Virtual Vargas Garden California Native Plant Tour!

Yes, we know ;-)  These guys are new, small, and shy, and have no spring colors, and the woodchips are bigger than some of them. They're still in relocation shock ;-)   We're hoping to come back and photograph them in a year or two to give an idea of their speed of growth and beautiful color.  Until then, this page will keep the label-switching kindergarteners honest.  Stay tuned for updates ;-)



last updated: 05/04/05


Common name: Cedros Island Verbena

Genus: Verbena Species: lilacina Cultivar: "De La Mina" Description/Care:  An evergreen perennial collected from its native Cedros Island. It forms an 18 to 24 inch mound of foliage from which emerge the dark purple, star-shaped flowers with purple stamens. Plants can bloom most of the year with a peak in spring and summer. Although this plant is not native to California proper, the islands of Baja California are considered part of the California floristic province. Full to part sun. Low water needs, but likes some when flowering.  Needs good drainage. Should be cut back to 4" each winter.


Common name: Hummingbird Sage

Genus: Salvia Species: spathacea

Description/Care:  A 1' perennial that spreads by rhizomes. It is native to coastal Ca. from Napa to Orange. The flowers are magenta, 1" long with 10-20 flowers on a 1-2' spike. It is native in a rainfall range of 20-35".  Water extra in winter and trim it lightly in late summer if it looks tacky


Common name: Sand Strawberry

Genus: Fragaria Species: chiloensis

Description/Care:  A spreading perennial ground cover with small white flowers, March-Aug.  Likes some water and part shade. Native to coastal bluffs and sand dunes in Calif.

Common name: California Buckwheat

Genus: Eriogonum Species: fasciculatum Variety: foliolosum

Description/Care: A low rounded evergreen shrub that can spread to 4'; also considered a herbaceous perennial. Will get terminal clusters of pinkish white fuzzy flowers; long bloom period, March-November.  Very widespread; found on rocky south facing slopes of the Mojave, Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts; elevations of 1000-4500ft.  Likes full sun; sprawls unattractively in low light. A better ornamental with a little water.  Cut back mid winter to encourage herbaceous growth over woody look.

Special Uses/Qualities: The buckwheats are very important butterfly plants. The flowers, leaves and seeds are all used by all the smaller animals.


Common name: Narrow-Leaf Milkweed

Genus: Asclepias Species: fascicularis

Description/Care: Perennial, 3-4' tall, showy  pink flowers button-like flowers in the spring.  Will seed itself freely.  Needs sun, and is quite drought tolerant.  Needs cross-pollination for fruit and seed development.


Common name: Dara's Choice Sage

Genus: Salvia  Cultivar: Dara's Choice

Description/Care:  A hybrid between Salvia mellifera and Salvia sonomensis, it grows 3' tall and 3' across and produces beautiful, fragrant blue flowers. Very fast growing.  Likes some summer water.

8 (see 5)

Common name:California Buckwheat

Genus: Eriogonum Species: fasciculatum Variety: foliolosum


Common name:Winifred Gilman Sage

Genus: Salvia  Species: clevelandi Cultivar: Winifred Gilman

Description/Care:  Evergreen shrub, 3' height, 3' width, with flowers lavender to blue.    Fast growing, likes sun to partial sun and is drought tolerant.  Extremely fragrant and showy with mounding/upright growth.  Native to dry slopes in San Diego County.


Common name: Howard McMinn Manzanita 

Genus: Arctostaphylos Species: densiflora

 Description/Care: The plants have very small white flowers with red stems and they are easy to care for in most gardens. Grow 4' tall, 6' wide and can tolerate sun or shade.  It likes limited root moisture.

Special Uses/Qualities:  Moths, hummingbirds, butterflies and all sorts of other native wildlife like the plant.



Common name:Carmel Mountain Lilac

Genus: Ceanothus Species: griseus Variety: horizontalis Cultivar: Yankee Point

Description/Care: An evergreen shrub that commonly grows quickly to 3-6' feet tall and 10' wide. A mounding mass of glossy green with gorgeous blue flowers in Mar-May. Likes some afternoon shade and little water each week

14 (see 9)

Common name: Winifred Gilman Sage

Genus: Salvia  Species: clevelandi Cultivar: Winifred Gilman

 Common name(s): Sea Breeze Seaside Daisy

Genus: Erigeron Species: glaucus Cultivar: Sea Breeze

Description/Care: Pretty, blue-flowering perennial that likes some summer water.

Special Uses/Qualities:  Butterflies really like this plant.


Common name: California Wax Myrtle

Genus: Myrica Species: californica

Description/Care: An evergreen shrub or tree to 15'. Native to the immediate coast of Calif., Ore., Wash.  Needs good drainage, some summer water, and can tolerate sun to part shade.


 Common name: Soap Plant

Genus: Chlorogalum Species: pomeridianum

Description/Care: Bulb, 2' loose spike of small white flowers , May-Aug, sun, drought tolerant.

Special Uses/Qualities: Bulbs may be eaten when roasted (soapy onion), bulb used as soap.


Common name: Island Snapdragon

Genus:  Galvezia Species:  speciosa Cultivar: "Boca Rosa"

Description/Care: This California native sub shrub forms a dense mound with arching stems reaching to 4 feet tall. In the summer through early fall it produces tubular bright red flowers that resemble small snapdragon flowers. Plant in full sun to moderate shade in well-drained soil. It is drought tolerant, especially if planted in shade.


Common name: Island Alum Root

Genus: Heuchera Species: maxima

Description/Care: A 2' wide perennial with 3-5" dark green leaves and 3' spikes of small pinkish flowers that emerge in Feb.-Apr. Native to the Channel Islands. It likes part to full shade, and is quite drought tolerant.

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