If you are looking to enhance the habitat value of your garden, you won’t want to miss the annual CNPS (California Native Plant Society) plant sale on October 8, 10am-1pm, at the Laguna Foundation, 900 Sanford Road, Santa Rosa. There will be all the usual suspects— manzanitas, ceanothus, coyote bush, salvias, monkeyflowers —plus many more great habitat plants. Here are a few on offer that may be less familiar.  Do you have quail on your property or nearby?  Quail bush or saltbush (Atriplex) is a fast growing, dense, silvery gray shrub that grows 5 feet or more, and quail love to use it for cover.  It’s tough and drought tolerant and tolerates wind and saline soil conditions.  Spicebush (Calycanthus), a large bird-habitat shrub I enjoyed immensely at a former garden, is ideal for planting near ponds, along streams or other moist areas. Growing 5-12 feet tall with beautiful green foliage and exotic dark maroon flowers in spring, which are beetle-pollinated, spicebush does best with part shade. Our native red-twigged dogwood (Cornus sericea) is another large shrub that needs some summer water or a moist location. With beautiful red stems that look dramatic in the winter and white flower clusters in the spring, this dogwood provides food and cover for birds and also serves as a host plant for the Spring Azure butterfly.  A plant I always look for in late spring on certain trails near the coast is bee plant (Scrophularia).  I once planted a drift of this local perennial under a black oak and watched the hummers nectar on the long stemmed tiny red flowers—bee plant is a delightful addition to a habitat garden.  Hummers also love the gooseberries and there will be several ribes species available: pink-flowering currant and golden currant.  And don’t forget milkweed for the Monarchs!   Enjoy!

Fall Plant Sales