California Native Plant Society - Orange County

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California Native Plant Society - Orange County

Chapter Meeting: June 2016

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Natural Landscaping in Small Spaces and Chapter Celebration

Date: Thursday, June 16, 2016

Location: Duck Club, Irvine (Directions)

Speaker: Mike Evans

Functional nature-based gardens can be created in very tight quarters (even in pots!) using native plants, native elements, and design techniques that incorporate the beauty of an ecosystem. Come learn how the principles of Japanese natural gardening (Hakoniwa) can be applied to landscaping in our beautiful southern California environment. The focus will be on diversity, habitat, resource conservation and our connection to the garden for healing and wellness. Mike will build a demonstration "eco-pot" that when done will go to the winner of an opportunity drawing!

Mike Evans is president and founder of Tree of Life Nursery, which has been in business 35 years, propagating, and growing approximately 400 varieties of California native plants on 40 acres near San Juan Capistrano. He finds that he can "go out to the wilderness" anytime by just letting his imagination run wild while he is taking care of a few of these potted native landscapes.

The program will begin at 7:30, but you may come at 6 to enjoy a walk in the preserve and a look at the new pollinator garden. The Duck Club will open at 6:45 for potluck refreshments. The chapter will supply drinks, utensils, and paper goods. If you’re coming early for the walk bring something savory or if you’re coming later, something dessert-ish. (Or just bring a friend.) Celia Kutcher wants your great photos of 2015-16 chapter activities for our year-end “slide” show. Send them to at

Enjoy with us this special celebration of the year’s achievements

Conservation Report: May/June 2016

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The California Coastal Commission will vote on the fate of Banning Ranch on Thursday, May 12. The hearing starts at 9 AM at the Newport Beach Civic Center, 100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach (ample free parking).

At issue is whether several hundred high-end homes, a resort hotel, and retail space should be developed on Banning Ranch’s mesa. The 400-acre parcel is the largest unprotected coastal open space in OC. Despite having been an oil field for many decades, the site is still home to an amazing array of birds and wildlife in its still-vital riparian, coastal marsh, coastal sage scrub, grassland and vernal pool habitats. Banning Ranch should be a key part of the abutting Orange Coast River Park (maps:, rather than yet another development.

At its hearing last October, the Commission rejected its staff’s recommendation to deny the proposed development. Instead, the developer was directed to work with Commission staff and members of the Banning Ranch Conservancy (BRC) on a smaller development, and return in May with a plan that could be approved. An effort was made to that end, but the plan is still massive.

BRC is calling on all OC residents to attend the hearing and help remind the Commissioners that if they are to truly uphold the Coastal Act, to truly abide by the Act's requirements to protect sensitive coastal habitat and the wildlife that use it, they must deny the application for development of Banning Ranch. 

BRC’s goal is to save as much land and habitat as possible. View their latest video: BRC’s website,, contains much history and background on the site and the issues.


• Attend the hearing:; carpools are being coordinated and refreshments will be provided.

• Sign the online petition:

• Donate to the campaign:


Native Gardener's Corner: May/June 2016

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Native Gardeners’ Corner—Members’ Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

This column is a regular newsletter feature offering chapter members and local experts a chance to briefly share information on many things related to gardening with natives.

Answers listed in order received.

The request for this edition of the OC-CNPS Newsletter is: “I found my Calochortus venustus that had sprouted so nicely eaten to the ground by rabbits and said, Arrgggh!!! What has made you say “Arrgggh” so far this year?”

Ron Vanderhoff - “My Aristida purpurea – purple three-awn grass. I should have known better, having seen the naturalized planting at Tree of Life Nursery, but I planted a few of these anyway. They are beautiful, but after trying to hand pull all the volunteers for the past few years I have now officially lost the battle. The patch is bigger every year. I need to make it go away before I have a complete “purple three-awn” landscape.”

Leon Baginski - ”Snails!!!! I live by the coast and the moisture in the air brings them out in this cooler weather and they eat all my lupine to the ground!!! Arghhhh!!!!”

Rama Nayeri - “For my own garden I ARGG that I have a 100 square feet of concrete patio, the only garden space I have that I cannot remove or change. I also have an AC unit that I cannot permanently cover.”

Mark Sugars - “Arrgggastropods!”

Jeanne Carter - “I lost several plants to skunks digging for grubs a El Modena HS Nature Center. Arrggh!!! Anyone have solutions? Wire mesh around the plants did not work.”

Helen Smisko - “After watching Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer/Fusarium (PSHB) attack Acer, Platanus, and Parkinsonia trees, it was then found on Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden's first Populus tree.”

Laura Camp - “I looked out my back window this past winter, an my Arctostaphylos ‘Howard McMinn’ was wilted and obviously going downhill fast. At that point there was nothing I could do but watch it die. Arrgggh! In the end I only lost part of it (a maibranch split) but part of it lived, and new growth is sprouting from a rooted branch, and will fill in the missing plant.”


Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains

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Wildflowers of Orange County and the Santa Ana Mountains
Robert L. Allen and Fred M. Roberts, Jr

Paperback, 500 pages

Laguna Wilderness Press, July 2013

Free shipping!

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

Books will be shipped promptly.





Our newsletter is published six times a year and is the best source of information about current activities. The newsletter also contains useful and fun articles.



2016 Charlie O’Neill Grant is Awarded!

We are happy to report that Shannon Lynch, graduate student from UC Santa Cruz, has been selected to receive our full $1000 O'Neill Grant to work on Fusarium infections in native trees of Orange County.

It is hoped her work will help advance basic research on the threat of Fusarium dieback (caused in part by the notorious Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer) to the riparian and oak woodland habitats throughout Southern California.

Also, Thanks to our Chapter’s esteemed review committee: Bob Allen, Jutta Burger, Celia Kutcher, Fred Roberts, and Ron Vanderhoff in helping guide the grant process.



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