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Pinus contorta ssp. bolanderi  pygmy pine
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Pinus contorta ssp. bolanderi

(pygmy pine)

A close relative of the shore pine, the pygmy pine occurs in the coastal pygmy forests of Mendocino Co. This rare and threatened pine only reaches a height of about 6 ft in the acidic soils of its native habitat but acts more like the shore pine in a garden setting, reaching up to about 30 ft in time. The upward reaching stems are clad in short needles with small cones produced on the ends. Provide full sun near the coast and a little afternoon shade inland.  Needs moderate to occasional irrigation and decent drainage. Good container plant. Deer resistant.
Pinus contorta ssp. contorta  shore pine
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Pinus contorta ssp. contorta

(shore pine)

On windswept coastal bluffs from Mendocino Co. northwards resides this dense, picturesque shore pine. While small in stature on the weathered cliffs of our shoreline often reaching only 6-10 ft. in height, in a garden setting the shore pine is a small to medium sized tree, growing to about 30 ft. Short, dark green needles cover the stems with small cones. An excellent compact conifer for the medium sized garden or in a container where it stays more diminutive. Provide full sun and occasional deep irrigation once established. Needs decent drainage. Deer resistant.
Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana  lodgepole pine
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Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana

(lodgepole pine)

Plant description coming soon.
Pinus jeffreyi  Jeffrey pine
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Pinus jeffreyi

(Jeffrey pine)

The stately Jeffrey pine hales from high elevation areas in many mountains of California. Features long needles and a broad trunk developing deeply furrowed bark of orangy-red. Similar to the ponderosa pine but occurring at higher elevations and the bark has a distinct vanilla scent. The cones are also larger than those of the ponderosa and don’t have sharp, outwardly protruding scales, hence the affectionate name “gentle Jeffrey”. Features long needles and an open canopy, becoming a large tree over time. Not suitable for the small garden. The Jeffrey pine is the dominant pine of the Tahoe basin. Provide good drainage and full sun to light shade. Drought tolerant and deer resistant.
Pinus lambertiana  sugar pine
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Pinus lambertiana

(sugar pine)

Plant description coming soon.
Pinus muricata  Bishop pine
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Pinus muricata

(Bishop pine)

The Bishop pine is native to the northern California coast from Marin to Mendocino. A medium to large sized tree with a beautifully rounded crown and long, gray-green needles. Distinguished from the more southerly Monterey pine by its smaller cones which prick the hand when held. The Bishop pine often cohabitates with the redwood and other coastal conifers but should be drought tolerant once established except in interior locations where an occasional deep watering may be required. Can reach 100 ft in height over time. Deer resistant.
Pinus ponderosa  ponderosa pine
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Pinus ponderosa

(ponderosa pine)

When visiting the Sierra Nevada, one is likely to encounter this stately conifer. But many people don’t realize they can see the ponderosa pine in special places in Sonoma County and surrounding areas. Long, gray-green needles form bushy clusters at the ends of branches with cantaloupe-sized cones developing at the very tips. The bark at maturity is a colorful patchwork of orange-tan plates separated by deep grooves of dark brown. This pine can grow a couple of feet a year, eventually becoming a large tree not suited for the small garden. Provide full sun to light shade with occasional deep waterings when young. Needs decent drainage. Deer resistant.  
Pinus sabiniana  gray pine
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Pinus sabiniana

(gray pine)

When strolling in the foothills of California one is likely to encounter this distinctive pine emerging from the chaparral. Some people call it the ghost pine due to its long gray needles set against dark, furrowed bark. The open, distorted crown casts a ghoulish silhouette at dusk when the mind plays tricks on the weary hiker. While fairly slow growing, the gray pine can reach a height of 80 ft or more in well-draining sites with ample sunlight. Native Americans prized the big, prickly cones for their large, edible seeds. Plant with manzanitas, toyon, goldenfleece and other drought tolerant shrubs.  
Plantago maritima  seaside plantain
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Plantago maritima

(seaside plantain)

From coastal bluffs up and down the California coast comes this charming little plantain. Starting in late spring and continuing through summer, small, greenish-yellow flowers flank the top of slender stems up to 6 inches tall. The dense rosettes of narrow, succulent leaves provide a striking accent in a rock garden or nestled in crevices between pavers or stones. A good container specimen. Recognized for its edible and medicinal uses. Plant in full sun to light shade. Tolerates low to regular moisture. May spread vigorously by seed.   
Platanus racemosa  California sycamore
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Platanus racemosa

(California sycamore)

This most Californian of trees from the southern and central parts of our state features stunning bark mottled white and grey on a large, sculptured trunk. The maple-like leaves create an open canopy on this stately tree which can reach up to around 80 ft. tall at maturity. Seeds are produced in fuzzy pom-poms dangling on short stems and are a great food source for birds. In autumn, the leaves can turn orangey-yellow before they drop, adding rare fall color to the California landscape. Makes its home in sunny, low-lying areas and canyons with moderate to occasional irrigation. A great shade tree for the large garden and a larval host for the Western tiger swallowtail butterfly. Deer resistant.
Poliomintha longiflora  Mexican oregano
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Poliomintha longiflora

(Mexican oregano)

A gem in the kitchen as well as the garden. Mexican oregano can grow 3 ft. tall and wide (ours has remained smaller). Blooms for a long period in the summer with lavender-pink tubular flowers. Full sun and a little water. Drought tolerant. Deer seem to leave it alone.
Polypodium californicum 'Sarah Lyman' California polypody
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Polypodium californicum 'Sarah Lyman'

(California polypody)

An interesting cultivar of the California polypody fern with finely divided leaves. A wonderful addition to the shade garden where it is perfectly adapted to our dry summers. With the first coolness of autumn the fiddleheads emerge and unfurl. Energetic bright green frilly foliage thrives all winter and into spring. Goes dormant late spring or early summer where it waits out the dry season returning dependably again in the autumn. Grows 12 to 15 inches tall and slowly spreads.
Polypodium glycyrrhiza  licorice fern
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Polypodium glycyrrhiza

(licorice fern)

Native to moist coastal forests from Monterey County to Alaska. This epiphytic fern enjoys shady environments where it grows on trees, logs and stumps, mossy rocks and slopes. The long, narrow, deeply lobed fronds spread by creeping rhizomes, which have a sweet licorice flavor and a history of use by various native American peoples. They grow happily in moist shady gardens, going summer dormant once conditions get too dry, returning with the autumn rains and coolness. Drought tolerant in somewhat coastal conditions. Good container subject. Deer resistant. 
Polypodium scouleri  evergreen polypody
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Polypodium scouleri

(evergreen polypody)

A choice species native to moist coastal forests of the western U.S. where this fern will grow on trees, rocks and logs. Beautiful, leathery, deeply lobed, evergreen fronds grow on creeping rhizomes to about 8-12 inches tall and slowly spreading. Requires good drainage with a humusy soil and some summer moisture, but not overly wet. Wonderful on rocks, cracks in walls, and logs in shady locations. Excellent in containers.  Makes a lovely hanging basket.
Polystichum munitum  western sword fern
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Polystichum munitum

(western sword fern)

The versatile western sword fern is an evergreen native fern from California to Alaska. In most gardens it will reach about three feet tall and wide.  In prime areas near the coast where moisture is readily available and cool temperatures prevail, this fern can get up to 5 feet tall and wide. Excellent for shady beds, along walls, as a large scale groundcover and mixed woodland planting. Best with humusy soil and regular to moderate water, but drought tolerant once established and tolerant of most soil types. Actually quite adaptable and deer resistant.
Populus tremuloides  quaking aspen
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Populus tremuloides

(quaking aspen)

From mountain meadows and hillsides across the Sierra Nevada comes this iconic native poplar. Smooth, white bark and rounded leaves which quake in the wind make this slender tree highly ornamental. Reaches a height of at least 20 ft. and spreads by underground roots to form groves. While the fall color may not be quite as stunning in lower elevation gardens as it is in the mountains, colder parts of our area will still see leaves of yellow, orange and red in the autumn. Easily grown at lower elevations, this form is reported to be particularly disease resistant. Needs full sun to light shade and regular to moderate irrigation once established. Lower irrigation should slow aspen’s ability to multiply.
Potentilla  gracilis  slender cinquefoil
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Potentilla gracilis

(slender cinquefoil)

Prolific displays of bright yellow flowers resembling buttercups make this little cinquefoil a hit from spring through autumn. Flowers are held on two foot stems above low mats of dissected,dark green leaves. Native to mountainous areas throughout California. Provide full sun to light shade and give occasional to regular moisture. Will spread slowly by seed if exposed soil is nearby. A favorite of bees and butterflies.Deer resistant.  
Prunella vulgaris v. lanceolata  self heal
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Prunella vulgaris v. lanceolata

(self heal)

Native to moist areas usually near coniferous forests and woodlands. Creeping perennial forms a low dense mat of foliage. Upright spikes of purple flowers over a long period summer - fall. Give some thought to placement because if happy it will reseed vigorously. Plant in full sun or light shade with regular water.
Prunus emarginata  bitter cherry
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Prunus emarginata

(bitter cherry)

Description will be available soon.
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. ilicifolia  hollyleaf cherry
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Prunus ilicifolia ssp. ilicifolia

(hollyleaf cherry)

Large evergreen native shrub 10 - 25 ft. tall and wide. Often used for background or screen plantings. Can be clipped into a formal hedge, pruned to be treelike, or left to its own natural gumdrop-shaped habit. Glossy holly-like leaves with showy displays of creamy white flowers in narrow spikes late spring to early summer. Robins, finches, towhees, Cedar waxwings and mockingbirds eat its cherries. Plant in full sun to very light shade. Requires good drainage but is tolerant of heat, drought, wind and oak root fungus. Looks best with occasional deep waterings, but can tolerate very dry conditions once established. Excellent habitat value, offering food and cover. Generally deer resistant.
Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii  Catalina cherry
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Prunus ilicifolia ssp. lyonii

(Catalina cherry)

Evergreen shrub or small tree. Creamy white flower spikes in March. Reddish purple half inch fruit is edible. Does best in well drained soil with occasional deep watering once established. Moderate growth rate to 10 ft. or more. Can also be trimmed into a 6 or 10 ft. hedge. Robins, finches, towhees, Cedar waxwings and mockingbirds eat its cherries.
Prunus virginiana v. demissa  chokecherry
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Prunus virginiana v. demissa


Large, deciduous shrub or small tree with red-purple bark and dark green foliage. Growing 8 foot or more tall and spreading slowly to form a thicket. Striking racemes of fragrant white flowers in the spring followed by dark red fruits which can be sweet but astringent. Foliage can take on nice fall color before dropping its leaves. Fabulous habitat plant drawing bees, butterflies and other pollinators to its flowers. Birds, especially bluebirds, adore the fruits and are known to swoop in and finish them off quickly. Where summers are hot, light or part shade is best, with regular to occasional water once established. They often grow where there is seasonal moisture in the spring, but somewhat dry as the season progresses.
Pseudotsuga menziesii  Douglas fir
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Pseudotsuga menziesii

(Douglas fir)

Plant description coming soon.


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