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El Dorado County and Our Native Plants
El Dorado County lies on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. Along the edge of the Great Valley, some grasslands contain vernal pools with a succession of spring-flowering annuals, while the lower foothills have areas of gabbro and serpentine soils which support special endemic plants, and the rivers and streams have lush riparian woodlands with a number of different species of shrubs and herbs. To the east of Pollock Pines we enjoy the Eldorado National Forest which offers a wide variety of destinations, from drought-tolerant foothill and montane chaparral to subalpine above 9000 ft in the Desolation Wilderness, to the shores of the largest alpine lake in North America, Lake Tahoe. Our Chapter covers lands west of Echo Summit, while the Lake Tahoe Chapter covers the Tahoe basin.
We offer field trips (during Spring and Summer) to many areas, and you are invited to attend. You don't need a science background to participate; most of our members are not formally trained botanists, simply people who enjoy learning about our native vegetation. If you want to start learning about native plants and why they need protection, CNPS is for you. Meetings are geared toward local concerns and can be enjoyed by even an absolute beginner. If you're a new county resident, this is a nice way to get familiar with the neighborhood.
The California Native Plant Society is a state-wide organization dedicated to protecting the native vegetation that is too often seen as "in the way" when it comes time to bulldoze for a development! By joining, you will be getting to know the plants and learning their importance; then you too can contribute to the well-being and happiness of the community; be sure to read the following comment by Willis Jepson...
Follow the Example of Willis Jepson..."A scientific interest in at least certain features of our natural environment, as for example the trees, shrubs or herbaceous plants, directs one to useful and agreeable intellectual activity. Accurate and detailed knowledge of even a small area lifts the possessor out of the commonplace and enables him directly or indirectly to contribute to the well-being and happiness of his community."
-Willis Jepson, Trees of California, 1921
Our logo flower is the Pleasant Valley mariposa lily, Calochortus clavatus var. avius, a member of the Lily family that was once so common in the Pleasant Valley area of Placerville that people would dig them up for home landscaping. Now they are listed as 1B: Rare, threatened, or Endangered and can only be found in a dispersed population on the Eldorado National Forest, at one location in Placer County, and in eight small occurrences in Calaveras County. (Click on the thumbnail photo to open an enlarged photo.)
There is a new meeting venue: the Planning Commission Room, Building C of the County Government Center, 2850 Fairlane Court, Placerville. If approaching from Highway 50 on Fair Lane, turn left at the top of the hill onto Fairlane Court and drive down the hill to the large parking lot in front of Building C. The Planning Commission Room can be entered from the right side of the building's atrium.
Our meetings start at 7:00 p.m. Chapter meetings are free and the public is always invited to attend. Meetings usually include a show-and-tell about one or more seasonally notable plants, announcements of upcoming chapter events and projects, and the speaker presentation. Refreshments are available. We hope that you will mingle and meet interesting new friends who share an interest in plants and the natural places of the surrounding foothills
NOVEMBER 25TH PROGRAM: RISING FROM THE STARTHISTLE: A NATIVE PLANT DEMONSTRATION GARDEN TAKES SHAPE IN PLACERVILLE
Master Gardeners of El Dorado County are creating a large demonstration garden next to El Dorado Center, Folsom Lake College, off Missouri Flat Rd. One section of the garden will be devoted entirely to native plants. Master Gardener and CNPS board member Alice Cantelow will discuss the design elements, plants selected, and challenges encountered in creating the native plant garden. Material presented will include how to make a scaled plot plan, where to obtain native plants, best irrigation practices, and excellent resources for plant selection. Attendees are invited to a free hands-on workshop Saturday Nov. 22 at the garden itself from 1-3 PM, weather permitting.
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Our next sale will be the first Saturday in April, 2015. It will take place in front of County Government Buildings A and B at 330-360 Fair Lane, Placerville. These buildings are directly across the street from the Main El Dorado County Library. The sale will feature California native grasses, flowering perennials, shrubs and trees, as well as native wildflower seeds. Some plants are deer-resistant, and many are drought-tolerant once established. Check out our Fall Plant Sale List. This list is a reasonably (not perfectly) accurate look at what plants we expect to be selling. It will give you time to study up and decide what meets your needs. Whether your soil is heavy clay or serpentine, whether you live in Folsom or Pollock Pines, we can help you choose native plants that will fit your landscaping needs. Fall is the best time to plant natives so that they grow a large root system during the rainy season and can eventually become rain-ony plants needing no supplemental irrigation during the dry season. Growing this deep root system generally takes two or three years, until the plants have at least doubled in size.
We also offer a wonderful selection of books about growing and landscaping with natives, botany basics, and field guides for all aspects of natural history. Our excellent weed exhibit uses pictures and live plants to inform folks about the plants we DON'T want to encourage. Free written information will be available concerning topics ranging from Wildlife-Friendly Gardening to Rare Plants of the Pine Hill Preserve.
For more information about native plant advantages and resources, please click here.
Chapter board meetings are held to discuss business items concerning the chapter and its activities. Please note that a decision was made to reduce the number of board meetings to six per year, coinciding with the months of the meetings. Board meetings will be held on the third Tuesdays in January, March, May, July, September, and November. Meetings are held at the El Dorado County Office of Education, 6767 Green Valley Road, Placerville. The meeting rooms are in the B complex (opposite the main office behind the flag pole), usually in B-1 or B-3, at 6:30 pm.
Copies of the minutes from board meetings can be requested from the Chapter Secretary or Chapter President.
See the newsletter for a list of Board Members and Committee Chairs who can answer specific questions.