The CNPS SCV Native Plant Lecture Series has something for everyone -- whether you're curious about native plants, an experienced or aspiring native plant gardener or a professional botanist, you will find something to interest and educate you in our offerings. From gardening to plant science to conservation to tours of botanical hot spots, if you're interested in California's native plants, there's something here for you. Most of our lectures are on Wednesday evening. Our talks are live presentations followed by Q&As with the viewing audience. They are live streamed simultaneously to Zoom and YouTube.
View past talks on our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/CNPSSantaClaraValley
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 7:30pm
Maintaining Your Native Plant Garden, a panel talk
Winter is a time of renewal for native plant gardens. As we hope for winter rain, we are also on the alert for the weeds they bring while taking advantage of the cooler temperatures and moisture to plant, prune, and take care of other important gardening tasks. Stephanie Morris, Lior Dahan, Patricia Evans and Madeline Morrow will share their winter garden maintenance routines. Bring your questions and any ideas you may want to share with others during a group discussion, and get your garden ready for spring!
Stephanie Morris is a landscape architect focused on creating designs that respond to ecology, aesthetics, and functionality with emphasis on native plants, healthy soil, water-conservation, and environmentally-conscious materials.. Lior Dahan has a degree in environmental horticulture and owns Rhythmic Gardening, an ecological garden maintenance company with a focus on working with nature to heal soil, grow healthy plants, and appreciate the wildlife in our gardens. Patricia Evans, owner of Natural Landscape Design, specializes in native plants and sustainable landscaping. Madeline Morrow is a past President of our CNPS Chapter and current board member. Her garden was featured in Bay Nature magazine in March 2013 and has been on the Going Native Garden Tour for many years.
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 7:30pm
Gardening for Biodiversity with Native Plants, a talk by Shelkie Tao
Native gardens provide so many benefits. They are beautiful, low water, low maintenance and support a wide variety of wildlife. A major advantage of native gardens is that they can be a great place to help us preserve biodiversity.
California is a hotspot of biodiversity: it “is home to more species of plants and animals than any other state, and is home to about one third of all species found in the United States, including more rare plants than most states have plants.” However, “More than 30% of California’s species are threatened with extinction.”
The good news is that our gardens can help restore and preserve biodiversity. By planting a wide variety of native plants, including those that are facing extinction, native plant gardens can support plant biodiversity while supporting a large number of insects, pollinators and other forms of wildlife. In this meeting, Shelkie will talk about the biodiversity benefits of native plants, and go through some of the plants she uses in the gardens she designed.
Shelkie Tao is landscape designer and founder of WaterEfficientGardens.com, an online landscape design business that excels in low water and native plant garden designs. She is a sustainability-driven entrepreneur committed to developing water-saving and ecosystem-friendly solutions. Prior to Water Efficient Gardens, Shelkie worked over 10 years in the high tech industry in Silicon Valley. She received her Certificate of Achievement in Environmental Horticulture and Design from Foothill College, and MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021 7:30pm
The Natural History of San Bruno Mountain, a talk by David Nelson and Doug Allshouse
San Bruno Mountain is possibly the best undiscovered natural area in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Thirteen rare and endangered plants, including six endemics, call the mountain their home. Four federally threatened or endangered butterflies live and breed here, the only place on Earth where they all co-exist. All told, there are 42 species of butterflies, 200 species of birds, 16 mammals, 13 reptiles and 6 amphibians.
San Bruno Mountain is possibly the best undiscovered natural area in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Thirteen rare and endangered plants, including six endemics, call the mountain their home. Four federally threatened or endangered butterflies live and breed here, the only place on Earth where they all co-exist. All told, there are 42 species of butterflies, 200 species of birds, 16 mammals, 13 reptiles and 6 amphibians.The mountain is a mélange of plants, vertebrates, and invertebrates that celebrate the incredible diversity that once existed within our state; a diversity that is vanishing at an astonishing rate, but that is being fiercely protected by people who simply refuse to allow it to disappear on the mountain. This talk will show you some of the natural wonders of this State and County Park and federallyprotected nature reserve and biological hotspot.
David Nelson is an orthopedic hand surgeon who has long been a student of nature. He took a CNPS tour of San Bruno Mountain led by Doug Allshouse in 2013 and was hooked by the beauty of the mountain and Doug’s talent for explaining nature. When he proposed doing a book on the mountain to Doug, he discovered that Doug was already working on one and welcomed his participation. Doug Allshouse lives on San Bruno Mountain, 100 feet below the Saddle Trail, and has been exploring, studying, and recording their natural history since 1981. He was a founder and officer of Friends of San Bruno Mountain, beginning in 1996, as well as of the original Mission Blue Nursery in 2001. He has been working on a seven-year project with David Nelson writing an updated flora, The Natural History of the San Bruno Mountains.
Wednesday, February 24, 2021 7:30pm
Taking Close Up Plant ID pictures with a Camera Phone, a talk by Dee Himes
Plant identification in the field can be challenging, and capturing clear pictures of the parts of a plant that you’ll need for later identification can be a frustrating exercise. Dee Himes will show you how to take quality close-ups with an iPhone and ōlloclip® lens adapter, and help understand what features of plants are needed to identify a plant from pictures. You’ll never have to return home and be disappointed that your pictures are missing features or are too fuzzy to use.Plant identification in the field can be challenging, and capturing clear pictures of the parts of a plant that you’ll need for later identification can be a frustrating exercise. Dee Himes will show you how to take quality close-ups with an iPhone and ōlloclip® lens adapter, and help understand what features of plants are needed to identify a plant from pictures. You’ll never have to return home and be disappointed that your pictures are missing features or are too fuzzy to use.
Dee has been a CNPS member since the early 2000s, and served as our Chapter treasurer (2012-2014) as well as field trip chair (2014-2016). She’s currently serving on both the state CNPS and our Chapter’s board of directors. Dee has a passion for horticulture and photography and combines this love by photographing plants in their natural environment.
The Amazing Manzanita and All Her Relations, Kate Marianchild
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 7:30pm
Watch on YouTube
Manzanita! The word conjures visions of curvy reddish limbs reaching upward and outward into the sky, a feast for the fingers as well as the eyes. But there is much more to this plant than its striking beauty, including its talent for thriving in tough conditions. Have you ever wondered how 193 species and subspecies have managed to emerge since manzanita first appeared on the central California coast 37 million years ago?
In January, when manzanitas of all shapes and sizes will be glowing with small white or pink flowers, author and naturalist Kate Marianchild will explain some of manzanita’s “mojo” ––its profound partnerships with fungi and bumblebees; its super-thin skin that both helps and hinders it; and its waxy leaves that follow the sun from dawn to dusk. She’ll tell stories about pollination in middle C; unscrupulous “nectar thieves,” and bark that peels around summer solstice. She’ll also emphasize manzanita’s vital role in the lives of animals––from ants and silk moths to birds and bears.
Kate Marianchild is the author of Secrets of the Oak Woodlands: Plants and Animals among California’s Oaks (Heyday, 2014). This award-winning bestseller is an engaging and beautifully illustrated romp through California’s most widespread habitat. With humor, affection, and scientific accuracy, Marianchild profiles the behaviors, social structures, anatomical marvels, and co-evolutionary relationships of twenty-two plants and animals found in California’s oak woodlands.
Marianchild lives in a yurt near Ukiah surrounded by acorn woodpeckers, woodrats, newts, and five kinds of oaks. When she is not giving talks, guiding walks, or observing nature, she swims, sings, and advocates for the preservation of native plants and the food webs that depend on them. More information, as well as the opportunity to purchase signed copies of her book, close-focus binoculars, and oak identification guides, at katemarianchild.com.
Project 467: Enhancing Native Plant Diversity at Edgewood, Stuart B. Weiss Ph.D.
Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Edgewood Natural Preserve near Redwood City is famous for its flower-filled serpentine grasslands. But the 467 acres of Edgewood support great biodiversity in the chaparral, oak woodlands, and grasslands on more fertile soils. The 100+ acres of fertile grasslands are by far the most weed-invaded habitat, and have been the focus of successful control of “macroweeds.” Learn how the Friends of Edgewood and Creekside Science are pursuing the goal of decreasing “microweeds” and increasing native cover and diversity.
A Rapid Assessment Plot (RAP) inventory with over 80 plots documented more than 90 native species in the fertile grasslands, albeit often at low cover. They are investigating treatments to reduce annual weed seedlings just after germination, including hydromechanical pulverization (HMP) -- basically pressurewashing the grassland, and close-mowing with string cutters.
Besides commercially available local seeds, they are using more than 15 species of “boutique” seeds grown at Edgewood Farms and the Native Garden. They are trying to develop a long-term “indigenous” approach to restoration, whereby a beautiful, colorful diversity of native plants is established and can spread naturally given occasional management.
Stu Weiss, Ph.D. (Stanford University) is Chief Scientist of Creekside Science, which provides scientific and conservation expertise to diverse organizations as they cope with the rapidly changing 21st Century environment. He has researched the Bay checkerspot butterfly and serpentine grasslands since 1979, and has authored numerous scientific papers concerning climate/microclimate, population dynamics, nitrogen deposition, and conservation ecology. Creekside Science executes many hands-on restoration projects, including butterfly reintroductions, propagation of endangered plants, and habitat monitoring and management. His research and advocacy were instrumental in the development of the Santa Clara Valley Habitat Plan, and he is Science Advisor for the Bay Area Conservation Lands Network. For more information see www.creeksidescience.com
Native Plants for Year-Round Color, a talk by Madeline Morrow
Thursday, December 3, 2020
Learn how to select and group plants with varying bloom times so your garden is never without color. You’ll enjoy it and so will the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds! See how to choose different plant forms and include beautiful bark, berry, and seed producing species for maximum interest all year long.
Madeline Morrow is a past President of our CNPS Chapter and current board member. 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 she solved her drainage problem by installing a rain garden.
Nature’s Best Hope, A talk by Doug Tallamy
Saturday, November 14, 2020 5:00pm
Recent headlines about global insect declines and three billion fewer birds in North America are a bleak reality check about how ineffective our current land management practices have been at sustaining the plants and animals that sustain us. Such losses are not an option if we wish to continue our current standard of living on Planet Earth. The good news is that none of this is inevitable. Doug Tallamy will discuss simple steps that each of us can and must ̶ take to reverse declining biodiversity and will explain why we, ourselves, are nature’s best hope.
Doug Tallamy is a professor in the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, where he has authored 103 research publications and has taught insect related courses for 40 years. Chief among his research goals is to better understand the many ways insects interact with plants and how such interactions determine the diversity of animal communities. His book Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens was published by Timber Press in 2007 and was awarded the 2008 Silver Medal by the Garden Writers' Association. The Living Landscape, co-authored with Rick Darke, was published in 2014. Doug’s new book, Nature’s Best Hope, released by Timber Press in February 2020, is a New York Times Best Seller.
Wildlife of the Bay Area, a talk by Ameet Zaveri
October 26, 2020 7:30pm
CNPS Vegetation Program: Fine-scale inventory and mapping, a talk by Julie Evens
Wednesday, October 21, 2020 7:30pm
Julie Evens, the Vegetation Program Director of CNPS, will give an overview of CNPS's Vegetation Program and our broader collaborations on fine-scale vegetation classification and mapping in California to document our state’s incredible vegetation diversity. Julie helps maintain standard methods for surveying, classifying, and mapping vegetation in California and works with agencies, conservancies, and CNPS chapters on vegetation assessment projects, including current projects in the Greater Bay Area, Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, Sierra Nevada foothills, North Coast, Modoc Plateau, among other regions. She is a co-author with John Sawyer and Todd Keeler-Wolf of A Manual of California Vegetation, 2nd edition (http://vegetation.cnps.org), and she is a co-editor with Michael Barbour et al. of California’s Botanical Landscapes: A Pictorial View of the State’s Vegetation. She also helped compile the CNPS Fire Recovery Guide, 1st edition (available for download here: https://www.cnps.org/give/priority-initiatives/fire-recovery). Julie has a M.A. degree from Humboldt State University, and she has two B.A. degrees from the University of California–Santa Cruz.
Planting Demo, Nursery Tour and QA session
There's a twist on our Going Native Garden Tour session in October -- rather than our usual garden visits, we'll be visiting the CNPS SCV and Grassroots Ecology Nurseries. Our 2020 fall plant sale is going to be online and will start immediately after the session (more information about the CNPS SCV plant sale at http://cnps-scv.org/2020-plant-sale, and Grassroots Ecology's at: https://www.grassrootsecology.org/online-plant-sales). Since you won't be able to come to the nursery to pick your plants out, we're doing our best to bring the nursery to you. This session includes a planting demonstration by Krzysztof Kozminski and tour of the nursery followed by a QA session with knowledgeable native plant gardeners from both nurseries so that you can ask for advice and get answers to questions about specific plants that will be available at their sales.
CNPS Explorers: A Botanical Quest in Asia & Europe, by Ken and Dee Himes
September 24, 2020
Join Ken and Dee Himes as they highlight their 2019 travels from May to November: a journey to Hong Kong, Borneo, Singapore, Penang, India and parts of Europe, on a botanical quest to compare flora and geological features with those of California. The main botanical focus of the trip was in Munsyari, the southern side of the Himalaya in the state of Uttarakhand, India. They will share some of their experiences from a once-in-a-lifetime trek in the Himalaya with three other Chapter members: Arvind Kumar, Ashok Jethanandani, and Joe Cernac. See a surprising geological feature in Hong Kong; orangutans in Borneo; amazing flora in the Himalayas; and other botanical interests in the other countries visited. Of course there will be some interesting insect and bug photos as well.
Ken and Dee Himes have been Chapter members since 1974 (Ken) and 2007 (Dee). Ken is a CNPS Fellow who has held nearly every Chapter position, in addition to leading long-term habitat restoration efforts at Edgewood. Since joining CNPS, Dee has been our Chapter treasurer, field trip chair and board member, a member of the CNPS State Board; and has inspired many with her exceptional photography skills. Ken and Dee were married in 2016, and have continued to celebrate by enjoying interesting plants and habitats wherever they travel.