How California Bells began…

I spent many happy years as an English professor and journalist. Gardening was my hobby. The pandemic quickly changed my focus and highlighted the importance of our local ecosystem. One plant at a time, I converted my yard to California natives and helped three neighbors do the same. When I returned to teaching, I joined the Edible Schoolyard program at Hollygrove Elementary. The experience of sharing gardening with the next generation inspired me to mix my passion for educating and native flowers by starting California Bells.

I am a Certified California Native Plant Landscaper, through the Theodore Payne Foundation, and continue my studies there and with UCLA Extension’s Sustainability Program.

why native flowers?

California’s native plants deserve more recognition. They are uniquely adapted for survival in our climate, even as our climate changes. When we restore our landscape to the plants best suited for their environment, we expand the urban greenbelt and bring back the wildlife that co-exists with these plants. Best of all, we surround ourselves with the sights and smells of healthier gardens and a healthier California.


What is a native plant?

A native plant is a species that originated here and was not introduced from another region of the world.


Do native plants need water?

On average, California native plants use significantly less water than standard nursery plants. Since they originated from areas that tend to receive little rainfall, they need very little supplemental water, once established.


Do they last long in bouquets?

Yes! Even delicate-looking flowers like poppies can last several days when kept away from heat and direct sunlight.


How do I get more butterflies?

You may have tried milkweed for monarchs, but there is so much more. Try yarrow and California buckwheat for the blues, hairstreaks, painted ladies, and metalmarks! The more you plant, the more you will attract. California Bells encourages further reading at Theodore Payne Foundation and other native plant nurseries.


How do I keep my native garden looking neat?

The key is to plan for the plant’s full size. Many natives can grow big! Allow them the space to do so in order to avoid looking overgrown.

Many natives also go seasonally dormant, so rest assured they are not dead but going through their cycle.


What if I need just a small area fixed up?

That’s my specialty! California Bells loves working with what’s already there. Many existing low-water plants thrive well with natives, and a garden can look better with just a few touch-ups.