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Comarostaphylis diversifolia  summer holly
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Comarostaphylis diversifolia

(summer holly)

Looking something like a toyon but closely related to manzanita, this handsome evergreen is a useful landscape subject. Native to chaparral communities near the coast in Southern California where it usually grows on north facing slopes. Growing slowly 6-15 ft. or more tall with shredded red bark and shiny dark green foliage. Creamy-white urn-shaped flowers in racemes bloom March-May are attracive to hummingbirds and pollinators. The dark-red rough textured fruits in summer are enjoyed by many kinds of birds. Grow as an upright shrub or with selective pruning can be trained into a small tree. Useful as a specimen, background screen or informal hedge in full sun to light shade with good drainage. Will except summer water only with good drainage and is drought tolerant once established.  
Cornus  'Midwinter Fire' coral twig dogwood
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Cornus 'Midwinter Fire'

(coral twig dogwood)

Grown for its stunning winter-long display of glowing apricot to coral stems. Fall leaf color can be a lovely pinky-peach. Can grow to 10 ft. tall and will spread vigorously by suckering stems. Shearing the plant to the ground occasionally will keep it more manageable. Full sun to bright shade and regular water. 
Cornus alba 'Elegantissima' variegated Tatarian dogwood
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Cornus alba 'Elegantissima'

(variegated Tatarian dogwood)

Pretty in all it's seasons. Foliage is a soft cool gray-green, margined in white. Compliments other greens well and provides a cool appearance to the summer garden. Flowers which appear in April to May are small flat clusters of white. The vibrant dark red-purple stems add a wonderful structure and color to the winter garden. About 5 ft. tall. Grow in light shade with regular water. Cut to the ground in late winter every 3 years or so for renewal.
Cornus glabrata  browntwig dogwood
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Cornus glabrata

(browntwig dogwood)

The bluish-white fruits of this species are reputed to be especially good for attracting birds. Small creamy white flowers appear in spring on subtly beautiful arching branches. A type of stream dogwood, it forms thickets with time, 6 - 10 ft. tall. Deciduous. Prefers moisture and some shade. Western tanager and warblers eat the flowers. Grosbeak, Northern oriole, flickers, spotted towhee, Western bluebird, robins, mockingbirds, bandtailed pigeon, waxwing and quail eat the fruits. A great plant for stream restoration.
Cornus nuttallii  Pacific dogwood
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Cornus nuttallii

(Pacific dogwood)

Spectacular native tree with pleasing horizontal branching, gorgeous white flowers, handsome fruits and good fall color.  An elegant specimen tree though notoriously challenging in cultivation. Easiest to grow within it's native range. Dislikes poor drainage, fertilizing, pruning, and injury to the tender bark.  Drought tolerant in shady, cool situations but enjoys occasional to moderate water in fast draining soils. Once established it can become a show stopping specimen in a wooded garden, under high branching trees, along stream courses and slopes with eastern or northern exposure. Birds relish the red fruits.      
Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea' yellowtwig dogwood
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Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea'

(yellowtwig dogwood)

This thicket-forming dogwood is grown for it’s beautiful yellow stems most admired in the winter season when it’s leafless. Thrives in moist places in full sun to light shade. Small creamy white flowers in flat topped clusters appear in spring. Grows 6 ft. tall and spreads with time to form an attractive drift. The white fruits are loved by birds.
Cornus sericea 'Hedgerow's Gold' redtwig dogwood
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Cornus sericea 'Hedgerow's Gold'

(redtwig dogwood)

A striking selection of redtwig dogwood, discovered near the Deschutes River in Eastern Oregon and introduced by Hedgerows Nursery. The large leaves of soft green have a broad, irregular, bright golden edge. In autumn the leaves turn an attractive ruby color. Forms a thicket that easily reaches 6 ft. tall by 6 ft. wide. The red stems stand out in the winter landscape after the leaves have fallen. Flat topped cluster of white flowers appear in spring and are followed by small white fruits enjoyed by birds. Best with regular water, good light and protection from the hot afternoon sun.
Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis  western redtwig dogwood
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Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis

(western redtwig dogwood)

Redtwig dogwood is a spreading shrub growing 6 ft. or more tall, forming broad thickets along creeks and rivers. The beautiful red stems stand out in the winter landscape once they loose their leaves in the fall. Flat topped flower clusters are creamy white and are followed by clusters of white fruits. Often takes on nice fall color before loosing it's leaves. Plant in full sun to light shade with regular to moderate watering. Does great on heavy clay soils and is a very good soil stabilizer. An excellent habitat plant where it provides food and cover. The fruits are very popular with birds. At the nursery, bluebirds and mockingbirds compete aggressively for the fleshy white fruits. 
Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis 'Tomales Bay' western redtwig dogwood
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Cornus sericea ssp. occidentalis 'Tomales Bay'

(western redtwig dogwood)

This selection of the native creek dogwood is from Tomales Bay, Marin County, where it forms broad clumps 6 ft. or more tall and wide. The beautiful red stems stand out in the winter landscape. Flat topped flower clusters are creamy white followed by small white fruits. Good fall color. Plant in full sun to light shade and give regular irrigation. Western tanager and warblers eat the flowers. Grosbeak, Northern oriole, flickers, spotted towhee, Western bluebird, robins, mockingbirds, bandtailed pigeon, waxwing and quail eat the fruits.

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Cornus sessilis

(black fruit dogwood)

Native to moist ravines and stream banks of the coast ranges and the Sierra Nevada Mts.. This deciduous shrub or small tree grows 5-10 ft. or more tall and wide. Beautiful shiny, jade green leaves with prominent lateral veining decorate the graceful green barked stems. Small, yellow flowers appear early as it leafs out in the spring and are followed by oval fruits. Fruit color changes as it matures from greenish-white to yellow, red and finally shiny black which attract a wide range of fruit eating birds. Foliage can take on pretty tones of yellow and red in the autumn. Thrives in moist shady locations, but will grow well with just part shade and moderate to occasional summer water once established.

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Corydalis cheilanthifolia

(fern-leaved corydalis)

Often mistaken for a fern, this bleeding heart relative is an easy to grow, carefree perennial for the woodland garden. Growing 8 - 10 inches tall and wide, the ferny foliage is topped with clusters of yellow 1/2 inch long tubular flowers in spring. A wonderful addition to the woodland garden with moderate to regular moisture. Will seed about if happy.
Corylus cornuta ssp. californica  western hazelnut
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Corylus cornuta ssp. californica

(western hazelnut)

Western hazelnut is a handsome, open, multi-stemmed shrub native to forests from Santa Cruz in California northwards to British Columbia. Winter deciduous with decorative dangling catkins in late winter. The soft, somewhat hairy leaves turn yellow in the fall. Small amounts of tasty nuts are produced in late summer and are relished by wildlife and people. Part shade with some moisture but will tolerate fairly dry conditions once established. Grows 4 - 10 ft. tall. Somewhat deer resistant.
Crataegus douglasii  western hawthorn
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Crataegus douglasii

(western hawthorn)

Western hawthorn occurs in wet meadows or borders of forests in northern California. A large deciduous shrub or small tree 6 - 20 ft. tall with reddish-brown bark and formidable thorns. Small white flowers in flat topped clusters in late spring are followed by red fruits that ripen to black. The fruits are highly attractive to birds. Plant in full sun to partial shade with regular to moderate water. This shrub tends to sucker and could be encouraged to form a thicket. Or, amenable to pruning, it can be trained into a slender tree.
Cyclamen hederifolium  hardy cyclamen
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Cyclamen hederifolium

(hardy cyclamen)

Native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe, this tough and durable perennial is perfectly adapted to our California climate where it thrives in light shade and dryish conditions. Prolific fall bloomer with white to pink "v" shaped blossoms with swept back petals on 4-6 inch stems. Heart shaped leaves follow often with beautiful patterns variegation forming clumps to around 6 inches tall by a foot or so wide.  The foliage grows through the winter and spring going dormant with the dryness of summer, waiting to remerge with flowers in early autumn. Plant in light shade with moderate to infrequent summer water and woodsy, well drained soils.  Quite drought tolerant in coastal areas. Perfect for the rock garden, under trees and shrubs and a fine container subject too.  
Cynoglossum grande  Western hound's tongue
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Cynoglossum grande

(Western hound's tongue)

From woodlands throughout Northern and Central California comes this alluring bluebells relative. Dainty flower clusters ranging in color from periwinkle blue to lavender appear on slender stalks in the spring. The leaves are what gives this plant its name: grey-green and tongue-shaped, emerging in the winter from basal roots. Plant in bright shade and don’t water once established. Needs decent drainage. Once this plant goes to seed it will go dormant, re-emerging in late winter. A great accent plant for under the dry shade of deciduous oaks.

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Danthonia californica

(California oatgrass)

California oatgrass is a native bunchgrass found throughout mountains and coast ranges in both open and partly shaded areas. Forms dense leafy tufts with flower stalks of nodding spikelets to 1 1/2 ft. tall. Not to be confused with the invasive alien wild oats, this native makes a good basic grass for a meadow planting. Withstands trampling and traffic. Good for soil stabilization. Sun to very light shade. Little to no summer water once established. Deer resistant.
Darmera peltata  umbrella plant, indian rhubarb
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Darmera peltata

(umbrella plant, indian rhubarb)

Native to mountain streamsides of Northern California and Oregon. A spectacular plant for pond, stream, moist woodland, or anywhere there is regular moisture and lightly shaded conditions. The lovely pink flower clusters on tall naked stems are the first to emerge in the spring. Next the very large bright green round leaves on sturdy stalks unfurl, reaching a height of up to 4 ft.. The foliage turns yellow in the fall and dies back to chunky rhizomes in the winter. A bold and beautiful flowering and foliage plant. Does well in containers too. 
Darmera peltata - dwarf form  umbrella plant, indian rhubarb
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Darmera peltata - dwarf form

(umbrella plant, indian rhubarb)

This is a surprising dwarf form of the moisture loving umbrella plant. The normally large round leaves of this species are dramatically reduced in height and width in this novel selection. Only about 1 1/2 ft. tall with leaves 8 - 10 inches wide. Deep pink flower clusters, unusually dark for the species, emerge on slender stems in spring and are soon followed by the bright green leaves. The foliage turns yellow in the fall and dies back to chunky rhizomes in the winter. A nice compact alternative for the smaller garden with part shade and regular moisture. Does well in containers. 

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Delosperma 'Kelaidis'

(aka 'Mesa Verde')

Vigorous, cold tolerant succulent from South Africa. This hybrid from the Denver Botanic Garden grows 2 inches tall by 1 - 2 ft. wide. Blooms over a long period - spring through fall, with 1 1/2 inch pale salmon-pink flowers. Full sun to light afternoon shade. Good drainage with moderate summer water. Excellent container plant too.

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Delosperma congestum 'White Nugget'

A clump forming hardy succulent from South Africa. Forms tight mats of closely packed foliage which spread slowly. Abundant flowers are soft white with yellow centers and bloom over a long period in mid spring. Requires good drainage, full sun and occasional water.  Afternoon shade in hot areas is helpful. An excellent rock garden or container subject.

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Delosperma nuigenum 'Basutoland'

(ice plant)

Thanks to the Berkeley Botanic Garden for sharing this ground hugging perennial from South Africa. Forms a dense, flat mat of succulent leaves 2 to 3 ft. wide. Cheerful golden yellow one inch flowers decorate the bright green foliage in the spring. A tough and durable groundcover for sun to very light shade, good drainage and moderate to little water once established. An excellent choice for a rock garden or container. Drought tolerant.

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Delosperma sphalmanthoides

A real cutie, growing only 1/2 inch high by 8 inches wide. The tiny plump gray-green succulent leaves form a small mat with an early spring show of bright pinkish-purple flowers. An excellent rock garden item with good drainage, full sun to light afternoon shade in hottest areas and moderate to little summer water. Good container plant too.
Dendromecon harfordii  island bush poppy
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Dendromecon harfordii

(island bush poppy)

A beautiful and much sought after shrub native to California’s Channel Islands. Growing 6 - 10 ft. tall with bluish-gray foliage and a showy display of brilliant yellow poppy blossoms - spring into early summer, with scattered flowers throughout the year in mild climates. Requires full sun, good drainage, and little to no irrigation once established.
Dendromecon rigida  bush poppy
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Dendromecon rigida

(bush poppy)

This is our local bush poppy, growing 4 - 8 ft. tall with bluish-gray foliage and a showy display of brilliant yellow poppy blossoms from spring into early summer. Scattered flowers may be seen throughout the year in mild climates. The leaves are narrower than those of the island bush poppy and the plant has a more open form. Requires full sun, good drainage, and little to no irrigation once established.
Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. cespitosa  tufted hairgrass
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Deschampsia cespitosa ssp. cespitosa

(tufted hairgrass)

Tufted hairgrass has a large natural distribution, in both the northern and southern hemispheres, in high elevation mountains as well as lower elevations along the coast. The seed for this crop is from coastal Sonoma County, a good choice for low elevation gardens. Forms a deep-green bunch of finely textured blades up to one foot tall with airy flower panicles extending two foot or more above the foilage. Useful framework among wildflowers or with perennials and shrubs. Sun to light shade and a little summer water. Deer resistant.

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