Signs of fall in the California native garden

Whats all this hear about California not having seasons?  Ususally I just change the subject when an unenlightened person tells me that there's no seasons in California.  This time I thought I'd get some evidence, so Juli and I took a stroll in the Madrona Marsh demonstration garden to find out more.

Muhlenbergia rigens california deer grass

Muhlenbergia rigens (California Deer Grass) with stalks awaving.  Sycamore trees dropping their leaves.  Nope.  That can't be a sign of fall - the sky is too blue.

horticultural sunflower
What appeared to be a horticultural sunflower, not a native plant, but read on....

Probably Encelia.  I've read that California sunflowers were the progentitors of the sunflowers that Monet painted and who's seed we consume at ball games.  Sunflowers = sun = summer. 

Christmasberry (Toyon or Heteromeles arbutifolia)
Christmasberry / Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) showing signs of Christmas.  You mean we went from our perpetual summer right to Christmas.  Christmasberry = Christmas = winter!  Bah Humbug. This isn't a sign of fall.


Look.  All the Ribes (currant) is turning color and losing leaves.  Must be an illness.  There's a cool looking growth or egg cluster of some sort on this branch.  With no seasons in California how could this happen otherwise? 

That rich brown color on the buckwheat doesn't fool anyone that it's fall.

Vitis 'Roger's Red' and Christmasberry.

Nor does Vitis 'Roger's Red' and Christmasberry.

Even if it hit you in the eye.  More Vitis 'Roger's Red' and Christmasberry.

I thought this was a Home Depot kind of plant, but then I reconsidered.  I still don't know what it is.  Seed heads don't remind anyone of fall, do they?

Fresh looking foliage on the two previous plants from our recent rain.  Water from the sky?  That must be a sign of spring!

Red berries.  You've tried to fool us with this before.  Red berries means winter, right?


I guess the naysayers are right. No signs of seasonal change here. Nope. Especially not fall.  Nada.  Zilch.  None at all to be found. Move along.  Nothing to see at all in the California garden.

- Posted at great expense from my iPhone


  1. The "Home Depot" plant is probably a Gaillardia (blanketflower). It's actually available at Armstrong, where I bought mine. It's a native, all right. Whether native to California, and L.A. County is another question.

    If you want to try something amusing, ask the staff at the nature center what it is. It might take awhile to get an answer.

  2. Thanks, KarenH. The regular staff there are pretty good, so I should have asked, but did not. That day there were also two particularly knowledgeable people there (visitors hosting a native plant sale) but we talked about other plants instead.