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Full Living Color-All Year-Just About

A California native plant landscape looks great in spring and the rest of the year you have wonderful structure and foliage.  Translation: California native landscapes look great in spring, and look like ah… well… hell the rest of the year. That’s the way it was, with California lilacs, sages, and manzanitas all flowering in spring.  And, oh yeah, there were these California fuchsia things with red flowers that bloom in mid-summer through fall. Not a bad addition for summer/fall, but you needed a lot of them, and you had to like red.

Well, that may have been the way it was, but that’s not the way it has to be. If you adjust your landscape selection and watering just a bit, you can have a native landscape flowering just about all year. Yes, mid-winter can still be a challenge, but not the end of winter.  Take a look at the landscape below.  The picture was taken early fall-lots of stuff in flower.

meadow (2)

There is a “secret” of sorts and that secret is that just about everything flowers in spring, many things flower again in fall, and some flower just about all year.

Ok, well what’s on the list that flowers in spring and again in fall? A few things that flower in both spring and fall are yarrow, hummingbird sage, and some types of California lilac. These are shown below.


To get just about year round color, there are several California natives that we can pick as well as a few Southwest natives that we grow.

Many of these year round bloomers come from the desert, like desert mallows and poppy flowering Abutilons.  The Channel Islands, including Cedros Island, give us some others to add like the island snapdragons and Verbena.


At the nursery, we also grow a few Southwest natives that help with the year round color in the garden too.  These additions work well with our California natives and are easy to grow. Take a look at the chocolate daisy, Southwest desert mallows, and Lemmon’s sage.


The chocolate daisy grows throughout the Southwest and yes, does smell like chocolate.  The Southwest desert mallows flower in a wide range of colors from white to pink to orange and red.  The Lemmon’s sage is a native of New Mexico.

The plants mentioned above are all pretty easy to grow. When they are done flowering, cut them back a little and up come new flowers. This, and a monthly watering, will keep them flowering until it turns cold. Then, they “sleep” for a month or two until early spring, and they’re off again.

Oh, and most entertaining, these plants are also favorites for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies!

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Featured Plant



Botanical Name

Iris 'Wilder Than Ever'

Common Name

Wilder Than Ever


Flower Color

Blue / White

Mature Size

1 to 1-1/2' tall × 1-1/2 to 2' wide

Climactic Requirements


Filtered Sun / Shade


Drought Tolerant / Occasional
Profile Availability

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