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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pruning California Native Plants – Don’t Use a Bulldozer

Garden of Dreams Native Plant Garden - CSU Dominguez Hills
Good example of how not to prune native plants

Many California native plants require yearly pruning.   The best timing and methods differ depending on the type of plant.  But a bulldozer is NEVER the right tool for the job.    For more on the proper ways to time and prune native plants see:


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Surviving the Drought

Plenty of summer flowers, seeds and fruits for bird & pollinator habitat:
 Garden of Dreams, CSUDH, in July, 2015 (after 4 years of drought)

The past four years of drought have been tough on gardens and gardeners.  Even water-wise native plants are showing signs of stress.  For some practical ideas on surviving the drought see:

Water-wise native plants from the Channel Islands stand up well to the drought. St. Catherine's Lace (Eriogonum giganteum) and Catalina silverlace (Constancea nevinii) with background of Mulefat (Baccharis salicifolia) and Southern Island mallow (Lavatera assurgentiflora)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Bee Flies – the family Bombyliidae

Bee Fly (Villa lateralis):  a species seen at CSU Dominguez Hills

While most people think of bees when they hear the word ‘pollinator’, in fact a wide range of animals function as pollinators.  To learn more about pollinators in general see:

Among the bee-like insects that serve as pollinators are the Bee Flies.  The Family Bombyliidae is a large family of flies with literally hundreds of genera and thousands of species worldwide. The exact number of species is currently unknown, due to a significant lack of research on this family.  For a good review of the main types of  flies seen in Southern California see:
To learn more about Bee Flies and their role as beneficial insects, see:


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Celebrate National Pollinator Week (June 15-21, 2015)

National Pollinator Week (the 3rd week in June each year) celebrates the importance of pollinators for all life on earth. Eighty percent of food crops, as well as many ornamental plants, require insect pollinators.    Life without living pollinators would be very different, indeed.

Here are some things you can do to celebrate National Pollinator Week:

Learn more about specific S. California pollinators:


Register your garden as part of the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge (MPGC):

Participate in National Pollinator Week activities:


Friday, May 15, 2015

Heritage Creek Running in May!!

Heritage Creek Preserve (CSU Dominguez Hills) - rare May rainstorm (5/14/15)
Heritage Creek (CSU Dominguez Hills) running in May (5/14/15)
We've had two unusual (for us) May rainstorms this year.  May 2015 rainfall total as of 5:00 p.m. 5/14 was 1.05 inches!  It will be interesting to see how the plants react to this late rainfall.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Summer is Approaching

Many summer plants beginning to bloom in the 'Garden of Dreams'

Spring flashed by so fast this year.  Come see the summer flowers now blooming in our native plants gardens on campus.  Watch for birds, butterflies and other pollinators.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring Native Plant Sale - April 10th & 11th

Spring Native Plant Sale


When:     Friday 4/10  - noon to 4:00 p.m.

Saturday 4/11 -   1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Where: Biology Dept. Greenhouse                   (just south of NSM building)

What: CA native plants suitable for home gardens, including rain gardens, vegetated swales and ponds (see below for list)


Prices: $3.00 - $8.00 donations (good deal)

                Proceeds support native plant

propagation/restoration on  campus



For directions to the greenhouse:  


To download a pdf of the list of plants for sale:

New plants added to sale: *Banana yucca (Yucca baccata), *Gambel's oak (Quercus gambellii) and Grapesoda lupine (Lupinus excubitus var. hallii)

Plant List – CSUDH Spring 2015  Plant Sale

CSUDH-Project SOUND Propagation Lab

Common Name
Scientific Name
Notes/More information
1 gallon large shrubs/trees
Coyote bush
Baccharis pilularis
Insect pollinator/butterfly habitat
Mule fat
Baccharis salicifolia
Insect pollinator/butterfly habitat
Ericameria nauseosa
Insect pollinator/butterfly habitat
Saw-tooth goldenbush
Hazardia squarrosa
Butterfly bush; blooms in summer/fall
Southern island mallow
Lavatera assurgentiflora
Lovely hibiscus flowers; edible leaves
Catalina cherry
Prunus ilicifolia
Nice tree/hedge plant; fruits
Blue (Mexican) elderberry
Sambucus nigra cerulea
Pretty tree; fragrant flowers, edible fruits; good for shade
Coast liveoak
Quercus agrifolia
Local native evergreen oak.  Water-wise tree
1 gallon perennials/sub-shrubs
Marsh baccharis
Baccharis douglasii
Insect pollinator/butterfly habitat/yellow flowers
Robust gumplant
Grindelia camporum
Insect pollinator/butterfly habitat/yellow flowers
Coastal gumplant
Grindelia hirsutula
Insect pollinator/butterfly habitat
Heartleaf climbing penstemon
Keckiella cordifolia
Red flowers on shade-loving vine; hummingbird plant!!
Scarlet monkeyflower
Mimulus cardinalis
Succulent monkeyflower with orange-red flowers
Pluchea odorata
Insect pollinator/butterfly habitat
Canaigre dock
Rumex hymenosepalus
Native dye plant; pretty pink flowers
Willow dock
Rumex salicifolius
Pretty  flowers; edible leaves (cooked)
1 gallon herbaceous groundcovers
Achillea millefolia
Attract beneficial insects; medicinal
Wild mint
Mentha arevensis
Good for cooking spice, tea
*Pacific aster
Symphyotrichum (Aster)chilense
Pretty fall asters – purple & yellow
1 gallon grasses/sedges/rushes/cattails– bottom and lower edges of rain garden, etc
Common scouring rush
Equisetum hyemale
Elegant and sculptural; contain
*California fescue
Festuca californica
Elegant bunchgrass from N. CA
Leopold’s rush
Juncus acutus leopoldii
Nice medium-size rush; evergreen with water
Mexican rush
Juncus mexicanus
Good for wet or dry
California rush
Juncus patens
Versatile – wet or fairly dry; part-shade fine
Pointed Rush
Juncus oxymeris
Elegant flowers in summer
Basket Rush
Juncus textilis
Used extensively for basket-making; tall, elegant
*Torrey’s Rush
Juncus torreyi
Robust & fast-growing
Iris-leaf Rush
Juncus xiphioides
Leaves look like a little iris
Small Cattail
Typha angustifolia
Small pots: perennials /biennials
Wavyleaf soap plant
Chlorogalum pomeridianum
Bulb with little orchid-like flowers; roots for soap
Annual sunflower
Helianthus annuus
Local native sunflower; summer bloomer
*Douglas iris
Iris douglasiana
Small plants for you to grow to size – great deal!!
Scarlet monkeyflower
Mimulus cardinalis
Succulent monkeyflower with orange-red flowers
Seep monkeyflower
Mimulus guttatus
Pretty little annual/perennial for moist places
Hooker’s Primrose
Oenothera elata hookeri
Pretty yellow flowers pollinated by large moths
Pluchea odorata
Insect pollinator/butterfly habitat
Small pots: groundcovers
Achillea millefolia
Attract beneficial insects; medicinal
Phyla nodiflora
Herbaceous groundcover; pretty flowers; some water
Wild mint
Mentha arevensis
Good for cooking spice, tea
CA wood mint
Stachys bullata
Pretty link flowers for hummingbirds; medicinal
Blue-eyed Grass
Sisyrinchium bellum
Seeds for birds
*Pacific aster
Symphyotrichum chilense
Pretty purple & yellow flowers summer/fall
Small pots: grasses/sedges/rushes/cattails - bottom and lower edges of rain garden, etc
*Dune sedge
Carex pansa
Evergreen; lawn substitute
Clustered field sedge
Carex praegracilis
Evergreen; bunching-type  sedge; part—shade fine
Iris-leaf Rush
Juncus xiphioides
Leaves look like a little iris
Creeping wildrye
Leymus triticoides
Good for mowed lawn or left un-mowed


* CA native, but not native to South Bay