February Plant of the Month: California Buckwheat

California Buckwheat
Eriogonum fasciculatum foliolosum


The buckwheats are very important butterfly plants and one of the pillars of their communities. California Buckwheat has a whole community of insects living with the flowers. When I was photographing some of the native bees on the flowers I discovered layers of predators. There was the native bees, the flower flies and wasps, then predators of the flower insects, then insect predators of the predators, and then a bird would show up and eat the predator of the predator, and then a butterfly would fly into the middle of the fray. In a small garden you can set a couple feet away from this shrub (or sub-shrub) and watch 50 or maybe 100 insects interact at one time. It kind of feels like playing Q in Star Trek.

March Plant of the Month: Sticky Monkey Flower

Sticky or Shrubby Monkey Flower

Native to Oregon, California and Baja California.
To 4 1/2 ft. tall and wide, with narrow 1 1/2 inch long sticky dark green leaves. Buff toned orange, 1 3/4 inch flowers bloom over a long spring and summer season.
Mimulus thrive in full sun or partial shade, with little water.

If you visit the SYV Botanic Garden, be sure to look below the rock wall by the kiosk and you will see the Monkey Flowers in full bloom.