PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
Native Plant A

JOAN GROENIGER, left, and Nancy Wunschel look at the many native plants for sale. This year's sale is Saturday, Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the El Dorado County Government Center, Buildings A and B, 330 Fair Lane in Placerville. Democrat file photo

Prospecting

Blooming good buys at plant sale

What: Fall Native Plant Sale

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

Where: El Dorado County Government Center, Buildings A and B parking lot, 330 Fair Lane in Placerville

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

Cost: No admission

Information: eldoradocnps.org

The El Dorado County Chapter of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) is holding its annual Fall Native Plant Sale on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., across from the El Dorado County Library in front of the El Dorado County Government Center, Buildings A and B, 330 Fair Lane in Placerville.

The CNPS native plant sale is the eagerly awaited biannual event (there is also one in the Spring) featuring a range of foothill-adapted and hard-to-find native perennials, shrubs, grasses and trees.

It’s a local opportunity to buy regional native plants without needing to drive to far away growers’ nurseries in the Central Valley.

Besides plants grown and cultivated by CNPS members, three local native nurseries will also be offering their plants at the sale. The vendors can only take cash or checks only and all sales are final.

Fall is the best time to be planting natives. Immediately preceding California’s rainy season, it is the optimal time to plant natives and seed native wildflowers.

Planting in the fall allows for primary root growth — an increase in root length — to take place over the rainy season, preparing the plants for spring.

This is the gardener’s “trick” to establishing native plants and maximizing their drought tolerance.

The selection of plants at the sale includes: many species of native monkey flowers (Mimulus); native lupines; sages (including the fragrant white and Cleveland sages, and the local, silver-green, tough ground hugging creeping or Sonoma sage; purple and yellow asters, and the ever-spectacular California fuchsia.

Other perennials will include Douglas iris, coyote mint, blue-eyed grass, California goldenrod, and the “pretty in pink” checker-bloom mallow.

Large specimen native bunch grasses, such as deer grass (a beautiful El Dorado County favorite), purple needle grass, and California fescue will be available along with smaller distinctive grasses and sedges such as blue grama grass, or eyelash or toothbrush grass for its charming flowering head.

Shrubs include toyon (also known as Christmas berry), several species of manzanita and California wild lilac (Ceanothus), as well as Western redbud, and currants (Ribes).

Trees include oaks, incense cedar, giant sequoia and red fir.

Most native plants adapted to the foothills are drought tolerant once established. Many are also deer resistant and a few are even “deer proof.”

The CNPS plant sale also offers regional-specific native wildflower seeds like “farewell to spring” (Clarkia), Chinese houses, bird’s eye and globe gilia, California poppies and other foothill annuals and perennials that offer touches of bright, local color to a spring garden.

These native wildflower seeds are not the often-sold packets of so-called “wildflower seeds” sold through various chain stores and suppliers that often may contain seeds of plants invasive to El Dorado County.

Sometimes found in commercial “wildflower seed” packets, plants like common daisy, fennel, alyssum and even Scotch broom, all of which continue to plague foothill ranchers, homeowners, and gardeners, are invasive to this area, and have even entered the El Dorado National Forest, threatening to crowd out rare and unique native species.

CNPS members and native gardeners will be on hand during the sale to answer questions and help shoppers find the right plant for their gardens, and to answer problematic landscape and garden questions, such as how to deal with deer, gophers, south-facing slopes, clay soil or erosion.

California wildflower landscaping, horticulture and identification books will also be on sale, as well as natural history guides and wildflower posters.

Proceeds from the sale go to the El Dorado Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, a non-profit statewide organization that has worked for more than 50 years to protect, preserve, and educate Californians about its unique and internationally recognized native plant heritage.

For more information visit the El Dorado Chapter CNPS Website at eldoradocnps.org to find a downloadable copy of the most recent newsletter, as well as native plant tutorials and photographs. Or visit and “Like” the CNPS Facebook page at facebook.com/ElDoradoCNPS to keep up with the latest news and to share native plant questions, pictures or experiences.

El Dorado County Chapter Of California Native Plant Society

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