Native Plant Revival & Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly Habitat

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Sebastopol | Front & Back Gardens

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Native Plant Pruning demonstration at this location at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

CNPS Plant & Book Sale at this location 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

This habitat garden consists mainly of California native plants and bulbs with an emphasis on plants blooming throughout the seasons. When first landscaped in 2014, site challenges included: street exposure, various sun/shade conditions and an area of invasive groundcover, Freeway daisy. All of the plants attract bees, butterflies, birds, and provide habitat. Spring blooming plants are Manzanitas, California lilac, Redbud, Penstemon, Coyote mint, White flowering currant, and the spring bulbs such as Ithuriel’s spear, White hyacinth, Pretty face, and Single leaved onion, and many native Iris. Within this new area are several species of xeric ferns that go summer dormant, with new fronds unfurling with spring rains.

The hardscaping features a pathway composed of quarry fines  which is edged with fieldstone encrusted with mosses and lichens. The fieldstone is an important feature of the garden; the perennials are cut back often to reveal the beauty of the stone. The pathway meanders through sunny perennials ending at the arbor over an established fern bed. An additional feature of this garden is a planting of Dutchman’s pipe which is the sole larval food source for the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly. Garden visitors can expect to view the first spring flight of Pipevine Swallowtails. Planted in 1990 in the more established back garden, the Dutchman’s pipe is a haven for emerging Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies; chrysalids may be observed in an adjoining arbor. The original larvae were collected from Louise Hallberg’s Dutchman’s pipe. The Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies have become a regular feature of the neighborhood, and several neighbors now grow Dutchman’s pipe to provide more habitat.

As an experiment a small patch of California meadow sedge was planted as a lawn substitute. Now established, it takes foot traffic and has become a “prairie” for the dog. Compared to a lawn this needs much less water and maintenance.

The rear garden backs onto a seasonal floodplain, with native plants such as Valley oaks, California buckeye, Coast redwood, Red twig dogwood, and Twinberry. Autumn colorful trees are Pin oak, Dawn redwood, Birch, Magnolia’s and Black gum.

The owner/gardener is a longtime member of the California Native Plant Society and was a groundskeeper working with native plants at Santa Rosa Junior College for 26 years.

Plant List

Some of the key plants in this garden for this time of year are listed below. You can also download a printable full plant list for this garden.

 

  1. Western columbine (Aquilegia formosa)
  2. Manzanita (Arctostaphylos densiflora ‘White Lanterns’, A. nummularia ‘Bear Belly’, A. manzanita ‘Mary’s Blush’, A. x media)
  3. Dutchmans pipevine (Aristolochia californica)
  4. Sandhill Sage (Artemisia pycnocephala ‘David’s Choice’)
  5. California lilac (Ceanothus ‘Coronado’, C.Dark Star’, C. ‘Topaz’, C. maritimus ‘Point Sierra’, C.m.‘Valley Violet’)
  6. Western redbud (Cercis occidentalis)
  7. Hairy lip fern (Cheilanthes lindigera)
  8. Harry Lauders walking stick (Corylus avellanaRed Majestic’)
  9. Sulphur buckwheat (Eriogonum umbellatum polyanthumShasta Sulphur’)
  10. Wooly sunflower (Eriophyllum lanatum)
  11. Flannel bush (FremontodendronKen Taylor’)
  12. Oregon grape (Mahonia aquilfolium)
  13. Sticky monkeyflower (MimulusEleanor’)
  14. Coyote mint (Monardella villosaRussian River’)
  15. Cloak fern (Notholaena sinuata)
  16. Beardstongue (Penstemon heterophyllos ‘Blue Springs’)
  17. Phacelia (Phacelia californica)
  18. Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifoliusSummer Wine’)
  19. Polypody (Polypodium californicum)
  20. White flowering current (Ribes sanguiniumWhite Icicle’)
  21. Gooseberry (Ribes speciosumPincushion’)
  22. Catalina perfume (Ribes viburnifolium)
  23. Salvia (SalviaBee’s Bliss’)

California Pipevine (Aristolochia californica)

Excerpt by Judy Brinkerhoff

IMG_0314The California Pipevine, aka Dutchman’s Pipe, (Aristolochia californica) is endemic (indigenous) to California, and is the sole host to the spectacular Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly. This butterfly is a gorgeous, large black butterfly with iridescent tones of shimmering blue. The pipevine has soft, slightly fuzzy leaves, heart-shaped, and beautifully spaced on a brittle stem. It puts out very strange-looking, U-shaped flowers in the early spring…they look like a Dutchman’s pipe, hence the name. The flowers are pale-green or brownish, with maroon stripes and attract fungus gnats, which enter the flower and in their efforts to escape, get covered with pollen and thus pollinate the flowers. Several pipevine gurus have said that spiders and birds eat the tiny caterpillars as they hatch from their masses of yellow-orange eggs.

If you decide to grow a pipevine, be sure you have good shade, a small trellis to start them on, and lots of patience. The fact that they crawl under dead leaves and debris is most likely a good thing, as the cover gives them protection from predators. A pipevine is well worth the small amount of effort and hopeful expectations that you put forth.

To read the full exert click HERE.