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Monday, December 9, 2013

Celebrate the end of finals - make Holiday Potpourri with native plant trimmings

   When: Friday, 12/13/13  -  11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
   Where: Near the Biology Dept. Greenhouse  (behind NSM building)
What: Celebrate the end of finals by making potpourri w/ native plant trimmings. 

Easy – fun – creative way to scent your home for the holidays


Price:  FREE – all supplies and instruction provided



Monday, November 25, 2013

Need a Plant to Attract Hummingbirds?

Epilobium canum (California Fuschia) - a good hummingbird plant
We have helpful lists of California native plants appropriate for western L.A. County gardens - including one covering 'hummingbird plants'.  See our new page - Plant Lists: Native Plants for Western L.A. County (on left).   We will also continue to add plant pictures and information sheets to the 'Gallery of Native Plants' page (left).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Planning a New Garden? Re-thinking Your Old Garden?

Planning a new garden can be a daunting task.  There are so many things to think about – and so many good ideas.   It’s hard to know where to begin.   Fortunately, our sister blog, Mother Nature’s Backyard, has something that can help.   Their series ‘Planning Your New California Garden’, which began in July 2013, takes you step by step through the garden design process.   See the first posting at:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's time for Fall Garden Crafts

Fall pruning and Fall garden crafts go hand in hand.  Learn to how to prune and take home some trimmings at our Pruning workshops.  Use your native plant trimming to create lovely hand-dyed yarn and cloth (  Then come to a crafts class to get inspired (see Calendar page at left).


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What's that Silver-White Plant?

Felt-leaf Everlasting (Wright's Cudweed; Pseudognaphalium canescens) provides contrast and habitat
all year long in the Garden of Dreams 

You may have noticed a plant with very white foliage growing in the Garden of Dreams native plant garden.  This is Felt-leaf Everlasting (Wright's Cudweed; Pseudognaphalium canescens) a locally native plant that's not only pretty but is an important habitat plant.   Read more about it at:  

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrate Butterflies in July

Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae incarnata) feeding
 on Purple Sage (Salvia leucophylla)

July is one of our important butterfly months. That's why the annual butterfly surveys are scheduled for this month.   See our Calendar of Native Plant Events for local butterfly activities. Activities range from classes on butterfly gardening, workshops on butterflies, butterfly walks and participation in local butterfly counts.    

Friday, June 14, 2013

Celebrating National Pollinator Week


The 3rd week in June is National Pollinator Week.  Here are a few things you can do to celebrate:

  • Celebrate  National Pollinator Week – check for local events
  • Take a Garden Pollinator Survey – it’s fun and educational

  • Take photos of pollinators in your garden – they’re fascinating!
  • Learn more about a pollinator that interests you
  • Talk to your family, friends and neighbors about the importance of pollinators
questions?  e-mail us at

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Friday, April 26, 2013

Need a quiet place on campus? Try the 'Garden of Dreams' Discovery Garden


The Garden of Dreams is located on the northeast corner of Parking Lot 1 - just east of the Child Development Center. It's just beyond the large hedge of Mule Fat along the sidewalk.   The garden features local native plants and there's something blooming most of the time.  It's quiet and peaceful - a great place to just sit, watch the birds and butterflies and  relax.   There are several places to sit in the garden.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Blooming like wild in Heritage Creek Preserve - Calilfornia Encelia (Encelia californica)

California Bush Sunflower (Encelia californica) blooming in the Heritage Creek Nature Preserve on the Cal State Dominguez Hills campus

The yellow sunflower that's in full bloom right now is California Bush Sunflower, Encelia californica.    This local native shrub is one of our early spring bloomers;  it can flower all the way through spring in some years.   California Encelia is very drought tolerant - the plants at Heritage Creek Preserve (above) are never watered.   They become dormant in summer, then re-leaf each year with the rains.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Like Lupines? You've gotta see Garden of Dreams!

Arroyo Lupine (Lupinus succulentis
 annual lupine native to CSUDH campus
If you like lupines, you've got to see the patch of Arroyo Lupines blooming now in the Garden of Dreams (see 'Map - Native Plants at CSUDH' for directions).  They are just spectacular this year. 
The Chapparal and Golden Currants are looking nice as well.

Chaparral Currant (Ribes malvaceum) is loaded with blooms.  This plant
is a favorite of hummingbirds - and has edible berries

Friday, February 15, 2013

Frost Damage to Your Garden Plants?

Frost damage on white-foliaged Catalina Silverlace (Constancea [Eriophyllum] nevinii).  Note drooping branch-tips
and leaves, as well as gray-brown discoloration.  This picture is about 5 weeks after a frost event.
Nighttime frosts can occur anytime from December to February in western Los Angeles county.  Read the following before pruning  your frost-affected plants:

Friday, February 8, 2013

Soils: the key to healthy native (and other) plants

Soil is truly a garden’s foundation. Plants obtain water and many nutrients from the soil – and interact with soil organisms. Soil conditions may also limit the types of plants you can grow successfully. The more you know about the characteristics of your soil, the better you can match plants and watering methods to your unique soil conditions.

Urban soils – including those in our gardens - are more complex than native soils. In fact, urban soils are among the most difficult to classify – and work with – of any soils world-wide.  Learn more at

Because soil is so important, it pays to take a little time to get to know your soil’s characteristics. Fortunately, there are several easy, inexpensive soil tests that can tell you a lot about your soil.  For more on soil testing:

A visit to the local gardening center can be a confusing experience; there are so many different soil amendment products available! All of them cost money and require time and effort to use. So, what’s a sensible approach to soil amendments and fertilizers?   See:

A soil perc test tells you whether your soil drains quickly, slowly or somewhere in between. Depending on your results, you may decide to select appropriate plants based on their drainage needs. Alternatively, you may choose to alter the drainage of parts of your garden. As always, your gardening choices are unique to your own situation.   For more about working with and improving soil drainage see:

A soil in good condition for growing crops, garden vegetables and other plants is said to have ‘good tilth’. It has the proper soil structure and nutrients to support healthy plant growth. Good farmers and gardeners aspire to have soil with good tilth.  To learn more about soil tilth and the soil ecosystem see: