A Native Plant with a Split Personality

From my perspective on the Arroyo Mocho bike trail, looking across the arroyo toward the dry brown field cluttered with debris, litter, non-native perennial pepper weed and fennel, I spot a clump of healthy green leaves dotted with dramatic white trumpet-shaped blossoms. I know right away it is jimsonweed (Datura sp.) because hot midsummer days and disturbed ground are its season. It’s a member of the family Solanaceae, which includes potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and petunias … but also tobacco and deadly nightshade! A California native plant with a Jekyll and Hyde personality!

So, is the individual in the above photo a Jekyll or a Hyde? That depends. Mary Ann, our competent plant ID associate, identified it as Datura stramonium. This species is also known as “true Datura” and is actually native to Mexico. But it closely resembles an almost identical species, D. wrightii, which is native to California. Both are widely established in the U.S.

What’s In a Name?
For anyone who is interested, the generic name Datura is taken from the Sanskrit dhatūra, meaning thorn-apple (because of the spiny covering of the fruit). The origin of stramonium is unknown, but the name Stramonia was used in the 17th century for various Datura species.[12]
The name “jimsonweed” is derived from the town of Jamestown, Virginia, where English soldiers consumed the plant while attempting to suppress Bacon’s Rebellion (1675-76). (They spent 11 days in altered mental states, for reasons which will be evident below.)
The species name “wrightii” honors Charles Wright (1811-85), an American botanist and railroad surveyor who collected plants for his colleague Harvard botanist Asa Gray.

The Split Personality of Jimsonweed
Altho Datura is sometimes planted in gardens as an attraction, we do not feature it at the Granada Native Garden. But if you are fortunate to come across it in the wild, examine it with caution. The beauty and symmetry of the blossoms, pure white with margins often tinted lavender, are tempting. They are sweetly scented and usually open in evening in order to attract nocturnal pollinating hawkmoths, or on cloudy days or in the shade.  Soon after the blossoms open, they release a plume of carbon dioxide, which signals when nectar is most abundant, an invitation to the hawkmoths. (Cited by Emily Underwood in “Flora”, the publication of the California Native Plant Society.)  The oval-shaped fruit has a thorny covering.

But the crushed leaves and stems stain your hands yellow and possess an unpleasant smell. More importantly, all parts of the plant are deadly poisonous, and its toxic compounds reportedly can be absorbed thru skin! Extracts from this plant are narcotic, hallucinogenic, and, if ingested, potentially lethal. All parts of the plant contain dangerous levels of the psychoactive alkaloids atropine, hyoscyamine, and scopolamine. The risk of fatal overdose is high among uninformed users, and many hospitalizations occur among recreational users who ingest the plant for its psychoactive effects. The amount of toxins varies widely from plant to plant.

Its Importance to Indigenous Cultures
Nonetheless, Native Americans have valued Datura since before recorded history for its vision-inducing and pain-killing properties. The narcotic properties of species have long been known, and it once figured importantly in religious ceremonies in the Southwest “to establish contact with a supernatural guardian who would provide protection, special skill, and a personal talisman; for clairvoyance, such as contacting the dead, finding lost objects, seeing the future, or seeing the true nature of people; and to cure the effects of injury, evil omens or breaches of taboo, and obtain immunity from danger.” (quotation from Chumash Ethnobotany, by Jan Timbrook). In a Tubatulabal myth, jimson weed was once a man who, when he died, told the people to dig his roots if they were in need of help. (Cited by M. Kat Anderson in Tending the Wild ).

However, as far as we know, indigenous peoples were quite aware that jimson weed was potentially lethal, and used it for religious purposes, and were careful to gauge the correct dosage. I’m not aware of any records of overdoses among them, unlike the current fad to use such substances solely for recreational purposes.

Quote for the Occasion
“Last Christmas somebody gave me a whole Jimson weed – the root must have weighed two pounds; enough for a year – but I ate the whole thing in about twenty minutes. Luckily, I vomited most of it right back up. But even so, I went blind for three days. I couldn’t even walk! My whole body turned to wax. I was such a mess that they had to haul me back to the ranch house in a wheelbarrow. They said I was trying to talk, but I sounded like a raccoon.”
– Hunter S. Thompson, in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream, Part 2, chapter 5, recounted by the character Dr. Gonzo.

Guided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available                                                   Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this Newsletter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address! Directions to the Garden and information about volunteering there can be found by clicking one of the buttons at the top of the first page of this Newsletter.

Index

This Index is to help both new and current Followers of the Granada Native Garden Newsletter become acquainted with the Garden and its Newsletter … and to help current Followers locate informational articles from earlier posts and individual topics.

To use this Index, scroll down to the topic that interests you.  Take note of the month and year when the topic was archived.  Then back up to the current Newsletter post and click on the desired month and year in the Archive list.

To become a Follower, just find the “Follow” button at the lower right corner of the screen and follow the easy instructions.  You will be notified automatically by email whenever a new post is published (usually every one or two months).  Welcome to the Granada Native Garden Newsletter!

If you have questions or comments, please email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .

A:  Individual Plant Topics:  COMMON NAMES
B.  Individual Plant Topics:  SCIENTIFIC NAMES
C.  Plants by Themes
D.  General Topics

A.  INDIVIDUAL PLANT TOPICS:  COMMON NAMES                                   

BuckeyeArchived in April, 2016.  Posted on April 17.                                          Buckwheat:  Archived in June, 2013.  Posted on June 26.
Bush Poppy:  Archived in February, 2015.  Posted on February 3.
California Poppies:  Archived in March, 2013.  Posted on March 15.
California White Oak:  Archived in August, 2014.  Posted on August 29.
Clarkia:  Archived in May, 2014.  Posted on May 4, 2014.
Coyote Brush:  Archived in February, 2014.  Posted on February 7.
Elderberry:  Archived in August, 2013.  Posted on August 23.
Fiddleneck:  Archived in February, 2016.  Posted on February 7.
Flannelbush:  Archived in May, 2019.  Posted on May 31.
Grape:  Archived in December, 2015.  Posted on December 1, 2015.
Gumplant:  Archived in March 2020.  Posted on March 11.
Holly-Leafed Cherry:  Archived in October, 2015.  Posted on October 11, 2015.
Hummingbird Sage – A Different Kind of SageArchived in March 2018.  Posted on March 27.
Jimsonweed:  Archived in July, 2021.  Posted on July 21.
Lupine:  Archived in April, 2013.  Posted on April 29, 2013.
Malva Rose:  Archived in August, 2017.  Posted on August 8,  2017.
Matilia Poppy:Archived in May, 2016.  Posted on May 30, 2016.
Miner’s Lettuce:  Archived in January, 2016.  Posted on January 17, 2016.
Mugwort:  Archived in July, 2015.  Posted on July 2.
Our Lord’s Candle:  Archived in May, 2015.  Posted on May 29.
Purple Needlegrass:  Archived in April, 2015.  Posted on April 30.
Sagebrush:  Archived in July, 2015.  Posted on July 2.
Snowdrop:  Archived in May, 2020.  Posted on May 29.
Soap Lily:  Archived in January, 2019.  Posted on January 12.
Tarweeds:Archived in October, 2017.  Posted on October 15.
Toyon:  Archived in December, 2013.  Posted on December 5.
Valley oak:  Archived in August, 2014.  Posted on August 29.
Woolly Blue Curls:  Archived in October 2020.  Posted on October 13.
Yampah:  Archived in July, 2016.Posted on July 14.
Yarrow:  Archived in March, 2017.  Posted on March 5.           

B.  INDIVIDUAL PLANT TOPICS:  SCIENTIFIC NAMES                                                  Achillea millefolium Archived in March, 2017Posted on March 5.
Aesculus californicaArchived in April, 2016.  Posted on April 17.
Amsinckia menziesii:  Archived in February, 2016.  Posted on February 7.
Artemesia spp.:  Archived in July, 2015.  Posted on July 2.
Baccharis pilularisArchived in February, 2014.  Posted on February 7.
Chlorogalum pomeridianum:  Archived in January, 2019.  Posted on January 12.
Clarkia spp.:  Archived in May, 2014.  Posted on May 4.
Claytonia perfoliataArchived in January, 2016.  Posted on January 17, 2016.
Datura stramonium:  Archived in July 2021.  Posted on July 21.
Dendromecon:  Archived in February, 2015.  Posted on February 3.
Eriogonum spp.:  Archived in June, 2013.  Posted on June 26.
Eschscholzia californica:  Archived in March, 2013.  Posted on March 15.
Fremontodendron:  Archived in May, 2019.  Posted on May 31.
Hesperoyucca whipplei:  Archived in May, 2015.  Posted on May 29.
Heteromeles arbutifolia:  Archived in December, 2013.  Posted on December 5.
Holocarpha virgata:  Archived in October, 2017.  Posted on October 15.
Grindelia camporum:  Archived in March 2020.  Posted on March 11.
Lupinus spp.:  Archived in April, 2013.  Posted on April 29.
Malva assurgentiflora:  Archived in August, 2017.  Posted on August 8.
Quercus lobata:  Archived in August, 2014.  Posted on August 29.
Perideridia kellogii:  Archived in July, 2016.Posted on July 14, 2016.
Prunus ilicifolia:  Archived in October, 2015.  Posted on October 11.
Romneya coulteri:Archived in May, 2016.  Posted on May 30, 2016.
Salvia spathacea:Archived in March, 2018.  Posted on March 27.
Sambucus mexicana:  Archived in August, 2013.  Posted on August 23.
Stipa (Nassella) pulchra:  Archived in April, 2015.  Posted on April 30.
Styrax redivivus:  Archived in May, 2020.  Posted on May 29.
Trichostema lanatum:  Archived in October 2020.  Posted on October 13.
Vitis californica:  Archived in December, 2015.  Posted on December 1, 2

C.  PLANTS BY THEMES
About “Fire Followers”:  Archived in July, 2014.  Posted on July 10.
Current Attractions – Earth Day, 2014Archived in April, 2014. Posted on April 27.
Is There Life after Poppies?:  Archived in May, 2013.  Posted on May 27.
Late Summer Color at the GNGArchived in September, 2018.  Posted on September 13.
Planting for PollinatorsArchived in November, 2013.  Posted on November 10.
Precocious Poppies & Other Signs of Spring:  Archived in February, 2014.  Posted on February 26.
The Colors of Spring (April, 2014)Archived in April, 2014.  Posted on April 6.
The Return of the WildflowersArchived in March, 2015.  Posted on March 19.
Two Surprise Appearances!Archived in March, 2015.  Posted on March 31.

D.  GENERAL TOPICS
Welcome to the Granada Native Garden
Archived in February, 2013.
  Posted on February 18
Overview of the Granada Native Garden
Archived in February, 2013.  Posted on February 24.
A Short History of the Granada Native Garden
Archived in May, 2013.  Posted on May 8.
Honoring Louann
Archived in July 2019.  Posted on July 28.
Plant Communities of the Granada Native Garden
Archived in April, 2013.  Posted on April 1.
Water Management at the Granada Native Garden
Archived in January, 2015.  Posted on January 3.
Why Should We Plant Natives?
Archived in November, 2014.  Posted on November 11.
Why Do People NOT Grow Native Plants? – Part 1
Archived in July, 2013.  Posted on July 18.
Why Do People NOT Grow Native Plants? – Part 2
Archived in July, 2013.  Posted on July 24.
Planting for Pollinators  
Archived in November, 2013. Posted on November 10.
Fire! … at the Granada Native Garden
Archived in June, 2014.  Posted on June 10.
Current Attractions – Earth Day, 2014

Archived in April, 2014.  Posted on April 27.
Is There Life after Poppies?
Archived in May, 2013.  Posted on May 27.
Precocious Poppies & Other Signs of Spring (Feb-Mar, 2014)
Archived in February, 2014.  Posted on February 26.
The Colors of Spring (April, 2014)
Archived in April, 2014.  Posted on April 6.
Return of the Wildflowers
Archived in March, 2015.  Posted on March 19.
Two Surprise Appearances!
Archived in March, 2015.  Posted on March 31.
The Arroyo Mocho at the Granada Native Garden
Archived in August, 2015.  Posted on August 25.
What’s Blooming? – March, 2016                                                                                  
Archived in March, 2016.  Posted on March 8.
In Defense of “Bugs”
Archived in September, 2016.  Posted on September 10.
Nature Therapy at the Granada Native Garden
Archived in March, 2018.  Posted on March 25.
Volunteering at the Granada Native Garden                                                            
Archived in September, 2018.  Posted on September14.

ALN Credit

The “Ugly Duckling” of the Native Plant Family

I was on a completely unrelated mission when I spotted an unfamiliar plant with tiny lavender blossoms growing in totally dry gravelly soil alongside a busy road. Close inspection revealed that its dull gray foliage had a powerful aroma, which reminded me of turpentine or paint thinner. A photo of it enabled Ranger Amy at Sycamore Grove Park to identify it as vinegar weed, a California native, Trichostema lanceolatum.

Trichostema lanceolatum

A member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), it has been called stink weed, vinegar weed, turpentine weed and camphor weed, and more appealingly as blue-curls, romero, yerba del aigre and wild rosemary. (My impression of the aroma of the foliage was more like that of turpentine than of vinegar.) But like the ugly duckling in the fable by Hans Christian Anderson, vinegar weed turns out to be an impressively useful and interesting member of the native plant family!

Trichostema lanatum

In contrast, vinegar weed (Trichostema lanceolatum) has a more comely relative with a similar name: woolly blue curls, Trichostema lanatum. The former stays close to the ground, about 1-3 feet tall, and has slender, dull gray-green leaves which help it reflect the summer sun, and smell like turpentine (my opinion). It blooms from August to October. Its leaves are dotted with glands that produce the strong odor.

The latter grows between 3-4 feet tall, and has slender leaves of a rich green color; it has deep blue blossoms from March to June. Bert Wilson likened the aroma of the foliage to “freshly cut cedar with a bouquet of lavender”, and reminds Annie of Alden Lane Nursery of lemon verbena. The blossoms of both species are covered with tiny, fine “woolly” hairs, which can be seen in the blossom photo below if you look closely. Both species have long arched stamens that make its pollen readily available to visiting bees.

What Makes Vinegar Weed Special?

While vinegar weed doesn’t have the good looks of its relative, the indigenous peoples of California nevertheless valued it highly for reasons related to medicine, pest deterrence, and fishing success. The medicinal values of vinegar weed were valued by the Salinan, Ohlone, Miwok and many other tribes. A tea made from the strongly aromatic leaves and flowers was used to ease colds, stomachaches, headaches, sore throats, smallpox, fever and chills resulting from malaria, and bladder problems. Sitting over a steaming decoction of the leaves treated uterine trouble. The ground leaves were rubbed on the face and chest of persons with colds or any place on the skin that was experiencing pain. The leaves were chewed to ease a toothache.

The leaves and stems were crushed and placed in bedding to repel fleas. The mashed or powdered plants were thrown into pools of water to make fish sluggish and easy to catch in nets or sieves made of willow.

A Newsletter Extra: The Effect of Smoke and Ash on Plants

(The following is adapted from an essay by Dr. Lewis Feldman, Garden Director, University of the California Botanical Garden at Berkeley, October 1, 2020.)

Many native plant gardeners have reported unusual or unexpected things that have been going on with our native plants this Summer and Fall. The reduced sunlight from the smoke resulting from the multiple fires in central California this August and early September, as well as the lowering water table over the past few years, seems to have made some of the plants at the Granada Native Garden think that Fall had arrived early. Some of them started losing their leaves weeks prematurely, like the valley oak and desert olive in these photos below, taken the first week of September. (Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

The effect of the smoke seems to be even more critical. Leaves have small openings on the surfaces of their leaves. These openings, called stomates (stomata) allow carbon dioxide (needed for photosynthesis) to enter the plant, and oxygen (a product of photosynthesis, along with glucose) to exit to the atmosphere.

But smoky air contains much more than carbon dioxide and oxygen. “More than 100 different compounds have been identified in smoke, including toxic levels of nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone. Short-term exposure to smoke (as little as 20 minutes) has been reported to reduce photosynthesis by as much as 50%, as a result of both the destruction of chlorophyll and in impeding the movement of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the plant.

“A reduction is photosynthesis is usually accompanied by a lessening in plant growth, including a reduction in fruit production and in slowed ripening. Ash particles in the smoke are also detrimental to plant growth by clogging the stomates. When ash lodges in a pore, not only is the intake of CO2 retarded, but the pore can no longer function efficiently in preventing water loss from the plant, which, as a consequence increases the likelihood of the plant suffering from water stress.”

Valley oak & fallen leaves (9-7-20)
Desert olive (9-5-20)

Quotable Quote

“The native plant movement is an important one, but we won’t be attracting many people if we are not able to meet their expectations. People are not going to choose to landscape with native plants unless their needs get met. Cultivars and selections are made in order to meet some of those needs. If those needs are not met with native plants, people are going to choose exotic species which do meet them.” – Pete Veilleux, East Bay Wilds, Oakland, CA

Guided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available                                                   Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this Newsletter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address! Directions to the Garden and information about volunteering there can be found by clicking one of the buttons at the top of the first page of this Newsletter.

Grindelia, Just a Weed, or Not? – Your Choice!

Gumplant (Grindelia camporum), also variously known as gumweed, field gumweed, bracted gumweed, common gumplant, Great Valley gumplant, rosin weed, scaly gumweed and, simply, big California gumplant, doesn’t sound much like a native California plant that most homeowners might choose to accentuate their yards. Furthermore, its favorite habitat is disturbed and altered areas such along ditches and roadsides, “in arroyos and washes and along wetlands and places that get a little extra winter water”. But don’t let the “weed” part of the name cause you to overlook its attractive features, and maybe find the perfect place for it in your garden.

But a weed is just something that grows where you want something else to grow. To its credit, G. cam-porum has bright yellow flower heads of medium size (about inches across) and blooms from April to October when many other California natives are dormant. It is a drought-deciduous, herbaceous perennial, easy to grow, requiring little care and not much water; a little extra water during the hot season may encourage the lengthy blossoming time.  Typical of members of the sunflower family, the blossoms are made up of two types of flowers: about 25 ray flowers (the ‘petals’) surround a compact center of disk flowers.  Cut it to the ground in the fall or winter, and it will grow back again with the winter rains. It spreads both by seed and rhizomes. 

Gumplant reproducing from rhizomes.

But gumplant differs from other sunflowers in two unusual ways. The more peculiar characteristic is a gummy white substance produced by the immature flowers. With some imagination, you can pop one of these blossoms into your mouth and enjoy a native plant version of chewing gum, altho the experience lasts for only about 15 seconds. The “gum” disappears as the flowers mature. It is likely that the substance serves to protect the immature flowers from disease and/or predators. In fact, the plant does have a number of medicinal qualities that are of use to humans; more about that later.

Secondly, members of the sunflower family have small leaf-like structures, called phyllaries, arranged in a whorl immediately underneath the flower head. They offer some protection to the developing flowers. In the gumplant, the phyllaries are unusually large and form a ‘cup’ below the flower head (see the arrow).

Other Gumplants                                                                     G. camporum is a fast-growing, especially drought tolerant species that grows 1-3 feet tall, or up to 4 feet with water.  Other native varieties include G. hirsutula (hairy gumplant) which is more delicate than G. camporum and grows to 2 feet tall. G. stricta var. platyphylla (coat gumplant) grows only 1-2 feet tall and makes a useful ground cover. G. stricta var angustifolia (marsh gumplant), on the other hand, reaches 3-5 feet tall and wide and is very important in restoration work. (Another variety that sometimes appears in plant sales is G. squarrosa (curlycup gumplant) is not a California native but has been naturalized in the wild; it has peculiar phyllaries that turn downward, rather than upward.)

Grindelia squarrosa

The gumplants are good all-round insect plants, which is one good reason to plant them. They attract a wide range of pollinators, including native bees, honeybees, flies, wasps and butterflies. They produce abundant small seeds which are distributed by the wind and appreciated by hungry birds.

 

 

 

 

 

Seed head with ripe seeds

 

The Medicinal History of the Grindelias                                                                                              The genus name honors David Hieronymus Grindel (1776-1836) who was a Russian botanist, chemist and pharmacist.                                        The grindelias have medicinal effects that have long been recognized by numerous indigenous peoples. The Native American remedies were so effective that many were adopted by early physicians of Western medicine in California. The plant produces a number of phytochemicals, including grindelane, terpenoids and saponins. The Chumash and Ohlone boiled the leaves and flower heads into a tincture or a tea for treating poison oak rash, dermatitis, wounds, burns, boils and sores. The Cahuilla used them to cure colds, and Hispanic people for colds, rheumatism, kidney disorders, paralysis and stomach disorders. A poultice made from the flowers or foliage has been used to treat skin rashes, minor burns, eczema, dermatitis and other minor skin conditions, and might act by numbing the nerve endings. Extracts of the plant appear to slow heart rate, decrease respiratory mucous production and inflam-mation, as well as having possible antibiotic action.                                                                 Tinctures, syrups and teas are available online, but the U.S. FDA has not yet formally tested these products for safety and efficacy. Future research may support a role for them in the treatment of asthma and other conditions.  But for now, they should not be used at all by patients who are pregnant or breast-feeding, or have kidney disease, hypertension or heart conditions without first consulting a doctor. They might also contain high levels of selenium which is toxic when ingested in large amounts.

 

 

 

 

 

Other Contemporary Uses of Grindelia                                              The gummy residue produced by the foliage can be used in a variety of industrial applications, such as soil amendments, rubber production, animal feed supplements, paper sizing, fermentation products, synthetic fuels, paints, varnishes, lacquers and adhesives. It is virtually identical to the wood rosin found in pine and other woods but is easier to extract and demands less water in its manufacture.

Quotes du jour                                                                                                                            To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature.                                                          – Auguste Rodin, sculptor (12 Nov 1840-1917)

         Garden as if life depended on it.                                                                                                                                                                     – Douglas Tallamy

Check out the native plant selection at ALDEN LANE NURSERY, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, CA 94550

Plants in 4-inch potsPlants in 4-inch pots

1-gal and larger plants1-gal and larger plants

For reliable certified arborist services, contact STUMPY’S TREE SERVICE, (925)518-1442, http://www.stumpystrees.com .

Stumpy'sGuided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available!                                                     Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this News- letter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address!

Honoring Louann Tung

          The Granada Native Garden exists today mainly because of the imagination, vision, energy and determination of one person, back in 2003-2004.  That person was Louann Tung.  Louann had the charisma to inspire dozens of volunteers who wanted to help create the Garden, with donations of plants, funds and materials, and especially with hours of hard physical labor reclaiming a dry, desolate, barren field into a lush acreage of plants.           These are the same plants that the early settlers found growing in the California paradise when they began arriving 400-500 years ago, but which had nourished the Native Americans with food, medicine, shelter and tools for centuries before.  The Granada Native Garden exists today as Louann’s legacy to the people of Livermore and its neigh- boring communities, and to all who are fortunate to discover this unique gift.                                Sadly, Louann is no longer with us.  She succumbed on July 21 after a lengthy struggle with cancer.  Her brother Wilson left us this summary of her life:

“Louann Schwager Tung spent her entire life learning, helping, advocating, and seeking while appreciating all of Gods creation.  Born in Springfield, Illinois on June 25, 1955, she was raised by nurturing parents Mary and Wilson Schwager in Granite City, Illinois.  Louann learned to love nature at the family cabin along the Illinois river and through the gentle guidance of her namesake Aunt Ann.  She achieved a bachelors and a masters degree from the University of Illinois-Champaign-Urbana and moved to the Bay Area. There she earned her doctorate in Nuclear Engineering at Cal-Berkeley.  Louann spent 40 wonderful years enjoying the many splendors of California.  She raised a son, Marcus to whom she was totally devoted.                                                                                                      “Louann’s professional life was as an engineer at Lawrence Livermore Lab focusing on nuclear fusion as a power source and later on Magnetic Levitation Systems.  Louann worked on many environmental issues and was the driving force behind the creation of the Granada Native Gardens in Livermore.  She obtained funding, assembled volunteers and put in countless hours to help make it happen.  Louann was also heavily involved in the Friends of the Arroyos and in the fight over the proposed Garaventa Ranch development. Louann traveled several times to India as a devotee of Paramahamsa Nithyananda and it is in her faith that she found peace both in life and in death.                                                              “Louann is survived by her son Marcus, her birth mother Lou Ann Grady, her brother Wilson Schwager II and many friends and relatives that showed their great love for her during her life and in her final months.  The family wishes to express deep gratitude to all those people who lent Louann emotional, financial and spiritual support during trying times.  Special thanks to Bianca, Kodandi, Najjiyya and others in her spiritual community that were there for Louann in so many instances.  In memory of Louann, we suggest that you support the earth for the sake of those who will follow us and each day to truly appreciate the time that God has granted you.”

The Birth of the GNG — A Brief History                                                                            Louann had often passed by this empty field on her bicycle along the Arroyo Mocho across from Granada High School.  At the time, there was a concrete walkway across the arroyo, and no fence separating the two properties, allowing students to come and go to the campus from the vicinity of Murrieta Blvd.  She noticed how the area was trashed because students often went off campus to eat their lunch and had no place to throw their garbage as they walked back to school.  (Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.)

December 2002

April 2005

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motivated by the movement to return steelhead trout to the arroyos, and by a request from the S. F. Bay Regional Water Quality Board for proposals for watershed improvements, Louann envisioned a place where students could comfortably eat their lunch and hang out, but also planted with native California plants that required a minimum of water.  Thus plans for such a garden were born.  Louann enlisted the help of Alrie Middlebrook of the Middlebrook Gardens Nursery in San Jose, local landscape designer Kat Weiss, mosaic artist Christina Yaconelli, a local Eagle Scout troop and numerous others to plan and establish the Garden, including a set of tables highlighted with mosaic designs of endangered species, the steelhead trout, the red-legged frog and the burrowing owl.

Louann driving the bobcat!

Volunteers hard at work!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over the subsequent years, additional plants were added to fill in the spaces, and hours of work are spent pulling out the non-native weeds which relentlessly continue to invade the Garden.  But the concrete walkway was eventually removed, and a tall steel fence was installed between the high school and the arroyo for security reasons.  Thus, the Garden is no longer directly accessible for students to and from the school.  But, with on-going maintenance, Louann’s Garden is a remarkable transformation that allows citizens and homeowners to learn about different native plants that can be used to beautify their homes, yards, parks and neighborhoods.  Informative markers have been added to remind us how the plants were useful to the Native Americans.  The Garden occasionally serves as an outdoor classroom for Granada High School environmental classes.  And the Garden is an oasis of natural beauty and tranquillity in the midst of the busy city, where visitors can clear their minds and appreciate the sounds, smells, shapes, colors and patterns of nature that have the ability to restore a healthy sense of balance in our distracted minds.

Quote du jour                                                                                                                     “A man has made at least a start on discovering the meaning of human life when he plants shade trees under which he knows full well he will never sit.”
            – D. Elton Trueblood, author and theologian, former chaplain to Stanford University

Guided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available                                                   Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this Newsletter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address!                                                                                                     Directions to the Garden and information about volunteering there can be found by clicking one of the buttons at the top of the first page of this Newsletter.

 

Flannelbush – Look But Don’t Touch!

Flannelbush – Look But Don’t Touch!                                                                               Commuters or citizens traveling southward along Murrieta Drive in Livermore at this time of the year can hardly avoid noticing the parade of flannel bushes (Fremontodendron sp.) that line the west side of the boulevard along the eastern border of the Granada Native Garden.  They announce the arrival of spring at the Granada Native Garden, and beckon the curious to take a closer look at these native California wonders!                                       Indeed, the flannel bushes are among the California native plants most commonly inquired about by visitors to the GNG.  But before you are tempted to fall in love with these beauties, read on!                

          Major General John C. Fremont (1813-1890) was an American soldier, explorer, politician and controversial but unsuccessful candidate for the presidency.  A former governor of Arizona, he is well known for historical discoveries and expeditions throughout California.   Less known is that he also had a life-long interest in science and botany, which led to his name being given to the genus to which flannelbush is assigned.

John Fremont — A Prickly Personality?                                                                                    Fremont’s personality has been described by his biographers as “controversial, impetuous, and contradictory” – a military hero of significant accomplishment, but marred by an ambitious drive for success, self-justification, and passive-aggressive behavior.  One biographer believed that Frémont lived a dramatic lifestyle, one of remarkable successes, and one of dismal failures. One might also describe it as “prickly”, which is defined as “covered with sharp spines”, because this also happens to describe his namesake, the flannelbush.                                                                                                                                   A flannelbush “in full bloom is unforgettable”.  Personally, I find flannel to be soft, warm and comforting, like my winter pajamas!  But brush up against flannelbush and you will soon find yourself itching and scratching.                                                                                  The underside of the flannelbush foliage, as well as other parts of the plant, is densely covered with fine hairs that superficially resemble flannel, as shown in this photo of a petiole by Debbi Brusco.  But a microscopic view of these hairs, as in the photo by Sherwin Carlquist, reveals that the hairs have stiff, stellate (star-shaped) tips that point in all directions.  These hairs easily become embedded in the skin and cause the itching and scratching — so much so that, if you need to work among flannelbush, it is recommended that you save this task for the last, so that you can go home and change your clothes and take a shower!

Stellate hairs photo by Sherwin Carlquist

Petiole photo by Debbi Brusco

Consistent with General Fremont’s alleged difficult personality is flannelbush’s love-hate relationship with water.  It has large, showy and abundant flowers, but it tends to be short-lived and hard to successfully cultivate.  The roots are shallow but wide-spreading, and if they happen to encounter a regularly-watered area, the plant may succumb to root rot.  It is recommended that, once you plant it, water it once, then leave it alone and let seasonal winter rains nourish it.  Water anywhere near the base of the plant risks root rot, and even indirect watering a few feet of the trunk in the summer will kill it.  On the other hand, the tips of the longest roots need to find a water source, albeit sparse.

Flannelbush with two Ceanothus

More Than Just a Pretty Face                                                                                                   The Native Americans of California found many uses for flannelbush.  The branches were used to make harpoons, spears and lancets.  Sierra Nevada tribes burned them to induce longer branches which were used as cordage, string, rope and straps to tie branches and twigs together, to make snares, nets, storage bins for acorns and manzanita berries, cooking tongs and even baby cradles!   Medicinally, the inner bark sap was used for mucous membrane irritation and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Quote du Jour                                                                                                                             “Losing some plants is part of the experience of gardening, and the good experiences far outweigh the few bad ones.  Gardening requires patience, reverence, and staying positive.”                                                                                                                                                                               – Agi Kehoe, native plant landscaper, San Jose

Check out the native plant selection at ALDEN LANE NURSERY, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, CA 94550

Plants in 4-inch pots

1-gal and larger plants

 

For reliable certified arborist services, contact STUMPY’S TREE SERVICE, (925) 518-1442, http://www.stumpystrees.com .

Stumpy'sGuided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available!                                                     Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this News- letter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address!

 

Soap Lily – A Harbinger of Spring

“In the bleak midwinter, icy wind made moan,                                                              

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.                                                                 Snow on snow had fallen, snow on snow on snow,                                                           In the bleak midwinter, long, long ago.”                                                                                          Song “In the Bleak Midwinter” by Gustav Holst, 1906

Granada Native Garden, December, 2018 — Cold, but not bleak

I began writing this on the first day of winter, 2018, while listening to James Taylor’s interpretation of Gustav Holst’s reminiscence about winter, one of my favorites.  In front of me were photos of the Granada Native Garden at this same time of the year.  Obviously, a frigid, blustery winter in England was a different experience for Holst than it is for residents of California.                                                                                                                                  By contrast, the first day of winter in our California is the time to anticipate the renewal of nature, not the death of summer.  By this time, lots of California native plants have gone to sleep for the winter, and the dominant color is brown.  But one of the pleasures of spending time at the Granada Native Garden at this time of the year is to look for signs of spring!                                                                                                                         Here are some of the harbingers of spring that you might see poking above the ground at this time of the year, if you stroll round the Garden and look for them.

Soap Lily – Unassuming But Indispensible!                                                                              It is customary, at this time of the year, to reflect on the lives of people who have made remarkable contributions to our lives, but have not received proportionate acknowledgement. Maybe soap lily can join this noble club!  (Most photos can be enlarged for better viewing by clicking on them.)                                                                            The unassuming soap lily (Chlorogalum pomeridianum), or soap root (or amole in Spanish), starts out life shortly after the first winter rains have awakened it, as a bright green rosette of strap-like leaves hovering just a few inches above the ground.  It is easy to spot if everything else around it is seasonably brown.  The genus name comes from two Greek words, chloros (green) and gala (milk), referring to the plant’s greenish sap.  It is indispensible because most of the Native American tribes in California have found numerous uses for it.  The leaves are edible, and the young leaves were eaten as greens. The Sierra Miwok even used the leaves to make dolls. But the underground bulb was arguably the most useful part of the plant.  It contains saponins, chemicals in the glycoside family which are present in numerous foods that we routinely consume, notably beans and legumes, but the saponin content of soap lily is remarkably high.  Saponins are toxic but are poorly absorbed by our bodies and are destroyed by cooking.  Bert Wilson said that the bulbs taste like “a soapy onion”, but they become edible and sweet after they have been caramelized by roasting for a lengthy period.  In spite of this, they were a significant food for many tribes, and are wholesome and nutritious when thoroughly cooked.

Freshly harvested bulb

But saponins make soap lily useful in other unexpected ways.  It is with good reason also called “soap root” because the bulb creates suds when it is crushed and mixed with water, then used for washing clothing (the English word ‘saponify’ means ‘to convert into a soap’).  It was especially valued for shampooing hair and to treat dandruff and prevent lice.  A paste made by pounding the bulbs was used to cure animal hides.  The juice containing the toxic saponins was stirred into freshwater streams to stupify fish, which could then be scooped out of the water.  (The saponins apparently interfere with the fish’s gills ability to take up oxygen, but the effect is not long lasting, and the Indians had to work quickly before the fish revived! )

Brush made from the fibers

Roasting the bulbs thickens the juice to create a glue.  The glue was usable to attach feathers to arrow shafts and to seal baskets. The juice reportedly also had medicinal qualities as a pain reliever, antiseptic, laxative and diuretic, and to counteract the effects of poison oak.

When freshly dug out of the ground, the bulb is thickly covered with tough, fibrous hairs. The Native Americans didn’t let these go to waste either.  The fibers were gathered into bundles to form handles for brushes that could be used, like our whisk brooms, to clean cooking tools and surfaces, but also for brushing their hair (but the same brushes weren’t used for both purposes!). The glue mentioned above was used to form the handle of the brush.  The fibers were also used to stuff mattresses – a mattress owned by one person was found, after his death, to contain 50 lbs of the fibers.

Ramona Garibay, an East Bay Ohlone, harvesting a bulb

The Soap Lily Flower – a Late Bloomer                                                                                    In late spring or early summer, a long, slender, branching flowering stalk, about 2-4 feet long, arises from the rosette of leaves.  At the tip, dainty blue-veined white flowers appear but, unlike most blossoms, they don’t open until late in the day, and they close up shortly after sunrise.  This characteristic explains the species name, pomeridianum, from the Latin postmeridianus, meaning “after mid-day”.  It accommodates moths and insect pollinators that are active in the evening and night, primarily large native carpenter bees and bumblebees.  (Most photos can be enlarged for better viewing by clicking on them.)

Flower stalk before blossoming

Blossoms!

Bumblebee on blossom

Carpenter bee on blossom (Photo courtesy of Gary Nicolson)

Sustainability – A Wise and Necessary  Strategy                                                                                                                                       Obviously, the demand for soap lily/soap root for food, fiber, soap, glue, medicine, tools and even catching fish, was considerably high.  With such a great need for the plant, it was necessary for the indigenous peoples to adopt practices that would guarantee the success of future crops.                                                                                                                When the flowers mature by late summer, they release dozens of seeds which may give rise to a sizable colony.  Only the largest individuals, bearing the largest accumulation of the valuable fiber were harvested, leaving the younger individuals to expand the colony. Alternatively, a digging stick could be used to break the crown off the bottom of the bulb, then the bulb would be replanted elsewhere to grow into a new plant in a few years.  Seeds could be shaken into the hole to start the new colony.

Thanks to M. Kat Anderson, in “Tending the Wild”

During the late summer, when only the dry remains of the rosette are visible on the ground, soap root areas might be burned annually to open up the area to sunlight, release nutrients into the soil, and keep vegetation from encroaching into the collection areas.

Other Early Harbingers of Spring                                                                                              A relaxing, alert and meditative walk around the GNG in January will reveal many other early signs of spring and, if necessary, elevate your spirits on a cold winter day And try to find some of them!  (Most photos can be enlarged for better viewing by clicking on them.)

Arroyo lupine (Lupinus succulentus)

Miner’s lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata)

California poppy (Eschscholzia californica)

Blue-eyed grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)

Malva rose (Malva assurgentiflora)

Bee plant (figwort, Scrophularia californica)

Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum)

California melic (Melica californica)

Quotes du Jour                                                                                                                             “It is a pleasure to watch these subtle seasonal changes happen through your plants and, rather than discount plants that become more modest in our Indian summers, we should see this as what makes them uniquely Californian and a reason to love them, and plant them, all the more.”                                                                                                               – Ildiko Polony, former Mission Blue Nursery Manager, writing about soaproot

            “One charm of the wild garden is that the very changes of plants from what may be thought their most perfect state of blossom, may be itself a new pleasure instead of a warning that we must cut them down or replace them.”                                                                    – William Robinson, English botanist and horticulturalist, in The Wild Garden, 1870

A Special Extra Feature!                               Kirpa was our first volunteer at the Granada Native Garden back in 2010 as a high school senior.  While continuing to be dedicated to the GNG and giving Jim valuable feedback, recently Kirpa found her true love, Navreet, and the two of them were married on Thanksgiving day in a traditional Sikh wedding!  Kirpa plans to continue her dedication to hydrology and water politics, while Navreet will pursue his future in medicine.  May our two friends thrive, along with the GNG!

Check out the native plant selection at ALDEN LANE NURSERY, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, CA 94550

Plants in 4-inch potsPlants in 4-inch pots

1-gal and larger plants1-gal and larger plants

For reliable certified arborist services, contact STUMPY’S TREE SERVICE, (925)518-1442, http://www.stumpystrees.com .

Stumpy'sGuided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available!                                                     Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this News- letter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address!

Volunteering at the Granada Native Garden

The Granada Native Garden is the result of a vision and a lot of hard work by unpaid volunteers.

October, 2003

May, 2018

 

These are workers whose compensation is the satisfaction of doing something worthwhile that otherwise would not get done — building something that adds beauty and worth to our community, restoring some of the natural habitat for native bees, birds and other pollinators that so-called “progress” has destroyed, and opening a window into the way of life of the Native Americans who thrived and tended the wild sustainably in the Livermore community hundreds of years before its present inhabitants displaced them.  (The photos above were taken from the same viewing angle.  Click on them to enlarge them.)

The staff at the GNG would welcome you to join usThere are several ways that you can do that. They are described below.  Find one that fits your interests and skills.  Then let the staff know that you are available to help build, maintain and improve this remarkable venue, by emailing Jim at  jimatgng@gmail.com,  or by chatting with him or one of the staff you find working at the GNG.

Mary Ann

Be a “Regular” Worker Bee
Maybe you can spare and hour or two once a week, or every other week, or maybe only once a month. There is always work to do — pulling weeds, trimming or pruning the native plants, keeping the pathways clear, watering plants that have not yet become established or need an occasional drink to make it thru the hot summer.  If Jim knows that he can expect you, he will be able to direct you to whatever currently needs to be done at the Garden.

Dean

Be an “Occasional” Worker Bee
Occasionally (that is, a couple of times a year, usually in the winter or spring) Jim will send out by email a general request for helpers to attack some seasonal task — usually involving weed control.  Just ask Jim to add you to the “Occasional Workday” list and check your email regularly. Occasional Workdays are usually on Saturdays or Sundays.

 

Dave

Be a “Specialist”                             You might be interested in overseeing a particular section of the GNG (chaparral, woodland, riparian, grassland), or a particular plant family (lilacs, sages, buckwheats, grasses, wildflowers, native roses, etc.).  Discuss your special interest with Jim and work out a plan that fits your interest and the needs of the GNG.

 

Kirpa

Be an “Irregular” Worker Bee
Maybe sometimes you just feel like getting some exercise, sun and fresh air and nature therapy at the GNG, and you wonder if Jim needs some help. The best thing to do is to email Jim a day or two ahead of time, so that he can tell you if he will be on duty at the GNG on that day, and maybe let you know how you can best serve the GNG that day.

 

 

Be a “Garden Manager”
There are numerous tasks well suited to a person who enjoys management, which is definitely not Jim’s strong point!  To begin with, there are a number of projects that would improve the GNG for the Livermore community.  These include signage indicating the location of the GNG, construction of an on-site parking space, modification of the curb to provide a suitable entrance for automobiles, and a host of related safety issues.  This would involve working with the school district (LVJUSD, the owner of the property), the City and law enforcement.
Also, a GNG manager might help to develop educational programs at the Garden, apply for grants to get special projects done, inviting the Eagle Scouts for other projects, organizing and supervising Occasional Workdays, and other tasks beyond basic maintenance of the GNG.
If you have management ability, you are sorely needed at GNG!

Meenakshi & Malvika

Follow Our Newsletter!                                                                                                    If you haven’t discovered this already,, the GNG staff publishes an occasional Newsletter that tells about some of the plants at the Garden, or discusses an important related issue.  To access the Newsletter, just google “Granada Native Garden Newsletter”.  You can become a regular subscriber to the Newsletter, just click the FOLLOW button at the lower right corner of the screen and type in your contact information; you will be notified whenever a new article appears.  And feel free to contact Jim at  jimatgng@gmail.com       if you have an inquiry!

Quote du Jour:                                                                                                                            “The white man sure ruined this country.  It’s turned back to wilderness.”                                                                                         – James Rust, a Southern Sierra Miwok elder

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Late Summer Color at the GNG

California native plants get most of their attention in the spring, when the wildflowers are in bloom and many other plants are revealing their new growth.  Not so much in the late summer and the fall, when dormancy is setting in and brown is the dominant color theme.  But … Brown is a color too!  Besides, brown exists in numerous interesting shades and hues.                                                                                                                                             And as one elderly visitor to the Granada Native Garden wisely once pointed out, “You see all kinds of things, if you just stop and look!”                                                                    Today’s tour of the GNG will feature many of the late summer colors that you can find if you casually stroll thru the Garden and look around.  Another benefit of taking your time to appreciate the nature present here is to become aware of the ways in which native plants were used by the Native Americans.  Many of the placards used to identify individual plants mention these uses.                                                                                                    But brown is a color too … and no native plants exhibit that better than the buckwheats.  Depending on the species, they start out snowy white, and progress in the fall to pink and then to cinnamon and copper.  What a show, if you just take time to look!

New buckwheat blossoms

Mature buckwheat blossoms

Santa Cruz Island buckwheat

                       Most photos can be enlarged just by clicking on them.

           Western goldenrod is at its prime at this time of the year, and it’s not hard to spot.  It forms clumps by means of underground  stems that make it useful for preventing erosion.  Unfortunately, goldenrod has acquired a reputation for causing hay fever, but it is actually pollen from a different plant, ragweed (genus Ambrosia) that is responsible for this allergy.

Goldenrod (Solidago velutina ssp. californica)

Native Americans of various tribes used goldenrod as a tea to treat coughs, colds, sore throats and toothaches, and as an infusion for washing wounds and burns.           The showy rosy buckwheat, or red-flowered buckwheat (Eriogonum grande rubescens) begins flowering in late spring and persists into fall.  It originated in the Channel Islands where it gets summer fog, but it is comfortable inland, altho it might need a little water if it shows stress.  Besides being eye candy for us humans, the flowers, leaves and seeds provide food for small mammals as well as for finches, juncos, larks, sparrows, towhees, quail and grouse.                                                                                                    You may call it Pacific aster, California aster or coast aster (formerly Aster chilensis, now Symphotrichum chilense).  But don’t call it Chilean aster, because it did not originate in Chile, but is a native of the Pacific northwest.  It blooms from late summer thru winter, and stands about 3-4 feet tall, but the variety at the Granada Native Garden is the dwarf ‘Point St. George’, a ground cover about 12 inches or less tall.                                                     Pacific aster spreads readily by rhizomes (underground stems) in just about any soil, even beach sand.  This makes it a good soil stabilizer, as well as a “good late-season pollinator plant, providing a critical pollen source for bees active in the late fall, including new bumblebee queens building up their energy reserves before winter dormancy.”                                                                                                                     The gangly but nonetheless attractive gumplant, or gumweed (Grindelia camporum) isn’t the showiest member of the GNG family, but it might be one of the more interesting.  First of all, it starts blooming early, like April, and keeps it up well into fall.  The whole plant has a sticky feel, including the spheroid flower head which can be popped into the mouth and chewed like gum.  Of course, any enjoyment there is lasts only about 15 seconds, and it is mostly left to the imagination and the novelty of the experience!              But I don’t mean to sell gumplant short.  Like so many “weeds”, gumplant has been found to have authentic medicinal properties. Native Americans used the sticky resin to treat respiratory and dermatological afflictions, including poison oak, wounds, burns, boils and sores. Its effectiveness led early physicians to adopt it, and it is currently available as a herbal supplement for its anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and analgesic properties.                                                               However, some people are allergic to members of this botanical family (Asteraceae), so it should be used with caution.  Also, gumplant may contain high levels of selenium, which is toxic when ingested in large amounts.

It’s almost cherry-picking time at the GNG.  No, not those cherries.  The fruit of the holly-leafed cherry (Prunus ilicifolia) is well on its way to ripening.                                          When the cherries are dark purple, almost black, they have a thin layer of sweet, flavorful pulp surrounding an oversized pit.  It is said that Native Americans welcomed these cherries as a small but energy-rich pick-me-up snack while out hunting or gathering.  Actually, I can’t help treating myself to a few either, when I’m working at the Garden.  Look for them at the Garden — we have three healthy large shrub-like holly-leafed cherries there.

Remember, most photos can be enlarged just by clicking on them.

Other Late Summer & Early Fall Colors at the Granada Native Garden                                                                       

Bladderpod — with foliage that smells like sauteed onions and peppers!

 

 

 

 

Malva Rose –Its blossoms hide behind its foliage (but we cut it back heavily this fall, and they are easy to find).

 

 

 

Desert willow — Just planted this year and in its protective cage.  Should get about 10-12 feet tall in a few years!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the left, native grapes, ripe and ready now!  On the right, the same grapes later this fall.  The native grapes are the Roger’s Red variety, which is actually a hybrid of the wild native grape and an European variety, Alicante bouschet, which gives it the intense red pigment in its leaves.

A Quote for Today …                                                                                                                    “If we come to love nature not only when it is rare and beautiful, but also when it is commonplace and even annoying, I believe it will heal the great wound of our species: our self-imposed isolation from the rest of life, our loneliness for nature.”                                                                                                                    – Nathanael Johnson, in Unseen City

Check out the native plant selection at ALDEN LANE NURSERY, 981 Alden Lane, Livermore, CA 94550

Plants in 4-inch potsPlants in 4-inch pots

1-gal and larger plants1-gal and larger plants

For reliable certified arborist services, contact STUMPY’S TREE SERVICE, (925)518-1442, http://www.stumpystrees.com .

Stumpy'sGuided Tours of the Granada Native Garden Are Available!                                                     Are you interested in seeing some of the plants that are described in this News- letter or in past issues?  One or more staff of the GNG are routinely on duty at the Garden on Mondays and Thursdays, roughly between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon.  But it isn’t very hard to arrange a guided visit at other times.  If you are interested in scheduling a visit, just email Jim at  JIMatGNG@gmail.com .  Or if you have any questions or inquiries, please email Jim at the same address!