IMAGE: By PeterOMalley (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
The greatest girth of a single trunk coast live oak, measured at a height of between 1.3-1.5 m above the ground, is 30. 15 ft. (9.19 m), the tree being “The Grand Oak” at Highland Springs Resort in Cherry Valley, California.
The nemesis of the Coast live oak, as far as sudden oak death is concerned, is California Bay. The record for this tree is a girth of 30.51 ft. (9.3 m), located in the Rancho San Antonio Open Space in Palo Alto.
The Pechanga Great Oak Tree of Temecula is a Coast live oak that is probably the oldest oak in California and possibly the world, dated at about 2,000 years.
Canyon Live Oak is also impressive. The largest is in the San Bernadino Mountains and is 12.7 m in girth. This is also a species at great risk from Sudden Oak Death. although not in drier locations.
The tallest oak Valley Oak, a white oak which are not affected by Sudden Oak Death. The tallest specimen is in the Covelo Valley in Mendocino County, and stands at 140 feet (42.7 m).
The Field Guide to Plant Galls of California and Other Western States (by Ron Russo, U.C. Press) identifies more than 300 species of galls, including 95 found only on oaks. They are created by wasps.
IMAGE: By Alex Wild, part of the University of Texas at Austin’s “Insects Unlocked” project. [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Over 150 species of wasp are known to be associated with oak galls. However just one of these wasp species is associated with another 90 insect species that utilize the gall in some way.
IMAGE: By Franco Folini from San Francisco, USA [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The round galls, called oak apples, on California Live Oak can be a source of fountain pen ink. Find out how to make it here.
Doug McCreary writes, in Living Among The Oaks, “Oak environments are among the richest wildlife habitats in the state; 110 species of birds use oak habitats during the breeding season, and 35 percent of California’s land mammals utilize oaks during
some time of their lives. California’s deer herds are particularly dependent on oak habitats.”
The oaks (Family Fagaceae, genus Quercus) belong to an old lineage of trees and shrubs that dates back to at least the Late Cretaceous (about 85 million years ago). The oldest fossils are most closely aligned with Fagus, the beeches, but there are also suggestions of chestnuts (Castanea) in some of these ancient materials. These fossils are known, to date, only from Georgia, in the south eastern United States. When it comes to the origin of the oaks (Quercus spp.), there is much better evidence. The fossil record reveals that trees similar to oaks first appear about 32-35 million years ago, and trees related to extant species appear by about 25 million years ago. By about 23 million years ago, trees representative of most major groups of oaks have appeared. Dr. Richard Jensen,Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana
It’s no secret, honeybees are not doing well. There are many scientists and researchers working on this problem. At this time there is not a clear cut answer to what is causing what is called “Colony Collapse Disorder” or CCD. Some scientists believe a small parasitic mite is the culprit. Others believe the lack of rain the last three years has impacted wildflower fields and the honeybees are dying from starvation. Lastly, pesticides applied by homeowners and farmers to fruit and vegetables crops are harming bees as they forage for pollen.
So what can we do to help? With winter just around the corner and the possibility of rains, we are once again thinking about what should we plant this year. Keeping the bees in mind, I would like to make some suggestions.
The genus Ceanothus is my first pick. With flower colors of blue and white, the sweet smell draws bees by the thousands. It’s not hard to find a species that can fit in your garden. There are large tree types, shrubs, and groundcovers to pick from. They must be planted in a sunny area.
My second choice is the genus Salvia. Many Salvia species grow in sandy, dry soil types and are well know to attract bees. They do not require heavy irrigation and are free of many pest problems.
Lastly, Eriogonum or buckwheat is a wonderful plant that will grow in many soil types and requires very little irrigation once established. My favorites are E. arborescens, Santa Cruz Island buckwheat, and E. giganteum, St. Catherine’s lace.
So this year while you are thinking about what to plant in the garden, I hope you will consider what you can do to help the little bee.
In spite of a very dry year, the March rains brought out a respectable display of spring annuals in some of the meadow areas on the La Purisima Mission grounds.
On Sunday, April 6, 2014, Connie Geiger and I led our annual early April field trip of around 25 people, this year along “Al’s Flower Trail,” named for Al Thompson, for many years the main Garden Docent at the mission. This trail runs along a slope on the northeast side of the valley, starting from a cistern by a stand of coast live oaks, and meets the trail running along the creek to the “duck pond,” the source on the early water system.
White flowers included white layia, Layia glandulosa, popcorn flowers, Cryptantha & Plagiobothrys, spp., common yarrow, Achillea millefolium, honeydew (AKA wedge-leaved Horkelia) , Horkelia cuneata, miner’s lettuce, Claytonia perfoliata, California croton, Croton californicus, and morning-glories, Calystegia spp.
Yellow flowers included dwarf golden yarrow, Eriophyllum pringlei; golden yarrow E. confertiflorum, Bigelow’s coreopsis, Coreopsis bigelovii, and assorted DYCs.
Blue to lavender flowers included various Phacelia spp.
Red to pink flowers included purple owl’s clover, Castilleja exserta, prickly phlox, Leptodactylon californiacum, purple Chinese houses, Collinsia heterophylla, among others.
There were bush as well as forb lupines, including silver bush lupine, Lupinus albifrons, costal bush lupine, L. arboreus, dwarf lupine, L. bicolor, and collared lupine, L. truncatus. Along the left side of the trail, were several sand almonds, Prunus fasciculata var, punctata, some in fruit.
At the head of the trail were several stands of cream cups, including the carnival poppy (a color variation alternating
white and yellow petals), Platystemon californicus. Down the slope towards the creek was a stand of goldfields, Lasthenia sp. By the trail up to the cross, were a few black figworts, Scrophularia atrata, and some redberry bushes, Rhamnus crocea, with tiny flowers.
CNPS Curriculum – Opening the World through Journaling: Integrating art, science, and language arts
by John Muir Laws and Emily Bruenig
Our parent organization, CNPS, is offering a spectacular curriculum for children that works in a multitude of settings from school yards to CNPS events, to camps and family outings. It is geared primarily towards children age 8 and up, meeting grades 3 through 7 standards but it is easily adaptable for teenagers and adults.
Opening the World through Journaling: Integrating art, science, and language arts, a curriculum written for CNPS by John Muir Laws and Emily Brueunig, teaches children to become keen observers of the natural world by drawing and writing about the plants and animals in situ. In a set of nested exercises, students use games to gain confidence in drawing and writing as a way to gather information. Later, they employ these skills to put together a field guide, make treasure maps, and to write short stories and poems.
“Keeping a field journal develops and reinforces the most important science process skills; observation and documentation. All other parts of the process of science depend on these skills. We assume that we are naturally good observers, but learning to really see is a skill that must be learned and developed. Journal activities tie directly to the State of California science framework content standards and the visual and performing arts framework content standards.” –John Muir Laws
CNPS would like to know who uses the material and how it is used for grant and goal purposes and will send you a request to evaluate the curriculum after using it. For this reason, the curriculum is available only from the CNPS website (link). *This project is funded to date by the JiJi Foundation
Please leave a comment below if you have used this curriculum. Everyone would love to hear about your experience! Thank you.
CNPS-SLO holds our annual Native Plant Sale the first Saturday of November
The Nipomo Native Garden also holds an annual Native Plant Sale
Nurseries in San Luis Obispo county:
(Call for confirmation of times open to public)
Las Pilitas Native Plant Nursery 3232 Las Pilitas Road, Santa Margarita 805-438-5992 (Retail Fri & Sat)
Growing Grounds Farm Wholesale Nursery 3740 Orcutt Rd, San Luis Obispo 805-543-6071 (Retail 3rd Tues of Month) SAGE Ecological Landscapes, 1301 Los Osos Valley Road, Los Osos, CA 93402 (805) 574-0777
Clearwater Color Wholesale Nursery 2335 Jacaranda Ln, Los Osos 805-528-4458 (Wholesale only)
Native Sons Wholesale Nursery 379 W. El Campo, Arroyo Grande 805-481-9636 (Retail 2nd Sat in April)
West Covina Wholesale Nursery 165 W. El Campo, Arroyo Grande 805-481-7626 (Wholesale only)
Nurseries outside of our county:
(Call for confirmation of times open to public)
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden 1212 Mission Canyon, Santa Barbara 805-682-4272 (classes)
Matilija Nursery 8225 Waters, Moorpark 805-523-8604
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden 1500 W. College, Clairmont 909-625-8767 (classes)
Theodore Payne Foundation Nursery 10459 Tuxford, Sun Valley 818-768-1802 (classes and seed sales)
Tree of Life Nursery 33201 Ortega Hwy, San Juan Capistrano 949-728-0685
If you can’t find what you are looking for, ask your nursery to order it for you
You may also find California Natives at these local sources
BenJoy Nursery 2168 Lopez, Arroyo Grande 481-7488
Cherry Lane Nursery 436 Traffic Way, Arroyo Grande 489-1809
Miners Ace Hardware 186 Station Way, Arroyo Grande 489-9100
Miners Ace Hardware 9370 El Camino Real, Atascadero 466-0270
Bay Laurel Nursery 2500 El Camino Real, Atascadero 466-3449
Windmill Nursery 925 W. Hwy 246, Buellton 688-3993
Cambria Nursery and Florist 2801 Eton Rd, Cambria 927-4747
Los Osos Valley Nursery 301 Los Osos Valley Road, Los Osos 528-5300
Miners Ace Hardware 520 Highway 41, Morro Bay 722-2233
Nipomo Old Town Nursery 323 W. Tefft, Nipomo 929-1084
Whispering Tree 110 Norris, Orcutt 937-3808
Farm Supply 675 Tank Farm, SLO 543-3751
Miner’s Ace Hardware 2034 Santa Barbara St., SLO 543-2191
Do you have a nursery or source for California Natives that isn’t listed here? Or an update to this information? Please enter a comment below and we will update this page …
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA NATIVE PLANTS FOR SCHOOL & URBAN GARDENS
By Betsey Landis
Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter, California Native Plant Society
This book is written for teachers and school garden educators and planners. Anyone can download all or parts of the book for free from CNPS Chapter websites. However the book may not be printed and sold without the express permission of the Los Angeles/Santa Monica Mountains Chapter of CNPS. We have discussed printing small special orders but we do not plan to do any more printing of the book in the hundreds or thousands. I understand what I have written on those first two pages is a type of “creative commons” copyright. -Betsey Landis (the author)
Because of the size of this book, we have created four separate PDF files for viewing on the web and for download:
Gardening for fragrance opens up another dimension of gardening. You can be whisked back to another place and time or other remembrances by the fragrances given off by your plantings. Once you start noticing aromas, you will quickly come up with your own favorites. Since everyone’s sense of smell is different, fragrances are open to different interpretations.