Archive for August, 2008

Benefit Plant Sale, October 4, 2008

August 27, 2008

Join us at Tree of Life Nursery on Saturday, October 4 from 9 am to 4 pm.  BUY plants and benefit CNPS Orange County Chapter at the same time!  Don’t forget, fall is the best time to plant your native garden.

Volunteers are needed and welcome.  Assist with parking, answer questions for the public, or monitor the bookstore, and receive a “thank-you” gift from Tree of Life!  Contact Diane Wollenberg, Volunteer Coordinator, at 949-929-5669, for further information.

At 9:30 am, during the plant sale, we will be offering a special educational event.  Brad Jenkins will lead a panel discussion entitled “Myths and Solutions of Gardening with Native Plants”.  Are natives all brown in the summer?  Are all natives drought tolerant?  Can native and non-native plants co-exist?  Join us for this one-hour talk to find out, and bring your questions, too!

Tree of Life Nursery is located at 33201 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano.  For directions and further information visit


General Meeting September 18, 2008

August 27, 2008


Native plant gardens offer much more than outdoor decoration and landscape greenery.  Whether featured in a large garden or arranged in decorative pots on the patio, California native plants invite a unique connection for the people who will get close and observe.  The plants may evoke memories of hiking or camping, announce a change in seasons, or simply attract hummingbirds and butterflies into our busy lives. 

In a traditional “ornamental” garden, the viewer is detached, the feeling is artificial.  But in native gardens there is something that makes us curious yet content, something that makes us want to spend time there. In a native plant garden, we can engage and become an integral part, experiencing a special link to our nearby wildlands.  This is especially important for kids who are growing up in an increasingly urbanized environment.

Speaker Mike Evans takes us into the heart of what a California garden should be. Always a popular and inspirational speaker, Mike is the co-owner of Tree of Life Nursery in San Juan Capistrano, which in the last 30 years has become the largest grower of California native plants.

LOCATION and TIME of meeting:
Duck Club, Riparian View Way, Irvine (see for directions)
Doors open at 7:00 pm
Bob Allen “Circumvistas allenii” at 7:15 pm
Main program at 7:30 pm

Holocarpha virgata ssp. elongata

August 13, 2008

Holocarpha virgataHolocarpha virgata ssp. elongata (Bob Allen)

Distinguished by the open-pit glands which you can see in the picture (those dark spots, found at the end of the truncate leaves and on the phyllaries), Holocarpha virgata ssp. elongata, or Graceful Tarplant, was spotted by Dave Bramlet on the Starr Ranch Audubon Sanctuary on July 26th while the Orange County CNPS Board was there for a planning retreat.  Bob Allen took this close-up photo from a specimen gathered on August 10, 2008.

Dave was so excited about this find that he virtually ignored the tarantula the rest of us were watching cross our path!  Those botanists are cray-zee.

A wonderful feature of the plant is the scent.  It is slightly sticky when you touch the flowers and buds, and the fragrance it leaves on your hand is very strong and citrus-like.

Sandy DeSimone of Starr Ranch said that the plant has been previously seen on the ranch but misidentified for years.  It is a CNPS List 4.2 rare plant, a California endemic native to Orange, San Diego and Riverside counties.  In Orange County this species is known only from Starr Ranch, native grasslands at Trabuco Canyon, and coastal bluffs at San Clemente State Beach.  It is also known from the Santa Rosa Plateau.  See CNPS Rare Plant Page for more information.

Nice find, Dave!  And thanks to Dave for help with information for this article.


H. virgata ssp. elongata at Starr Ranch (Laura Camp)

H. virgata ssp. elongata at Starr Ranch (Laura Camp)