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By: Carol Bornstein David Fross Bart O’Brien

Carol Bornstein is one of Southern California’s most highly respected native plant specialists and co-author with David Fross and Bart O’Brien…

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David Fross is one of Southern California’s most highly respected native plant specialists and co-author with Bart O’Brien and Carol Bornstein…

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Bart O’Brien is one of Southern California’s most highly respected native plant specialists and co-author with David Fross and Carol…

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A meadow garden is just one of the many lawn alternatives that are explored in Reimagining the California Lawn: Water-conserving Plants, Practices, and Designs, the latest book from Cachuma Press by the dynamic team of Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and Bart O’Brien. Their previous book is California Native Plants for the Garden (Cachuma Press, 2005). The excerpt that appeared in the January 2010 issue of Pacific Horticulture is adapted from their new book, which is due in spring 2011. The text and list below are also excerpted and adapted from Reimagining the California Lawn.

Selected Plant Palette for Meadow Gardens

The list of possibilities for a meadow garden is practically limitless. In addition to the grasses and herbaceous perennials listed here, consider adding bulbs and annual wildflowers for seasonal color, preferably after the grasses have become established. California poppies (Eschscholzia californica and cultivars), lupines (Lupinus spp. and cultivars), and clarkias (Clarkia spp. and cultivars) are just a few of the many easy-to-grow native annuals from which to choose.

The optimal California climate zones for growing each plant, as outlined in Reimagining the Lawn, appear in brackets after the common name and are abbreviated as follows: c = coastal; i = inland; cv = Central Valley; ld = low desert; hd = high desert; m = mountain; all = all zones. California native plants are noted with an asterisk (*) after the scientific name.

Achillea filipendulina and cultivars,

fernleaf yarrow [all]

A. millefolium* and cultivars (not all are native)

common yarrow [all]

A. ‘Moonshine’

Moonshine yarrow [all]

A. ‘Salmon Beauty’

Salmon Beauty yarrow [all]

A. ‘Taygetea’

Taygetea yarrow [all]

A. ‘Terracotta’

Terracotta yarrow [all]

Agrostis pallens*

dune bent grass [c, i, cv]

Aristida purpurea*

purple three-awn [all]

Artemisia ludoviciana*

Western mugwort [all]

Aster chilensis* and cultivars

coast aster [c, i, cv]

Bellis perennis

English daisy [all except ld]

Bothriochloa barbinodis*

silver beardgrass [c, i, cv]

Bouteloua curtipendula*

side-oats grama [all]

B. gracilis*

blue grama [all]

Buchloe dactyloides and cultivars

buffalo grass [all]

Carex divulsa

Berkeley sedge [c, i, cv, m]

C. flacca

blue sedge [c, i, cv, m]

C. pansa*

dune sedge [c, i, cv]

C. praegracilis*

clustered field sedge [all]

C. subfusca*

mountain sedge [all]

C. texensis

Catlin sedge [c, i, cv]

Deschampsia cespitosa*

tufted hair grass [c, i, cv, m]

D. cespitosa var. holciformis*

Pacific hair grass [c, i, cv, m]

Dierama pendulum

fairy wand [c, i, cv, m]

D. pulcherrimum

fairy wand [c, i, cv, m]

Erigeron glaucus* and cultivars

seaside daisy [c, i, cv]

E. karvinskianus and cultivars

Santa Barbara daisy [c, i, cv, ld]

Eriogonum umbellatum*

sulfur buckwheat [all except ld]

Festuca californica* and cultivars

California fescue [c, i, cv, m]

F. glauca and cultivars

blue fescue [all except ld]

F. idahoensis* and cultivars

Idaho fescue [all except ld]

F. mairei

Maire’s fescue [all except ld]

F. rubra* and cultivars

creeping red fescue [all except ld]

Fragaria chiloensis* and cultivars (not all are native)

beach strawberry [c, i, cv]

F. vesca and cultivars (subsp. californica is native)

woodland strawberry [c, i, cv, m]

Gaura lindheimeri

gaura [all]

Helictotrichon sempervirens

blue oat grass [c, i, cv, m]

Iris arilbred hybrids

arilbred iris [all]

I. douglasiana*

Douglas iris [c, i, cv, m]

I. germanica hybrids

bearded iris [all]

I. Pacific Coast hybrids*

Pacific Coast hybrid iris [c, i, cv, m]

I. spuria

butterfly iris [all]

I. unguicularis

winter iris [c, i, cv]

Lessingia filaginifolia* and cultivars

California aster [c, i, cv]

Leymus cinereus*

Great Basin wild rye [all]

L. condensatus* and cultivar

giant wild rye [c, i, cv]

L. triticoides* and cultivar

creeping wild rye [all except ld]

Muhlenbergia capillaris and cultivars

pink muhly [all]

M. dumosa

bamboo muhly [all except m]

M. emersleyi

bull grass [all]

M. lindheimeri

Lindheimer’s muhly [all except m]

M. pubescens

soft blue Mexican muhly [all except m]

M. rigens*

deer grass [all]

Nassella cernua*

nodding needlegrass [c, i, cv]

N. lepida*

foothill needlegrass [c, i, cv]

N. pulchra*

purple needlegrass [c, i, cv]

Oenothera californica*

California evening primrose [all except coastal]

O. missouriensis

Ozark suncups [all]

O. speciosa and cultivars

Mexican evening primrose [all]

Pennisetum orientale

oriental fountain grass [all except ld]

Sesleria autumnalis

autumn moor grass [all]

S. caerulea

blue moor grass [all except m]

S. ‘Greenlee’s Hybrid’

Greenlee’s Hybrid moor grass [all]

Solidago californica*

California goldenrod [all]

S. canadensis subsp. elongata*

Canada goldenrod [all]

Sphaeralcea ambigua* and cultivars

apricot mallow [all]

S. philippiana

trailing mallow [c, i, cv, ld]

Sporobolus airoides*

alkali sacaton [all]

S. heterolepis

prairie dropseed [all]

S. wrightii

giant sacaton [all]

Stipa gigantea

giant feather grass [c, i, cv]

Verbena bonariensis and cultivar

purple top [all except m]

V. gooddingii*

Goodding’s verbena [all except m]

V. lilacina* and cultivars

Cedros Island verbena [c, i, cv, ld]

V. rigida

vervain [all]

Zauschneria californica* and cultivars

California fuchsia [all]

Z. septentrionalis*

Humboldt County fuchsia [all]

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