(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Water is a precious commodity, so we want to be conscious of its use, especially in cosmetic and ornamental settings. The San Francisco Parks Alliance and California Native Plant Society recommend drought-tolerant plants, many flowering, that can thrive in Bay Area micro-climates without the regular watering that other plants require. With displays of vibrant blooms attracting butterflies, birds and bees, you can add color to your own eco-system without subtracting from the water supply. Besides, you can go on vacation without giving your plants a second thought.
10 Cargo Way
San Francisco, CA 94124
Best described as a wide selection of rare and endemic Bay Area native plants, visit Bay Natives Nursery to see 200 native California plant species. Zoom in on the San Francisco section with an emphasis on oak, manzanita and trillium. The searchable inventory is kept up to the minute so customers can zero in via the common name, Latin name and category type to see photographs, prices and descriptions before ordering for pick-up. Pots, soil, sand, stakes, river rocks and ornamental bits and pieces are also stocked for one-stop shopping. The nursery’s Facebook page is a virtual beehive of activity where everything beautifully photographed is for sale.
19655 Arnold Drive
Sonoma, CA 95476
Open to the public every Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Saturday mornings April through October, this locally-owned nursery specializes in native, pesticide-free growing. Following a less-is-more approach, Sonoma Valley Wholesale Nursery encourages less water, less fertilizer and less input for more sustainable and more compatible gardening. See a selection of shade trees, ornamental grasses, vines, ground cover and fruit trees that have benefited from Organic Material Reviewed Institute-approved fertilizers only.
601 Canal Blvd.
Richmond, CA 94804
Testimonials from The Muir Heritage Land Trust, City of San Mateo, Save the Bay and others underscore this nursery’s mission to establish a “diverse, healthy, functioning ecosystem” by focusing on native plants and site-specific habitat. Within the nearly 300 native plants listed, a search will indicate those available each month with a plant finder to match availability to your own garden’s conditions. The exceptionally expert staff is happy to offer more advice.
2701 Main St.
Alameda, CA 94501
Ploughshares Nursery is a social enterprise of the Alameda Point Collaborative supportive housing community, with its sales supporting family housing. The nursery is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. In addition to a new, green retail facility stocked with dozens of native and drought-tolerant plants from Achillea to Zauschneria, Ploughshares conducts educational sessions and apprenticeship opportunities.
200 Centennial Drive
Berkeley, CA 94720
Buy plants from the beautiful University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley. Find the landscape cacti and succulents propagation area across the street from the garden entrance. Competitively priced specimens are sold to the public on the first Thursday of each month from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There is a lot of expert advice on hand (and help to load the car) and plant labels so you can read up on the best care for potted container plants as well as those you are transplanting. California native plants are also on sale.
Laurie JM Farr is a freelance writer covering all things in her adopted San Francisco. A dedicated urbanite, she’s a transplanted New Yorker by way of a couple of decades in London as a hotel sales and marketing manager. Follow her work on @ReferencePlease, USA Today, Yahoo! and on Examiner.com.