms:  we’ve placed a large order with this wholesale grower of natives in Elk Grove.

Sierra Valley Farm:  Gary and Kim Rumano travel from Beckwith, CA with eastern Sierra perennials.

Restoration Resources:  this wholesale grower from Lincoln offers our favorite trees and shrubs, many for riparian or restoration projects.

AlterNatives:  Justin Maciulis’ nursery in Nevada County, specializes in chaparral natives.

Far West Bulb Farm:  See page 3 for their “Growing Instructions”.  Nancy & Ames Gilbert propagate a wonderful variety of native bulbs from seed.

Delo Rio: local artist brings her wildflower t-shirts.

Julie Carville:  Redbud’s book chairperson will have a great selection of hiking and botany books.

Please volunteer to helpVolunteers receivea free one-gallon plant as a “thank you” plus the satisfaction of helping to make the plant sale a success!

Cashiers.  Two of our long-time favorite cashiers-Mary Miller and Marya Miller-have moved away from our area.

Loading and transporting plants on Friday, Sept. 12 and Sat. Sept 13.  Robert Foster is recovering from shoulder surgery.  Bob usually does much of this work.

Setting up tents and tables starting at 7 am at the College’s North parking lot.

Publicity: help is needed with all kinds of publicity. Call Karen at 530-272-5532 to help.

Volunteers: help contact our members and coordinate the many jobs to cover.

Chapter President, Richard Hanes, is the Plant Sale Coordinator (in addition to his many duties as Pres.).  Please call him to volunteer 530-477-0643 or email at mrflower@inreach.com.

 

Chapter Meetings:  Meetings are free and open to the public.  Our chapter meetings alternate between Placer and Nevada County, usually on the 4th Wednesday of the month with no meetings in December, July or August.

The World of Carnivorous Plants

By Chet Blackburn

Wednesday, October 22, 7 pm

Nevada County Library Community Room

There are more than 550 species of insectivorous plants in the world and they are found on every continent except Antarctica.  Did you know that at least 6 of those species are found in our own area (Nevada and Placer Counties)?   Did you know that it has been recently discovered that a common local weed MAY have a carnivorous seed?  What are the criteria required to be considered a carnivorous plant? What are the various methods that these fascinating plants use to lure and trap their prey?  What species are suitable for cultivation?  Why are they suddenly becoming available at local nurseries and discount stores? 

Chet Blackburn, a founding member of Redbud Chapter & active with the Carnivorous Plant Society, will answer these questions and discuss the world of carnivorous plants at our October 22 meeting in Auburn.

Spring Plant Sale a Success 

   When the Plant Sale Committee met last February to plan the Spring Wildflower Show and Plant Sale, drought conditions were predicted for the summer of 2003.  Plant Sale Chairperson, Cathie French-Tritel, enthusiastically suggested that “xeriscaping” (or water-conserving landscaping) be the educational theme for the sale.  Cathie and several volunteers created a xeriscape exhibit complete with landscape plans, educational handouts, and flowering plants.

   The day of the sale dawned cool and cloudy.  We watched the beautiful, dramatic clouds over Rocklin as we talked with people about xeriscaping and drought-tolerant native plants.  Just as the many volunteers and nursery owners began to pack up for the trip home, the rain began.  Fortunately, customers and volunteers had time to purchase their new treasures and browse the delightful wildflower show before the shower.

Cathie thanks all the volunteers who donated many hours to make the sale an educational and  community event.

Wildflower Book Update

by Chet Blackburn

After about a year’s hiatus, Redbud Chapter’s book “Wildflowers of Nevada and Placer Counties” is back on the front burner and nearing completion.  As of August 1, text for 536 species has been completed by 10 contributing authors.  Approximately 425 photographs of those described species are available from 5 local photographers.  The book committee will meet toward the end of August to whittle the number of plants to be described down a bit.  After that the book will go through a review process by outside sources. We expect to publish the book in time for next spring’s wildflower season.

A list of the photographs needed can be supplied to any of our members who may have photographs to contribute.  Contact Chet Blackburn at 530-885-0201 or by e-mail at Blackburn@inreach.com.

CNPS State-wide Chapter Council Minutes

By Richard Hanes

   Following is a brief summary of the June Chapter Council meeting. Thanks to Joan Stewart, CC Secretary for putting the minutes out early.

   No candidates were available for Vice Chair or Secretary of Chapter Council; Jim Bishop and Joan Stewart volunteered to fill the positions.

   Executive Director Pam Muick reported that an audit has been successfully completed.  A bookkeeper has been hired for 3 days/week.  The State Office has moved to 2707 K Street, Suite 1, Sacramento 95816, across from Fort Sutter State Park.  Book storage and shipping will be “out-sourced” to “pick-and-pack.”

   Orange County Chapter has nearly completed a “how to grow” natives handout for their area.; The Jepson Chapter Native Plant Garden has received $60,000 from the State Coastal Conservancy.

   President Britting reports that the Board approved an “amicus” brief supporting the Board of Forestry’s defense of a lawsuit affecting timber harvest.

   A proposal was introduced for a “Conservation Policy Adoption Process”; with discussion and one amendment, the Process was adopted. This concerned a process for review of a conservation policy submitted by a Chapter (soon to be on the CNPS website).

   A discussion on developing a “Brush Management Policy” (primarily related to clearing around homes or structures to reduce fire hazard) veered into the broader topic of buffer zones.  Council agreed informally that the policy should treat fuel management in a general way and apply to all vegetation forms rather than being restricted to brush.  No action was taken; discussions will continue.

   Action on the Chapter subvention issue was deferred to the next meeting.  There was a discussion on Chapter Council and Board elections, with comments on lack of candidates for both.  The discussion continues!

The Bickford Ranch Lawsuit

Update by Terry Davis, Sierra Club Staff

For those who haven't heard, Judge Golden did not like the way the County certified the Administrative Record. Before he'll hear any more oral arguments he wants staff to clean up the language and the BOS to certify it.

We're looking at another court date late summer or fall. I came away feeling pretty good about this judge -- he's a stickler!

The Salvias or Sages

   We expect to have an excellent selection of native Salvias at the September 13 sale. The plants may be past flowering so here’s some information to help you choose the right one for your garden.

   The Salvias or Sages are a versatile genus, making them functional and attractive additions to the landscape. Colorful, spiky, or whorled infloerscences, soothing aromas, zesty flavors, and ease of care are the trademark characteristics. Additionally valuable are the wildlife attracting (bees and hummingbirds), slope-stabilizing, and drought-resistant features of the Sages.

   Only one perennial Salvia sonomensis, or Creeping Sage, is native to Placer and Nevada Counties, but about 20 are native to California and 900 species are found worldwide. The many that are native to other areas of California thrive in foothill gardens and deer-resistant (not deer proof!).

   Salvias may be propagated from seeds or cuttings. Over the years many cultivars and hybrids from native Sages have been developed. Planting the sages in the fall enables them to develop a deep root system. Some watering helps extend flowering season and keep the foliage in ‘garden worthy’ condition. Keep water off the leaves to prevent mildew. Cutting back the plants at the end of the growing season is recommended.

  Salvias are compatible with native oaks, chaparral shrubs, and many drought-tolerant perennials. Native perennials like Woolly Blue Curls, Trichostema lanatum, Penstemon and Eriogonum species are beautiful with sages in the native plant garden.

The following are brief descriptions of the most frequently found Salvias at Redbud’s plant sales:

Salvia apiana, White Sage or Bee Sage

Aromatic, coarse white foliage, tall white flowers on spikes 7-8 feet tall (!), deep rooted, drought tolerant, attracts bees and hummingbirds. Grows below 5,000 ft.

Salvia clevelandii Cleveland’s Sage

Fragrant, culinary silver-green foliage, medium blue whorled flowers, 2-5 feet high shrub, deep rooted, drought tolerant, long blooming. One of the prettiest sages. Attracts hummingbirds. Grows below 3,000 feet.

Salvia mellifera, Black Sage

Aromatic, light green foliage, medium blue whorled flowers. Important bee and hummingbird plant in its native Coastal Sage Scrub habitat. Deeply rooted, drought tolerant, makes a great stabilizing ground cover for hillsides. Grow below 2000 feet.

Salvia sonomensis, Creeping Sage

Very prostrate groundcover with bluish green foliage, pale violet to blue flowers on foot-high woody stems. Great bank cover, tolerates a variety of soils and sun exposures. Bees love the flowers. In the wild, native bulbs like Yellow Star Tulip (Calochortus monophyllus) and wildflowers like Diamond Clarkia (Clarkia rhomboidea) often grow among the Creeping Sages leaves. Below 5,000 feet.

Salvia spathacea Hummingbird Sage

Showy, red-magenta flowers, in whorls along foot-long stems. Coarse, arrow-shaped green foliage forms basal rosettes. Good understory plant, tolerant of deep shade as well as sun. Tolerates some summer water, looks good with Black Sage. Attracts hummingbirds. Grows below 2,500 feet.

Everyone is Going Native!

By Steve Hartman

from “Toyon”, the newsletter of CNPS Chapter for Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains, July 2003

After years of efforts by many CNPSers to bring the awareness of the value of native plants in the landscape to the attention of public agencies, it seems that our work has finally paid off.  If you saw the May 18 ”Special Garden Issue” of the Los Angeles Times Magazine, you would have seen a beautiful green cover with coral bell flowers (Heuchera sp.) and the title “Going Native: Why the time is right for California’s own plants”.

Perhaps the impetus for this new focus is that water is an increasingly precious commodity in Southern California.  The Metropolitan Water District has engaged CNPS, the Theodore Payne Foundation, and Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden to develop a layperson’s guide to landscaping with natives.

The City of Los Angeles is getting involved in a big way as well.  The folks at the Donald Tillman Reclamation Plant in the Sepulveda Dam Basin have just published a brochure entitled “Native Landscape of the Levee”, describing the City’s largest native landscaping project of the levee that surrounds the water treatment facility.

Now if we could only get the Metropolitan Transit District (MTA) to agree to planting native plants throughout the 13 mile San Fernando Valley East-West Transit corridor (busway)!  We have been trying to convince the MTA of the benefits of a highly visible landscaping project where the public at large would be able the see the beauty and value of using native plants.

Jepson Desert Plant Workshop

By Dave Heveron

Vicki Lake, Redbud’s VP, attended this workshop in April 2003 with Dave and shared his story of the group’s experiences.

We Brake For Wildflowers

The license plate frame on Gary Monroe’s car says, “I Brake For Wildflowers”. That was a very good description of our nearly four day immersion in the Spring Flora of the East Mojave Desert – a Friends of the Jepson Herbarium workshop. Gary was the senior member of our group of twenty-four participants and an avid digital photographer of desert wildflowers.

The workshop was based out of the Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center. It’s the former site of an old ranch nestled in a cove of spectacular boulder mountains in the East Mojave National Preserve. Under the direction of Jim Andre, the research center offers comfortable accommodations and delicious meals prepared by chef Charlotte with assistance from husband Dave. About half of us camped and the rest stayed in a dorm room above the dining hall. However, except for sleeping, eating great food, and evening wildflower slide presentations, all of our time was spent out in the magnificent Mojave Preserve experiencing one of the best annual wildflower blooms in several years.

Bruce Baldwin, our leader and instructor for the workshop, is a soft-spoken, gentle man with a passion for plants that will take us to the backcountry of the preserve to find wildflowers that are sometimes rare and always beautiful. The first morning was spent along Kelbaker road, which transects the preserve. Among dozens of species spotted here were clumps of Dune Primrose (Oenothera deltoides) with papery, delicate white flowers that that fade to pink as they pass, and a rare to this area sand verbena (Abronia turbinata) with white flowers. Also seen here were many tall desert lilies (Hesperocalus undulata). The Latin name means “western beauty” which seemed very appropriate. As we stood on this high desert plain, off in the distance, a freight train passed by old Kelso Station with its haunting whistle so familiar in the west. Throughout the day high cumulus clouds built up on the horizon then quickly dispersed casting shadows across the desert mountain ranges that surrounded us.

With patches of purple phacelias and pale yellow dandelions (Anisocoma acaulis) at our feet, we listened as Bruce described new changes in plant taxonomy. It seems that with more genetic research, botany is changing quickly from observational accounts to molecular science. It challenges much of what we have learned and is creating a “meltdown” of many genera – particularly in the family Asteraceae.

We spent the late afternoon in a place called Cottonwood Cove. After a full day of wildflowers we returned to the dining hall. It was a cacophony of excited voices going over the botanical finds of the day. I pulled up a chair next to Jeff Greenhouse and struck up a conversation. Jeff and Jepson Desert Manual plant photographer John Game have been at all the workshops I’ve attended. They make a great team with Jeff enthusiastically scouting the landscape for unusual plants and John following close behind with his camera gear. John is able to contort himself in any position to get just the right angle on any given flower. This usually means he’s covered with sand and brush by the end of the day – an admirable dedication. Jeff’s work, when he’s not in the field, is centered around the Jepson Interchange Project. The project focuses on collecting information via the internet from amateur and professional botanists about California flora to be used in future plant accounts. Given the considerable task of verifying the collected data, Jeff sees his job as “detective work – very interesting”. After dinner and an informal slide show from Bruce, I wander off to Pinyon Camp and drift off to sleep with the music of desert breezes.

Early the next day, back at the breakfast hall for Charlotte’s special scrambled eggs, potatoes, fresh fruit, and homemade breads, the sound of coffee chatter from smiling faces greets me. So many unexplainably happy folks - there’s something about this high desert air that agrees with everyone here. After breakfast, we head out to the Providence Mountains for a look at some of the many perennial shrubs whose blooms provided a colorful springtime display. The bright yellow flowers of Brittlebush (Encelia farinosa), Pygmy Cedar (Peucephyllum schottii), Paper-flower (Psilostrophe cooperi), and cassia (Senna armata) lined the trails we took. Black Canyon, Wildhorse Canyon, Hole in the Wall, the names are straight from an old cowboy film, only these were the real thing. There are still a couple of cattle ranches within the vast Mojave Preserve and some of the old windmills and cattle troughs are here. By late afternoon we ended up in the Mid-Hills studying the numerous wildflowers in a small area that had been burned a year ago. Fire ecology yields its own special variety of plants. In the hills above, we spotted a baseball shaped cactus (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti) and several Claret Cup Cacti (Echinocereus triglochidatus) with their bright red flowers growing among the hardy Juniper trees (Juniperus osteosperma).

On the trip back to the research center Linda Vorobik, a plant illustrator and botanist whose fine artwork appears in the Jepson Desert Manual, remarked how good she felt just being out with our group in the Mojave. Of course, she was right. The euphoria was felt by all of us. How many times in life do we gather together with two dozen mostly strangers and form such an immediate bond of friendship? For this was a group that was not only passionate about plants, but also compassionate about all the life that surrounds us, grateful and respectful of the gifts we have been given.

On the last day we trek off to Sheep Hole, a poor name for a wonderland of boulder canyons and washes with abundant spring blooms. Part of the Granite Mountains Research Center, director Jim Andre joins Bruce Baldwin in leading us to some special finds, including an uncommon in this area Viscid Lace Fern (Cheilanthes viscida) growing in the rocks and flowering Climbing Milkweed (Sarcostema cyanchoides ssp. hartwegii). I also find the largest Notch-leaved Phacelia (Phacelia crenulata) I have ever seen – a full twenty inches high with robust purple flowers. I fall behind the group with Christophe Dobes a molecular researcher who came all the way from Wien, Austria to attend the Jepson workshop as part of his annual vacation. Christophe and I stop to photograph a tiny buckwheat (Eriogonum sp.) with orange basal leaves. Taking our time as the group gets further ahead he remarks that “good botanical hikes are always slow”.

As if to be rewarded at the end of our time together, we drop down into a wash to find the rarely blooming Hole in the Sand Plant (Nicolletia occidentalis). Named for its habit of growing in a small depression in the sand, we find several of these pink flowered annuals around us. The group gathers in an informal circle, sitting cross-legged on the sand to eat lunch and share the last of our stories before going our separate ways. While the wildflowers were certainly impressive this year, it is the people that always make the Jepson workshops interesting and enjoyable. As a learning experience it is perhaps the best of all things combined, a camp out in a beautiful setting, sharing good food and conversation with new friends, and excellent instructors like Bruce Baldwin to guide us. A special thanks should also go to Staci Markos, Jepson’s Public Education Coordinator, for making it all flow smoothly.

“The blossoms are so short, the forgetting so long” - Walt Whitman


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Last updated
February 22, 2006