Season's Greetings! December, 2016

The American Dogwood or Red Stem Dogwood, Cornus stolonifera, is an elegant open shrub with creamy white flower clusters in spring, and bright red winter stems. Read more about our featured plant below...

SFLA News & Announcements!

Winter Maintenance &
Prepping for Jack Frost

Plants can be damaged by unexpectedly cold weather - especially in landscape environments where species from many regions are often used together in non-native settings. Using endemic plants evolved to suit local environmental conditions can help your garden make it through the toughest weather.

In winter, short day lengths, precipitation, wind and low temperatures usually cause plants to stop growing (some natives may continue to grow if the soil stays at a moderate temperature).  Plants need a good thick layer (3-4”) of mulch around them to help maintain soil temperature and moisture. With native woody perennials, shrubs and trees, best practice is pull the mulch back a few inches from the root crown of your plants to keep it from getting too soggy. 

Late fall/early winter is a fantastic time to re-up your landscape mulch and take advantage of the rainy season. In addition to protecting your plants from erosion, compaction, and temperature swings, an extra-thick layer of mulch will help your landscape absorb much more natural rain water, making it more resilient.

A 1" layer of organic compost material under the mulch will really kickstart soil-fertility and during the winter improve your landscape's over-all soil health, texture and water-absorption capabilities!


If your plants are showing signs of frost damage, like wilted tips, don’t prune this material off just yet. The dead material may be providing protection for the crown and insulation for the plant. Wait until frost season is over to give your plants a trim and let them bounce back.


A few popular California natives that have a natural resistance to cold temperatures include:
Coffeberry (Rhamnus californica)
Golden Currants (Ribes aureum)
Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)
Manzanita (Arctostaphylos manzanita)
Sugar Bush (Rhus ovata)
Monkey-flower (Mimulus)
Sages (Salvia)
California Lilac (Ceanothus).

Check out Waste Management Earthcare compost and mulch, with selections in a variety of sizes and colors. Locally sourced and made from 100% post-consumer recycled materials, using WM products fulfill our Model Water Efficient Landscape Ordinance guidelines! 

Go to for 20% off MULCH COUPONS, and be sure to peruse the convenient Marketplace to search retail products and locations near you. EBMUD and CCWD also offer MULCH COUPONS for many retailers!

 SFLA is pleased to showcase four completed gardens chosen for the Bringing Back the Natives garden tour in May 2017!
All four gardens are located in the same San Ramon neighborhood making it easier for you to come see them all, along with educational talks and native plant sales!

Click on the photo above to peruse pictures and descriptions of SFLA's gardens in San Ramon - NEW to the Brining Back the Natives Garden Tour 2017!
SFLA is seeking VOLUNTEERS to spend a morning or afternoon greeting tour participants on Sunday, May 7th. 
Volunteers get a Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour t-shirt, the rest of the day to visit the other Gardens on the tour and, and perhaps best of all, a heartfelt thanks for helping to educate the general public about the many pleasures and benefits of gardening with California native plants!   

Yippie, it's RAINING!!!
A friendly reminder that in DECEMBER, your Irrigation Controller can be turned OFF!

For a Month by Month Irrigation Guide check out CCWD's Sample Irrigation Schedules

Upcoming Classes & Workshops

Bringing Back the Natives - Winter Workshop

Saturday, Dec. 10, 10am -1:00pm
Shop at East Bay Wilds from 1:00-4:00pm
2777 Foothill Blvd, Oakland, CA 
Limit 20 registrants 

Lead by Pete Veilleux, landscape designer and owner of East Bay Wilds

Join artistic landscape designer Pete Veilleux at Pete’s own native plant nursery, East Bay Wilds, and learn how to choose the plants that will do well in your own garden, and shop for natives after the workshop is over.

If you’d like to start a native plant garden but have no idea how to choose the right plants for the right spots, this workshop is for you—this workshop is designed for people just beginning to garden with natives, up to those with moderate knowledge of natives.


Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden

Sunday, Dec. 11,  10am -12:30 pm
Instructor: Debbie Viess
Location: Visitor Center and Grounds
Shasta Rd, Berkeley, CA
$25 members/ $30 nonmembers

Enjoy a beautifully illustrated, fun, and fact-filled talk on the many local species of mushrooms that we commonly encounter in our lawns, gardens, and woods. Learn how fungi are intricately and essentially connected to most if not all plants, then enjoy a hands-on walk of fungal discovery in the EBRPD Botanic Garden.

Debbie Viess is a Bay Area naturalist, mycologist and writer, and Co-Founder of the Bay Area Mycological Society. She gives popular mycological lectures and workshops around CA and the country, and with her husband David Rust, has put on a free, annual Fungus Fair at Pt. Reyes for over a decade.


Red Stem Dogwood, Cornus stolonifera

Enjoy the Dogwood Days of Winter!

Red Stem Dogwood is deciduous and loses it's vibrant green foliage in winter, exposing an array of attractive, crimson branches and stems, and providing much needed winter interest in the garden. Native to riparian ecosystems, this dogwood is well-placed near seasonal stream beds and rain gardens, or used for stream bank erosion control. Requiring a little more water, it performs best with shade from the afternoon sun. Growing up to 12' tall and wide, Red Stem Dogwood looks great all year around. In the spring, expect prolific clusters of creamy flowers, followed by white berries that attract many bird species. 

The SFLA office will be closed December 24th through January 1st. We wish you all a happy, warm holiday season & see you in 2017! 

Team SFLA!


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Susan Friedman Landscape Architecture · 4 Crow Canyon Ct. · #205 · San Ramon, CA 94583 · USA

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