I randomly grow Cal native plants in my backyard. Mostly from seeds collected on my projects, but also some gifted or purchased from California Native Plant Society plantgeeks and events.
I don't do it to "native garden" per se, but mostly to dabble and see if/how different species grow, and what they look like from sprout to flower to fruit. However, it is quite handy that many CA natives like it dry. And the native bees in my backyard sure are happy.
Well, over the last 3 seasons of dabbling I've accumulated around 50 native species, in dribs and drabs, in pots and in the ground.
A few grew, but never reseeded. Others reseeded with vigor, and had to be weeded.
As an eye opener for 2013, here are 16 species from 2012 - roughly in order of appearance.
The native season in my yard always starts in late January with my pair of stars. Shooting stars. Which are wonderfully perennial, but take 7 years to go from seed to blooming, so I bought these at a CNPS chapter meeting in 2010 from a master grower with far, far more patience than I.
Cleveland's Shooting Stars, Dodecatheon clevelandii
My first larkspurs bloomed in 2012. Only took 2 years from seed to 1st flowers. They're also perennials, so it'll be interesting to see how many years they last.
I thought the species I planted was Canyon Larkspur, Delphinium umbraculorum, the CNPS list 1B rarity. But the flowers were nearly white, and in the wild they're a more classic purple. Hmmm... Other characters key properly though. But then, Delphs aren't my strength.
Canyon Larkspur (I think), Delphinium umbraculorum
Also had a patch of Purple Chinese Houses. It's an annual species, but seems to reseed easily.
Purple Chinese Houses, Collinsia heterophylla
And my pot of various Triteleias and Brodiaeas gave up its first blooms in 2012. Appears Trits may grow faster than Brods, but I've only just begun to keep track.
Prettyface, Triteleia ixioides
Harvest Brodiaea, aka Elegant Clusterlily, Brodiaea elegans
Of my 6 species of Clarkias, these 3 were my faves in 2012 - rubicunda because it's bright and crazy prolific, speciosa because it's long lasting and delicate, and rhomboidea because it's cool, likes shade, and I didn't expect it to take from the few seeds I planted.
Ruby Chalice Clarkia, Clarkia rubicunda
Redspot Clarkia, Clarkia speciosa
Diamond Fairy Fan, Clarkia rhomboidea
I grew 2 native clovers - a shade-lover for the flowers, and a sun-lover for the leaves.
Tomcat Clover, Trifolium willdenovii
Maiden Clover (CNPS cultivar), Trifolium microcephalum
And a pot o' Calochortus bulbs, too. Growing them in a pot allows maximum control of the soil, water and sun they get. This pot has well-draining sandy-clay, which seems to work nicely for interior California foothill and grassland species.
Butterfly Mariposa Lily, Calochortus venustus
Also Butterfly Mariposa Lily, Calochortus venustus (a highly variable species)
Superb Mariposa Lily, Calochortus superbus
Finally, late summer bloomers are always a treat, so I often give their seeds a go. These 4 from the sunflower family all bloomed June through September, well after all else was finished in my yard. The Elegant Tarweed even carried on into late October.
Tehachapi Tarweed, Holocarpha heermannii
Venus Thistle, Cirsium occidentale var. venustum
Hoary Aster, Dieteria canescens
Elegant Tarweed, Madia elegans
I wonder what will pop up this year?