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Water conservation: how did Californians do after mandate?

The latest water conservation number just came in.  In August, Californians reduced water usage by 17.7% vs. 2013, 35% less than what was achieved last August (27%). P1 This continued the trend since June, when the state conservation mandate ended and the new flexible local targets set in.  It June the water saving declined to 21.5% from 27.5%, and in July from 31.3% to 20%. P3 While both June and July numbers declined versus one year ago, the 17.7% in August was the first time that the reduction dipped below 20%, the worst showing for any summer and fall months since last year.  This is concerning, especially when it looks California may head into its 6th consecutive drought year. P2

California Water Conservation Mandate

In April 2015, facing California’s historical 4 year drought, Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order making it mandatory that statewide urban water use be reduced by 25% compared with 2013 levels starting June 2015.  Right after that, the State Water Board adopted an emergency regulation, requiring an immediate 25 percent reduction in overall potable urban water use. Since the mandate started, Californians stepped up their conservation efforts, and statewide water conservation immediately jumped from 13.7% in April, to 29.0% in May, which more than doubled the April figure.  The conservation maintained at above 20% levels every month, until the cold and rainy winter months from December to February. Overall,  the statewide water savings for the twelve months from June 2015 to May 2016 was 24.5 percent, when the mandate was effective.  After the mandate, from Jun to Aug 2016, each month’s reduction is lower than this level.

New Water Conservation Regulation – No Statewide Mandate

In May 2016, with impressive water saving achievements for a whole year, and a close-to-normal winter rainfall volume brought by El NiNo, the state’s Water Board revised the emergency water conservation regulations. Instead of a statewide mandate, urban water agencies have the ability to set their own conservation standards based on a “stress test” of supply reliability.  They are now required to reduce potable water use in a percentage equal to their projected shortfall in the event of three more dry years. After this more flexible approach was implemented, though water saving continued at 20% levels for two months, they declined from those of a year ago.  Now, with the lower than expected 17.7% in August, the Water Board indicated this is a “yellow flag” and will closely monitor the situation.

Continue with Water Conservation

IMG_9797[1] It is clear we need to continue with water conservation.  Limit outdoor watering, as about half of water consumed by Californians are used outdoors.  Replace the lawn with a water efficient garden.  Calculate how much water you can save here. A water efficient garden can not only save water, but be beautiful as well. Take a look at some of the gardens ; browse these drought tolerant plants. Find ideas and inspirations from the blog. P10

Grow Beautifiul Drought Tolerant Plants For Bees

Whenever you wander in a garden or wild flowers in nature, chances are, you will see bees working on the flowers.  It is a beautiful picture we are all familiar with since when we were little kids: the buzz, the black and yellow beeline, the flying, from one flower to another. A bee on a flower It is not just a picture to enjoy, those little bees actually create huge values for us when they are busy feeding on the flowers.

Huge Value Created by Bees

Bees visit flowers for their pollen and nectar, which are their food, just like bread and meat are our food.  In the process, bees transfer pollen, produced by the male part of a flower, to the female part, enabling fertilization to take place. With successful fertilization, seeds are produced, allowing the next generation of the plant to grow and reproduce. For fruit trees, since the seeds are surrounded by fruit, the fertilization also will result in fruit.  Without pollination and subsequent fertilization, the trees will not bear fruits. As you can see, bees are extremely important for so many things we use in daily life.  Wearing a pair of cotton jean?  Give thanks to bees, as they are the ones that pollinate the cotton crop.  Ate an apple today? Thanks to bees again for pollinating the tree. Bees pollinate 75% of world’s main crops.  According to USDA, bees pollinate an estimated $15 billion or more of American crops per year. It is hard to imagine a world without the bees pollinating all those crops! Bee on a Sunflower

Bee On the Decline

For something so important for us, unfortunately, the bee’s population has been on a decline.  While we are not sure of the main cause yet, the loss of the habitat, pesticides, disease,  and climate change (mismatch of the timing of flowers and when the bees need them)  may all have played some role.

Help Bees By Planting

One thing we can all do to help out the bees is grow plants in our garden that bees like and can visit all year round.  That can offset the loss of their habitat, and provide them the food when they need them.  If enough such plants are grown in our gardens, hopefully it can stem the bee’s decline and restore their population to close to previous levels. These plants are the ones that bees like.  They are all magnets for bees. Good news is, not only do the bees love them, they are also very drought tolerant – they all qualify for Santa Clara Water District’s Rebate Program. By planting them, you will not only help the bees, but also conserve water! As we should continue to conserve water, and are encouraged to replace the lawn with drought tolerant plants, now is a good time to plant some of these beautiful plants. Jerusalem Sage A bee on a a flower Lavender

Lavender
Bees on a Lavender

California Poppy A bee on a California Golden Poppy California Lilac Bees on a California Lilac Bottlebrush Bottlebrush Echium Bees on an Echium In summary, planting native plants will not only provide food to bees who badly need it, but also conserve water and add color and beauty to your yard.  Happy planting!    

Echium: Color and Drama for a Water Efficient Garden

Echium Want color and drama in a water efficient garden?  Consider Echium. At 6-8 feet tall when fully grown, their big spikes are like flower towers in a garden.  With them in the picture, there is no chance a garden is plain and dull. Water Efficient Plant Echium originates from North Africa and nearby islands in Atlantic Ocean. They are well adapted to the climate there, and are drought tolerant. The type of Echium that we see most often, as in the picture above and below, is called “Purple Tower Echium”. 2016-03-20-15h43m56 Another type we can see is “Tower of Jewels”, which sports pink flowers, instead of the purple blue ones of “Purple Tower Echium”. Both types are drought tolerant, and qualify for Santa Clara Water District’s Landscape Rebate Program.  Once established, they need only a little water. 2016-03-20-15h43m21 This is another type of Echium, “Pride of Madeira”.  It originates from the island Madeira, off the northwest coast of Africa (Madeira is part of Portugal). “Pride of Madeira”, in Barcelona, Spain 2016-04-10-10h56m33 Bees’ Favorite Plant Echium’s flowers attract bees, making it also a great choice for a bee garden.  If you want to build a garden that attract bees, birds and butterflies, this is one of those plants! Echium_4 Echium_6 Planting  Echium can grow to be very tall and wide, so plan for a rather big pocket of space.  Plant them in a group, match with other medium and low height plant groups.  The grouping will also make it better for bees if a bee garden is desirable.  The bloom time is from spring to summer. Full sun is required.  Water until establish, then only very little watering is needed. So, if you are planning for a water efficient garden, and have quite some space, if you enjoy those bold colors and tall towers, you can choose some “Purple Tower Echium” or “Tower of Jewels”! Echium_7  

Santa Clara Landscape Rebate Program First Step – Pre-Inspection

IMG_2350 Got a yellow lawn and live in Santa Clara county, California?  Now is the perfect time to replace it with a water efficient garden.  Not only will you get rid of the eyesore, but also receive some rebate cash provided all the requirements are met for the new landscape.  The Santa Clara Landscape Rebate program is open now, providing $1/square feet for the lawn replacement (see full details).  Seize the opportunity and take the first step – schedule a pre-inspection. After you call the number listed on the rebate program, the water company will schedule an appointment for you.  When the time comes, someone from the water company will show up at where the lawn is at. Pre-Inspection  At the pre-inspection, first, the water company person will decide which areas qualify for receiving the rebate, which ones don’t. According to the program, “areas to be converted must include approved high water using landscape at the time of pre-inspection…In response to the drought, lawns that are dead, brown, yellow or green all qualify as long as the lawn is still physically onsite. Sites do not need to maintain a green, living lawn in order to qualify for the rebate program as long as the dead or stressed lawn was still onsite at the time of the pre-inspection and has not been removed.” These areas qualify.  While the lawns are already brown, they are still physically on site. DSC_0305 DSC_0312 These areas do not qualify, as they have not been lawns: NQ1 NQ2 Second, the water company person will measure all the areas that qualify, and come to the “Total Irrigated Turf Square Feet”.  This is what the $1/square feet replacement rebate will be based off, provided the replacement finishes in time and meets all the requirements. Then he showed us all the documents for the application, and went over the key items one by one.  The documents include an Application Form, a Information Packet, a Qualifying Plant List, and a W-2 Form (for the part of rebate that will qualify as personal income). The next steps is to fill in the information required on the Application Form, mail or email it, then receive the Notice to Proceed from the water company. Submit the Application Form The key information to be entered on Application Form before one can submit include:

  1. “diagram or set of plans” for the landscape.

The diagram can be a just a  sketch of the yard and where the plants will be placed.  To see some design of the gardens, see Garden Photos. 2.  plant list, each plant’s coverage value, and the total plant coverage (square feet). To receive the rebate, the old lawn needs to be replaced  “with a minimum of 50 percent plant coverage consisting of low water using plants from the water district’s Approved Plant List. ”  For example, if the lawn’s total area is 1,000 square feet, then at least 500 square feet needs to be covered by plants from the “Qualifying Plant List” provided. To see what some of the plants on the list are like and their coverage, visit Water Efficient Plants IMG_2361 Notice to Proceed Once the application is sent, the next step is wait for the Notice to Proceed.  When it is received, the replacement project can kick off.  The project needs to be finished within 90 days from when the Notice is received, with 2 possible extensions for a total of 180 days. This beautiful garden was one of the those that applied for the program and successfully received the rebate. Schedule a pre-inspection now and build a great water efficient garden! Connect with us on Facebook if you have any questions. B2                          

Santa Clara Landscape Rebate Program Open Till End of Year

Comparison Good news for owners of single family home or other properties in Santa Clara county who want to replace their lawn – the Santa Clara Landscape Rebate program is open and accepting application now. Per California Department of Water Resources, “outdoor landscaping is the single largest use of water in the typical California home. In most of our yards, grass consumes the most water, so reducing or eliminating how much grass we have in our landscapes can make a significant impact on the state’s water use.” p5rec The Santa Clara Landscape Rebate Program To encourage the replacement of lawn with drought-tolerant landscape, some local water agencies provide a rebate program.  The Santa Clara Water District provided such a program early last year, then stopped when the funds depleted.  Now, with the arrival of new funds, the program was reinstated on July 1, 2016. Anyone who own such properties in Santa Clara county are eligible to apply for the rebate:  “Santa Clara County single family homes, multi-family and business properties with qualifying irrigated landscape (i.e. irrigated turf or functional swimming pool) can receive rebates for replacing high water using landscape, such as irrigated turf grass, with a minimum of 50 percent plant coverage consisting of low water using plants from the water district’s Approved Plant List.” The rebate amount for lawn replacement for a single family home is $1/square foot.  See details here Rebate Application Procedure The whole application process run like this:

  1.  Property owner call to schedule a pre-inspection;
  2. An inspection will be performed; if approved, the owner can submit a Request for Application Form;
  3. After the Form is submitted, receive a written Notice to Proceed;
  4.  With the Notice to Proceed, purchase materials and start the project.  Projects must be completed within 90 days of date on written Notice to Proceed.
  5. Another inspection will be performed; if all the requirements are met, the rebate will be processed and sent to the owner.

A4 When to Apply Rebate applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The program will end on Dec 31, 2016, which means there are only 3 months left.  Anyone interested should submit their applications as soon as possible. The plants used for the the new landscape must be on the water district’s Approved Plant List.   Check out some the plants on the list, with their photos here P4

“Severe Drought, Limit Outdoor Watering”

(Published on Sept 1, 2016) “Severe drought”  This is what we kept seeing when we were on our way to Tahoe for a weekend camping trip 2 weeks ago.   Throughout the 4 hour drive, we could see the same sign, from east Bay all the way to Tahoe: Severe Drought Severe Drought

California is still in a severe drought

Yes, we are still in a drought, as one can see in the Drought Monitor below. California drought In the previous 4 years from 2012-2015, the state was in an unprecedented drought.   The water content in California’s snow pack was only half or 1/3 of the normal level, in 2015 it was as low as 5%! Last winter, with El Nno, California received a decent amount of rainfall. Many of us thought, or hoped, all those rains could end the drought. Unfortunately, they did not.  While the rainfall was much better than the previous 4 years,and did bring the water content in snow pack back to 86% level, 4 years of drought was too much for one year of rainfall to fix.  A couple major reservoirs in the state are still at levels lower or much lower than average (36% -48%). CASnowPack

We still need to conserve water

In April 2015 Governor Jerry Brown declared a state emergency, making it mandatory that statewide urban water use be reduced by 25%.  Since then, Californians have done a pretty good job conserving water, cumulatively saved an average of 24.2% from June 2015-June 2016. Now, facing the still serious drought situation, Californians are asked to continue to conserve water.  Instead of a statewide target, each water supplier are now required to reduce water use in a percentage equal to their projected shortfall in the event of three more dry years.  For Santa Clara Water District, the target is 20%.  In other words, all households in the Santa Clara district are required to reduce water use by 20% this year. CAWaterSaving

Limit outdoor watering is the most effective way

Outdoor watering for a lawn typically accounts for half or more of an household’s total water use; to convert a lawn to a water efficient garden is the most effective way to conserve water.   Use this calculator to find out how much water you can save by converting.  Browse www.waterefficientgarden.com for designs and ideas. For a lawn of 500 square feet, it can take as much as 4000 gallons of water in a month; if it is replaced with a water efficient garden, 30% to 80% of water can be saved.  Suppose the original household water usage is 8000 gallons a month, and the garden saves 50% of water, the total water usage will reduce to 6000 gallons, a 25% saving versus with the lawn. comparison2 Water Content and Snow Survey We had a great time camping in lake Tahoe.  After a lot of swimming and playing at the beach, we decided to go for a hike.  When we reached Mont Rose and were getting ready to start, I saw this at the parking lot area: IMG_0358[1] So…this is the birthplace for snow survey!  It is here, on Mt. Rose, back in 1905, “Dr. James Church established one of America’s first high-altitude meteorological observatories… and carried out his famed snow studies and developed the modern science of snow survey.  Dr. Church’s Nevada System of Snow Survey is used throughout the world today to predict seasonal water flow from precipitation stored as snow pack. ” It is based on this method, or the water content in snow pack across the state that the “severe drought” status for California today was determined.   In other words, something that was invented in Tahoe led to the signs on the way here over 100 years later…things have come a full circle, in a rather terrific way. Well, it is good that we have a method to predict and determine drought; more importantly, we need to do all we can to conserve water and reach our target. With effort and effective ways like water efficient gardens,  we can surely achieve that. Water Efficient Garden Conversion                  

10 Drought Tolerant Plants for a Beautiful Garden

Plant18 When I came across this small park in a quiet residential area in Menlo Park, I was amazed by its smart design and selection of plants.  All the plants are not only beautiful, but also native, drought tolerant that qualify for Santa Clara’s District’s Landscape Rebate Program.  This  is a nice garden and park in one,  a place where people can relax and enjoy a quite moment.  It is also a place that we might learn one thing or two when we are thinking about designing our own garden. The park is designed by Mara Young (landscape architect), and constructed by Janet Bell & Associates. P2 The park can be thought as comprising of two parts: the main area that is centered around an artificial turf, and the side area. For the main area, it can further be divided into front, left, center, back and right areas. P4a The Front of the Main Area The main area has two rather wide entrances, one on each side.  The plants between the two entrances serve as a nice low wall for the space. P6 At the right end of the wall is a nice display of plants, accentuated with a rock. P8 On the left are three Kangaroo’s Paws, with an orange blossom one in the middle and two green ones on each side.  Behind them are some catmints in purple blossom, and rosemary in a tall green bush.  Together they form this background that the blossom of Kangaroo’s Paws contrast nicely against.  The combo of all the colors  make for a pretty and warm welcome.  In addition, since Kangaroo’s Paw and all other plants are native, drought tolerant ones, by having them as the welcome plants, they make it clear this is a water efficient garden with natural beauty. P10 On the other end of the wall, it is the same combination – Kangaroo’s Paw against rosemary.  The consistency is a nice touch. P12 This is the outside view of the wall.   The main body is comprised of rosemary and catmint.  High and low, green and purple: simple yet elegant. P14 From the inside of the wall, some Lamb’s Ears grow in the middle spot.  The thick leaves add texture; the purple flowers, when it blossoms, are consistent with the color of those for catmint. P16 Overall, the front of the main area is made up mainly of rosemary and catmint, with Kangaroo’s Paw and Lamb’s Ear as decoration plants.  The major color theme is green, purple and some orange. The Center and Left of the Main Area The center area is an open space around an artificial turf.  In this space,  people can take a walk, talk to other people, or walk their dogs. P18 On the left, there is a small sitting area.  The rocks add a casual feel and mental boundary, while also serving as seats when needed. P20 Behind the sitting area, the tall bushes of rosemary, Matilija Poppy, Lindheimer Muhly form a wall that blocks out views from the street and neighboring houses and gives the space privacy.   Lamb’s Ear and catmints on the ground add variety.  Here the major color theme is white, light beige and some purple, against the green background. P22 The Back and Right of the Main Area This area is a long thin area which is filled out by a couple of big bushes: Large Cape Rush, Lindheimer Muhly, Russian Sage, and Jerusalem Sage.  Each bush sports a different color that makes the space  pretty and fun:  (from left to right) the brown of the Large Cape Rush, the light brown of Lindheimer Muhly , the purple of Russian Sage, Jerusalem Sage (off bloom season), and the orange of the Lion’s Tail. P24 P26 The Jerusalem Sage is off season now and trimmed down;  couple months ago, when it was in full blossom, it boasted of very pretty and unique yellow flowers, filling  up the space with a lovely view.  Not only is it pretty, the sage is also very drought tolerant and needs very little water. P28 At that time, the Kangaroo’s Paw and Russion Sage next to it, did not blossom yet;  now they do, what a splendid view!   With these three plants together, there is good blossom to enjoy here at this corner throughout most of the year. The tall bushes of Lion’s Tail, Russian Sage, Mitilija Popply, Lindheimer Muhly and Feather Grass form a colorful block, rounding out the back of of main area.  The bright organe color of Lion’s Tail rhymes with that of the Kangaroo’s Paw in the front. The major colors for the back area are brown, purple, yellow, and orange. P30 The right of the main area is a strip of plants along the right border of the park, decorated with two rocks.  Green bushes provide the backbone of the block, with a splash of color from a Lion’s Tail (orange), Large Cape Rush (brown), lantana (purple) and verbena(purple).  The big white flowers of Mitilija Poppy far back also add to the colors.  Here the color theme are consistent with the other areas: brown, orange, and purple. P32 The Side Area This is a long piece of space on the left of the main area.  No park like space here, just a garden.  It is filled with the same native, drought tolerant plants as in the main area: Mitilija Poppy, Feather Grass, Russian Sage and Lion’s Tail.  The pretty blossom of each plant turn a pice of bare land into a beautiful view. P34 P2 Summary This is a lovely park and garden in one, a perfect place for the community to take a break and relax. When I was walking around the park, these things stood out in my mind in terms of design: The plants: all of them are native, drought tolerant plants, conserving water while providing a beautiful space. The colors:  the main colors of orange, puple, brown, light beige and white  run across all the different areas of the park with some variations, giving it a consistent yet lively feel. The shape: No a straight line or corner in the park (except the 2 side borders of the turf);  all lines are framed naturally by the plants, which goes in harmony with the native plants and the “natural” vibe of the park. Here are the major plants in the garden and their names: Native, Drought Tolerant Plants Native, Drought Tolerant Plants

  1. Matilija Poppy
  2. Jerusalem Sage
  3. Kangaroo’s Paw
  4. Lion’s Tail
  5. Verbena
  6. Lindheimer Muhly
  7. Catmint
  8. Russian Sage
  9. Large Cape Rush
  10. Lamb’s Ear

 

Kangaroo’s Paw: Add Color and Fun to Your Garden

Even if you did not know what a Kangaroo’s Paw (Anigozanthus) looks like, when you see one, you will know instantly that must be it.  Those paws are hard to miss! Kangaroo's Paw Kangaroo’s Paw not only has a fun name, but also fun colors – red, golden, green, yellow.  Tall (up to 20 feet), unusual flower structure, nice form with branches, and yes, those bright, pretty colors – all these make it a favorite for gardeners everywhere in the world. A Drought Tolerant Plant Even better, Kangaroo’s Paw can thrive with very little water.  Native to South-Western Australia, it is well adapted to the dry desert climate. Once established, it needs very little watering, making it a great plant for any water efficient garden.  It qualifies for Santa Clara Water District Landscape Rebate Program. There are many ways a Kangaroo’s Paw can be planted in a garden.  It can stand on its own as a center piece, or in a group with other colors of Kangaroo’s Paw.  It can also be planted with other plants, such as green or yellow grasses, to make a good contrast and a nice looking corner or stripe. A Focal Point of a Garden A tall, bright colored Kangaroo’s Paw can make a strong statement and become one of the focal points of a garden.  The red paw easily captures one’s attention when one looks at the gardens below. Ka4 Kangaroo's Paw Alone A Group of Kangaroo’s Paws In Different Colors With all the different colors that they boast of, Kangaroo’s Paws can make a big impression when they are planted together.  Here, the red and green ones complement each other and make a welcoming entry to the open area behind. Kangaroo's Paw Group Kangaroo’s Paw With Other Plants Since they are usually tall with bright-colored flowers, Kangaroo’s Paw can go well with plants of full foliage and blossom of another color. Above, you can see they look nice with green foliage and purple blossom. Below is another one with sedge grass. Kangaroo's Paw with Grass   Net, Kangaroo’s Paw is a drought tolerant plant with unique, bright colored flowers.  It can be a great choice for a beautiful water efficient garden.

Wild Flowers on Pacific Coast

Wild flowers are in full bloom on Pacific Coast!  Look at the fields full of wild flowers – what a beautiful view! coastalwildflower2 Native plants grow and thrive in hard coastal environments that are very cold, windy and dry.  When spring and summer come, they will all go into full blossom, turning the field into a huge colorful blanket. Here is the good news – you can plant a lot of these native plants in your garden, so you can enjoy the same blossom from the comfort of your home.  In fact, you are encouraged to plant them, as many of them are drought tolerant, and qualify for Santa Clara Water District’s Rebate Program.  The beautiful yellow and purple flowers in the photo are two such plants.

Golden Yarrow

Native to California, this perennial plant (Eriophyllum confertiflorum)  is well adapted to dry and windy coastal climate.  Very hardy and drought tolerant, you don’t need to water much after they establish.  The golden color is lovely!   Qualifies for the Santa Clara Water District’s Landscape Rebate Program. Golden Yarrow on Pacific Coast Golden yarrow on Pacific Coast Golden yarrow in a garden Golden yarrow in a garden

Common Yarrow

In addition to Golden Yarrow, the white-flowered yarrow also grow and blossom in abundance in the same place.  This kind of yarrow is called Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium & hybrids).  Just like their sister Golden Yarrow, they are also native, very tough and drought tolerant. Another great choice for a garden.

Common Yarrow on Pacific Coast
Common Yarrow on Pacific Coast
Common Yarrow in a garden
Common Yarrow in a garden
Seaside Daisy

As its name indicates, this perennial plant ((Erigeron glaucus) is native to the seaside areas on West Coast.  Tough, drought tolerant, it blooms for a long time (spring to late summer).  It can grow to be 1 feet tall and 2 feet wide.  A great plant for a water efficient garden.  Qualifies for the Santa Clara Water District’s Landscape Rebate Program.

Seaside Daisy on Pacific Coast
Seaside Daisy on Pacific Coast
spring blossom
Seaside Daisy in a garden

A garden with the seaside daisy.

garden
Garden with Seaside Daisy

In summary, if you want to conserve water, and enjoy coastal wild flower beauty in your home, a great way is to plant some of these native plants in your garden!  Find out more info at waterefficientgarden.com  

7 Native Plants Great for Your Garden

7 native plants great for your garden If you go for a hike in one of the state parks or nature preserves in northern California now, chances are, you will see blossoming wild flowers.  They can be as tall as a tree (Matilija Poppy), or as small as a daisy. Standing with flowers of all the different colors and shapes, they make spring come to life.  Wild flowers under blue sky – one of the most beautiful scenes you can see in nature. Benefits of Gardening with Native Plants Native plants are not only beautiful, they are great for gardening.  Adapted to California’s dry and windy environment, they are hardy, strong and can thrive without any care.  There are a lot of benefits of gardening with native plants:

  • Water efficient: these plants do not need that much water; compared to a lawn, a garden with mostly native plants can save a significant amount of water;
  • Low maintenance: they can thrive on their own; no or little care is needed.
  • Attracting butterflies, birds and bees: they sure like the food from the plants that they know well, and you can view them often in addition to the beautiful blossoms.

The native plants below are excellent choices for a garden.  They are all water efficient plants and all qualify for Santa Clara Water District’s Rebate Program. Matilija Poppy What does the flower look like to you?  That is right, a fried egg!  Also named Fried Egg Flower, Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) is native to dry, sunny environments in Southern California and Baja California.  The flower is one of the biggest of any species native to California. Matilija Poppy is very drought tolerant.  It can grow to be 7 feet tall and 28 feet wide.  The flowers usually begin from early spring and can last until late summer. Tree Poppy California Poppy When spring comes, the bright color of California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) lights up hills and open spaces throughout California and other western states.  Easy to grow, drought tolerant, and that golden color – this plant is ideal for a water efficient garden. California Poppy California Lilac  This shrub with dense blue flowers ((Ceanothus spp.) can be seen everywhere in California.  It is very tough and drought tolerant.  It can grow to be 4-6 feet tall. California Lilac Monkey Flower Monkey Flower Monkey Flower (Mimulus spp.)  is a perennial plant native to the west coast areas from Southern Oregon all the way to Baja.  It can grow to be 5 feet tall. In flowering season, the whole plant can be covered with golden blossom, which makes it really stand out. It is quite drought tolerant. Moneky Flower Beach Aster  As its name indicates, this perennial plant ((Erigeron glaucus) is native to the beach areas on the west coast.  Very hardy and drought tolerant, it doesn’t need any care once established, yet flowers for a long time (spring to late summer).  It can grow to be 1 feet tall and 2 feet wide.  This is a great choice for gardens on the west coast. Beach Aster Douglas Iris  The plant with the beautiful flower is native to areas along west coast.  Very easy to care, quite drought tolerant.  It can grow to be 2-3 feet tall.  Another great choice for a water efficient garden. Douglas Iris Yarrow Yarrow This perennial plant (Achillea millefolium) is very easy to grow and drought tolerant.  There are different varieties, with white or yellow blossoms.  They can grow to be 1-3 feet tall and 2-3 feet wide, depending on the variety. They are aromatic and attract butterflies. Golden Yarrow

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