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California Native Plant Society

Santa Clara Valley Chapter


FireSafe Gardens - Creating your Defensible Space 8/22/19

property diagram showing three zones of defensible spaceThe GWN talk of August 22, 2019 was a call to action! Eugenia Rendler and Patty Ciesla of the Santa Clara County FireSafe Council gave us useful and sobering information about our responsibilities as homeowners. "Defensible Space" was described: "Home Ignition Zone--0-5' from house: use walkways, inorganic mulches, and a metal gate if fence is attached to the house; "Garden area"--5-30' "keep lean, green and clean", using fewer plants and have them well-spaced; and "Reduced Fuel Zone" 30-100'. With all spaces avoid accumulation of leaves, pine needles, dead branches.

Details can be found on the SCFSC website:

More information on defensible space can be found at FireSafe Marin's Defensible Space page and the University of California Cooperative Extension's Fire in California - Defensible Space page.

A booklet Fire-Safe Demonstration Garden was given out with a map of the demo garden at the CA Dept of Forestry and Fire Protection, 15670 Monterey St, Morgan Hill. (Call to verify hours open.)

Handout from the program:

Leaf burn times of California native plants, (link to original document on the Las Pilitas site)

Native Plants and Pollinator Gardens by Juanita Salisbury

Juanita Salisbury gave this presentation as part of the Gardening with Natives lecture series on August 13, 2019 at the CupertinoLibrary. Native plants are integral to an effective pollinator garden design. Based on functions within the ecosystem, the speaker will explore the interrelationships between plants, pollinators, other insects and animals. The goal is to allow you to design pollinator gardens, thereby leveraging California's wealth of biodiversity into more resilient--and beautiful--landscapes.

Juanita's slides are in PDF format and may be viewed at the following link:

Native Plants for Pollinator Gardens

Link to handout: Recommended Plants for Pollinators & Beneficial Insects - California Central Coast Region.  Courtesy of Xerces Society for Beneficial Insects,

Juanita Salisbury has a Ph.D. in Biopsychology from the University of Florida (1988), as well as a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from West Virginia University (2000). In 2009 she established Juanita Salisbury Landscape Architecture after working for commercial and residential design firms. She has recently turned her focus to California native plant pollinator habitats, and in 2016 established the Primrose Way Pollinator Garden, the first of four pollinator habitat gardens in Palo Alto. Her focus is to research and relay information on of these habitats, as well as to explore opportunities to install more of them.

The Edible Native Garden by Frank Niccoli

Frank Niccoli gave a presentation to Gardening with Natives on September 25, 2018 at the Saratoga Library, Saratoga. The basic plant categories discussed included:

edible native garden slide

  • Soap producing
  • Edible bulbs
  • Grains and leaves
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Berries
  • Edible flowers

Frank's slides, listing each of the plants including notes, are in PDF format and may be viewed in three parts, at the following links.   In order to see the slide's captions (speaker note, including plant names for each slide, mouse over the comment cloud in the upper left-hand side of the slide.

Modern life depends entirely on plants from all over the world, but the plants that nourished the native people of California for thousands of years were only our local plants. Learn what plants these people used for food, medicine, and material sources. You’ll find that the speaker has a passion for California ethnobotany.

Frank Niccoli has been a gardener for over 50 years and is the past president of the founding chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association. He was voted Member of the Year by his peers in 2001 and 2004. He teaches numerous classes at Foothill College.

Aesthetic Pruning and Design for the Native Garden

Aesthetic Pruning and Design for the Native Garden

Aesthetic Pruning and Design for the Native Garden

Rather than pruning plants into abstract forms, learn how the Japanese design with local plants to create some of the most natural looking gardens in the world. Leslie Buck will pull from her memoir, Cutting Back—My Apprenticeship in the Gardens of Kyoto, to illustrate how the Japanese use primarily a native plant palate, how the gardens of Japan evoke the wild landscape, and the tricks Japanese garden craftsmen use to design with native plants over time. She will show images of Kyoto gardens in historic buildings, monasteries, private homes and an emperor’s villa.


Tending Your Native Garden Through The Years

presentation by Peigi Duvall at the Los Altos Library on November 2, 2016


Rain Gardens for Native Plants (11/2/2015)

The season’s first rains are pouring down, running off your roof, down your driveway and into the streets, storm drains, and ultimately to the bay and ocean. What if you could capture that runoff instead and use it for your garden, with the excess percolating downward to recharge our local aquifers and purifying the water as it passes through the soil? Learn how rain gardens keep water on site and can solve drainage issues. Find out what they are, how to construct them, and which California native plants are best suited for them.

Madeline Morrow is the Vice President of our Chapter of CNPS. A former computer programmer, she now volunteers in her community and works extensively on her native garden. Her garden was featured in Bay Nature Magazine in March 2013, and is regularly shown on the Going Native Garden Tour. 


Easy-to-Grow and Drought Tolerant Native Plants

Easy-to-Grow and Drought Tolerant Native PlantsEasy-to-Grow and Drought-Tolerant Native Plants by Nancy McClenny. Presented on October 15, 2015, at the Los Altos Library.

PowerPoint slides




Biodiversity, Native Plants and You

Biodiversity, Native Plants and You

Biodiversity, Native Plants and You

What a home gardener can do to conserve water, save money, and protect the environment

a talk by Arvind Kumar, California Native Plant Society


Phytophthora Effects on Native Habitat Restoration

Phytophthora Effects on Native Habitat Restoration  Phytophthora Effects on Native Habitat Restoration

Greg Lyman of City and County of San Francisco. San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Water Enterprise, Natural Resources and Lands Management Division

Talks about experiences with a restoration that was infected with Phytophthora



Guadalupe Island Regenerating

Guadalupe Island Regenerating by Bart O'Brian    Guadalupe Island Regenerating by Bart O'Brian  
  Volcanic Guadalupe Island, off the coast of Baja California, is the 
furthest outpost of the California floristic province. The focus of 
Bart’s talk will be on the island’s rare, unusual and endemic plants. 


Aesthetic Pruning:Pruning Native Plants

Aesthetic Pruning


Aesthetic Pruning by Jocelyn Cohen
Techniques for pruning plants in a native garden.


Biodiversity and the Native Plant Gardener


Biodiversity and the Native Plant Gardener

What makes California a world hotspot of biodiversity? Why should a home gardener care? Learn about the critical role native plants play in a healthy environment, how human pressures are driving them to the brink of extinction, and what you as a home gardener can do to save and celebrate them.

Arvind Kumar has been gardening with native plants for over 12 years and is a past president of our CNPS Chapter.

The Plant - Rock Connection

plantThe Plant - Rock Connection 

Have you ever gone on a field trip to see a rare plant, or even a common plant that you just want to see? Have you ever thought upon being taken to its site, why is this plant in this location, why not some other nearby location?



Starting a Native Plant Garden during a Drought

Starting a Native Plant Garden during a Drought

Starting a Native Plant Garden During a Drought

Have you ever lost a native plant for no apparent reason soon after planting? Starting a native garden during a drought can be even trickier than when there has been good rainfall. Come to this workshop to learn the right way to plant and care for native plants, even during a drought.

Kevin Bryant is a past president of our Chapter of CNPS and works as a native plant landscape consultant.


Native Buckwheats, Bonbons for Bees

Native Buckwheats, Bonbons for Bees    a talk by Pete VeilleuxNative Buckwheats, Bonbons for Bees

The buckwheat family is a beautiful group of California Native All-Star plants. Buckwheats are host plants and nectar plants for butterflies and moths, and are a bonanza for bees and other pollinators looking for summer food. As if the wildlife value isn’t enough, buckwheats are highly ornamental plants that are very useful and versatile in the garden.


The Lawn Is Dead, Now What?

Be inspired to create a beautiful, water-wise garden! See a variety of no-lawn landscaping styles and ideas. Get professional tips on removing that brown, weed-filled patch called a lawn, learn to choose climate-adapted native plants, and find out how you might still qualify for landscape rebates. A talk by Deva Luna on July 9, 2014.

The handout for the presentation: Alternatives To Lawns

The video for the presentation.


Graywater for California Native Gardens

A talk by Deva Luna.

The handout for the presentation: Graywater in Your Garden




Watershed Friendly Garden Designs

watershed Friendly DesignThis is a presentation to the Going Native Garden Tour. The links in the slideset will be usefull for folks trying to make the most of rain that falls in your garden




California Ethnobotany: Historical Uses of Native Plants


California Ethnobotany: Historical Uses of Native Plants

Join us for a talk explaining the relationship of California native plants to indigenous peoples and how these plants can be used today. John Kipping will tell us how native plants can be used for food, medicine, and material sources, especially for basketry.

John Kipping is a naturalist with a keen interest in sharing his passion and knowledge of the biosphere with the community

Dam the Luck!

Dam the Luck!

Dam the Luck

How the Anderson Dam Seismic Retrofit Has Led to New Insights into the Ecology, Evolution and Conservation of the Coyote Ceanothus (Ceanothus ferrisiae)

Anderson Dam bisects the largest population of the federally endangered coyote ceanothus, a serpentine endemic chaparral shrub. In order to mitigate for impacts to coyote ceanothus from the dam retrofit, a new population must be created.

Janell Hillman is a botanist at the Santa Clara Valley Water District, where she has worked for 15 years.

Manzanitas -- Quintessentially California

manzatitasManzanitas -- Quintessentially California

a talk by Pete Veilleux a master designer, nurseryman and photographer.

He can be reached through his web site,

Native Meadows

Native Meadows Native meadows, a talk by Alex Von Feldt 





Landscaping Around Oaks

Landscaping Around Oaks Landscaping Around Oaks

PDF handout




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