California Native Plant Society

 A Message from our Chapter President


  As the summer season approaches, we look forward to warm mornings working in the garden and hikes to see a vast array of late blooming plants in the hills and bluffs. We have our fingers crossed that we will all be free to enjoy every park and open space preserve available. Our restricted spring experiences have put laser focus on how important our wide open and undisturbed places are to every one of Sonoma County residents. Even the animals seem to show up more often! It is a pleasure to have so much positive energy pulling with us to preserve and enjoy our native lands.


  The Milo Baker Chapter is lucky to have Sean McNeil as our Conservation Chairperson. He has worked for years on many policy initiatives that our chapter supports. He has written many letters advocating for conservation. He has his ear to the ground for upcoming policy work for example the Vineyard and Orchard Development Ordinance (VESCO) and making comments on the Coastal Plan and General Plan update. This is work that requires good expertise and great contacts. This spring our newest Member-at -Large, Trish Tatarian, has offered to assist Sean in these activities. She too is a professional in the field. Thank you to both Sean and Trish for covering this important part of Chapter endeavors.


  Conservation is also important at the State CNPS. Every month the Lead Conservation Scientist organizes a call for all chapters. Mostly the Conservation Chairs attend as well as other State CNPS staff, but it is open to anyone interested in participating. The new Lead Nick Jensen is working from Southern California but has prioritized an issue dear to many hearts in the North Bay. Our beloved Walker Ridge is once more in peril due to more efforts to develop wind energy. This area is BLM land and has an amazing, largely undisturbed serpentine chaparral and grassland, home to 27 rare plants and many fragile habitats. Our chapter has had many outings to this area, most recently after wildfires. Nick wrote about CNPS’s request to designate the Ridge as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) in the May Flora Magazine. This would permanently protect this area from the periodic (and idiotic) attempt to bulldoze in massive wind machines.


  There are many undeveloped areas in our region. Keeping as many open and wild areas as possible will protect our plant and animal populations, and their ability to migrate as conditions change. The chapter must continue to be diligent in monitoring changes and proposals in government as well as assisting on a regional and state level.


  If you are interested in this area, please contact Sean or me to talk about your viewpoint. Our strength increases with participation! And have a wonderful summer.


 -Wendy Smit, Milo Baker Chapter President





June Speaker Series postponed. Virtual events are being considered. Volunteer work and plant walks are also postponed for the time being. Please visit for updates. 




In the June Garden


Many of us have been enjoying gardening right now while we shelter-in-place. Adding native plants to the garden creates habitat right at home. Although many natives like to be planted in the fall before the rains, some like California native Salvia species do better with spring planting and can be found right now at California Flora Nursery in Fulton if you can’t wait until our Fall plant sale.


Many of our wonderful California native summer bloomers are coming into full bloom this month including a few particularly showy families like Salvia (Sage) and Monardella (Coyote Mint) are adaptable to gardens in most parts of Sonoma County.



Salvia_clevelandii_April_Owens Monardella_villosa_April_Owens



Salvia clevelandii (Left/Above) is a vigorous bloomer that is sometimes shorter lived but worth the investment- it brings the smell of California to your June garden as well. Full Sun.


Monardella villosa (Right/Below) is another very garden tolerant California native plant that blooms a good portion of the Summer. Plant it in full or part sun and combine with native bunch grasses for a beautiful meadow effect.


Penny Dalton’s Sebastopol Garden


We moved onto this property 38 years ago and I became a native plant nut about 20 years ago, pulling up all non natives that I had previously planted. The property is on Atascadero watershed near Ragle Park in Sebastopol so the soil is sandy and water plentiful. I have many 20 year old shrubs, a native meadow or two and lots of trees. I grow perennials but keep them in pots or designated areas so they are easier to water. I have irrigation but as the years go by use it less and less. I now have more time to enjoy hand watering and watching my chickens...



Mixed_meadow_Penny_Dalton Aristolochia_macrophylla_Penny_Dalton Young_mixed_bunchgrass_Penny_Dalton


I am currently taking out the last area with 'grass' and replacing with various Carex sedges I have dug up on the property and divided along with many carex pansa I purchased recently. I plan on using my battery weed wacker to keep it low and thick.



Liz Parsons’ Kenwood Garden


My garden is a result of over 30 years of work. Many of the plants are from our plant sale. Many were grown from my own seeds and cuttings. I try to put plants in the right place according to their ultimate size. I let seedlings grow and the results can look weedy. But I love the CA poppies and the Clarkia. The sunflowers and the lupine are growing so luxuriantly right now. My garden gives me beautiful views as well as lots of work to keep me busy in this time of coronavirus.



Clarkia_unguiculata_Liz_Parsons_2 Clarkia_unguiculata_Liz_Parsons_1


Clarkia_gracilis_Liz_Parsons Sphaeralcea_munroana_Malacothamnus_palmeri_Liz_Parsons



We hope you are safe and healthy and gardening with California natives! Tell us your garden story at



-CNPS Milo Baker Horticulture





Milo Baker Chapter Officers and Board of Directors 2019/2020


 Wendy Smit   707-481-3765
 Past President:  Leia Giambastiani   707-322-6722
 Vice President:  Liz Parsons   707-833-2063
 Secretary:  Kerry Wininger  707-888-5616
 Treasurer:   Jim Piercy  707-539-3441
 Conservation Chair:  Sean McNeil  707-480-2965
 Director at Large:  Trish Tatarian    
 Director at Large:  Cody Ender
 Director at Large:  Natasha Granoff    
 Plant Walks:   Ruthie Saia  707-322-7462
 Horticulture Chair:  April Owens  707-331-2070
 Hospitality:  Karen Thompson  415-786-6788
 Hospitality:  Liz Parsons  707-833-2063
 Invasive Plant Chair:  Jan Lochner  707-569-4724
 Membership:  Susan Dean
 Newsletter Editor:  Caprice Disbrow  707-322-5119
 Outreach Co-Chair:  Virginia Hotz-Steenhoven  707-528-6030
 Outreach Co-Chair:  Catherine Lipson
 Plant Sale:  Liz Parsons  707-833-2063
 Programs/Lectures:  Virginia Hotz-Steenhoven
 Nursery/Garden Tour  Betty Young  707-595-1463
 Publicity:   OPEN    
 Sales Chair:  Judith Rousseau  707-326-6454
 Web Site:  Natasha Granoff
 SCCC Representative:   Wendy Krupnick  707-544-4582
 SRJC Representative  Forrest Horobin    
 SSU Representative  OPEN    
 Vine Hill Preserve:  Sarah Gordon  707-833-1243
 Southridge Preserve:  Michelle Karle
 Rincon Ridge Park:  Michelle Karle
 Cunningham Marsh:  Marcia Johnson


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