Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Go native


CHECKERBLOOM (Sidalcea malviflora) — This lover of lousy soil and dry places (drought tolerant) is a sure sign that spring and warm weather are here to stay. Courtesy photo

What: Spring Native Plant Sale

Who: El Dorado County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society

Where: El Dorado County Government Center, 330 Fair Lane in Placerville

When: Saturday, April 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Cost: No admission


The El Dorado County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (EDC CNPS) hosts the annual Spring Native Plant Sale Saturday, April 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the El Dorado County Government Center, 330 Fair Lane in Placerville, across from the El Dorado County Library.

There will be hundreds of plants on sale, books and posters on identifying native plants, traditional and Native American uses, and where to go and what to look for on wildflower hikes in the foothills and Sierra.

The sale also features colorful displays on native plant landscaping, weed identification and the threat invasive plant species pose to the native plant heritage.

Each year, the El Dorado Chapter of CNPS hosts native plant sales in both the spring and fall, featuring hundreds of beautiful and regionally-adapted native species of trees, flowering perennials and annuals, and drought tolerant shrubs, sedges and grasses.

Plants are provided by local and regional native plant nurseries, as well as some selections of native plants grown by EDC CNPS members and friends. Many of the plants available at the sale are difficult or even impossible to find in nurseries.


Time to plant

What about planting natives in the spring?

“There is a misconception that all native plantings need to be done in the fall,” said Rosemary Carey, El Dorado Chapter president and passionate native plant gardener.

“There are some simple things to keep in mind when planting in the spring,” she said. “Finding the right plant for the right conditions is the first step. And you need to plant it as soon as possible after buying it to take advantage of cool temperatures and so the plant won’t get too stressed.”



What about the water needs?

“They will need to be watered through this first spring, summer and fall so they can get established, but don’t over water,” Carey advised. “That’s probably the biggest mistake first time native gardeners make. While some water is necessary, too much in the hot summer can rot the roots.”

One more important benefit to early spring planting in the area is, “There is much less deer browsing now than in the fall,” Carey said.

Shoppers at the native plant sale have many choices at the sale.


Good selection

“Native plants are beautiful and fun, and they are part of our unique botanical heritage in California, one that you can share in your own backyard. And we’ll have local and knowledgeable members of the El Dorado Chapter on-hand to answer questions or offer plant selection and planting advice well-suited to your particular needs,” Carey said.

Plants at the sale will include: several different kinds of colorful monkey flowers and penstemons; fast-growing native lupines; several species of fragrant sages (including the serpentine and gabbro-loving Sonoma sage); various asters, ceanothus, milkweed (for those Monarch butterflies) and several species of California buckwheats (eriogonums), and of course, California’s state flower, the California Poppy.

There will also be hardy and drought-resistant native bunch grasses such as deer grass, an El Dorado County favorite.

Look for manzanitas of several kinds (some very fast growing and large) and interesting accent plants like native sedges, rushes and more.

For those looking for a solely native landscape, or integrating an existing “wildland” habitat into the yard, or just wanting to mix some natives with an existing garden, they will find something that will work any garden circumstance.

Organizers suggest that native plant shoppers come early for the best selection.

The sale is cash or checks only.



Proceeds from the sale go to EDC CNPS native plant education programs in the schools, as well as research projects like last summer’s survey of lava cap plant communities in the Eldorado National Forest, and seeding and planting projects on damaged habitats, like the Alder Creek Restoration Project being conducted by the USFS with EDC CNPS assistance.

EDC CNPS conducts numerous native plant and wildflower field trips throughout the spring, summer and early fall. Trips are geared to all levels of native plant knowledge, from none at all on up, and there are no fees to attend. Everyone is welcome.

The chapter does a number of public presentations by botanists, arborists, native plant gardeners and landscapers, photographers and others throughout the year.

For full schedules see the Website below or visit the Facebook page.

EDC CNPS is an affiliate of the State-wide California Native Plant Society, with more than 33 chapters throughout the state.

CNPS is a non-profit statewide organization that has worked for more than 50 years to protect, preserve and educate California about its unique and internationally recognized native plant heritage.

For more information visit the El Dorado Chapter CNPS at or visit Facebook at ElDoradoCNPS. To receive e-newsletter updates e-mailing

El Dorado County Chapter Of California Native Plant Society


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