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California Native Plant Society

Santa Clara Valley Chapter

CNPS SCV Native Plant Lecture Series

bannerThe 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 in the evening, although we occasionally schedule them during the day. Our talks are live presentations followed by Q&As with the viewing audience. They are live streamed simultaneously to Zoom and YouTube. They are all recorded on YouTube, so you can see them later on our YouTube channel:

Upcoming Talks

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.

This talk will be live streamed on YouTube and Zoom (requires advance registration).

Recent Talks

Kate Marianchild, credit Evan Johson

The Amazing Manzanita and All Her Relations, Kate Marianchild

Wednesday, January 13, 2021 7:30pm 

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

Watch on YouTube

Project 467: Enhancing Native Plant Diversity at Edgewood, Stuart B. Weiss Ph.D.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020DSC09065 mariposa lily moth cropped

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

Watch on YouTube.

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.

Watch on Youtube


Nature’s Best Hope, A talk by Doug Tallamy

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.

Watch on Youtube

Wildlife of the Bay Area, a talk by Ameet Zaveri

Ameet Zaveri

October 26, 2020 7:30pm

We call the Bay Area our home. How well do we know the wildlife that inhabit this space? Over 400 species of birds, charismatic cats like puma and bobcat, even non-felines like Western Tiger Swallowtail? Can you tell a rattlesnake from a non-venomous snake? Do you know there are *two* whale-watching seasons every year?
Learn about these and other fascinating aspects of wildlife in the Bay Area from naturalist and photographer Ameet Zaveri. An avid naturalist from a young age and a long-time Bay Area resident, Ameet is the founder of the informative website He will share pictures and information about when, where, and how to experience wildlife in the Bay Area, and answer your questions.

Watch on Youtube

CNPS Vegetation Program: Fine-scale inventory and mapping, a talk by Julie Evens

Julie InField 2020 02 ByBillWaycott P1040199 croppedWednesday, 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 (, 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: Julie has a M.A. degree from Humboldt State University, and she has two B.A. degrees from the University of California–Santa Cruz.

Watch on Youtube

Planting Demo, Nursery Tour and QA session

IMG 1356There'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, and Grassroots Ecology's at: 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.

Watch on Youtube

CNPS Explorers: A Botanical Quest in Asia & Europe, by Ken and Dee Himes

September 24, 2020

dee orangutanJoin 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.

Watch on Youtube

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