Early spring in Patricia Carpenter's garden

Patricia Carpenter is one of the busiest and most dedicated gardeners I know. In addition to sharing her knowledge with the local community as a docent at the UC Davis Arboretum , Patricia used to be a UC Master Gardener , volunteered as a coordinator for school gardens, worked as a garden coach, and led countless workshops. She has written about the native plant gardens under her stewardship in a 5-part series for Pacific Horticulture . I first featured her garden on the outskirts of Davis in this October 2022 post , Patricia is also a Garden Ambassador with the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) and opens her garden to CNPS members and the public five times a year: in winter, early spring, late spring, summer, and fall. These “seasonal rambles,” as Patricia calls them, are a great opportunity to see the changes happening both in the California native garden Patricia takes care of and in her own garden, which features plants from around the world. This year’s early spring ramble

Dudleya cymosa in habitat in the Gold Country

Last month my friend Kyle and I went on a field trip to the Gold Country to look at a population of Dudleya cymosa he had discovered earlier. The 50-mile drive from Sacramento takes you from the flats of the Sacramento Valley to the western slope of the Sierra Nevada, essentially from an elevation of 50 ft. to 1200 ft. The Gold Country is rich not only in history—the discovery of gold in 1848 triggered a major migration to California—but also in native flora. For me, as a succulent lover, the most exciting plant is Dudleya cymosa . It’s not exactly rare, not is it particularly beautiful, but it is the our closest native succulent. Ten years ago, only hardcore plant people knew what dudleyas were. Things are quite different now. National and international media coverage of the large-scale dudleya poaching uncovered in 2018 has raised public awareness of these modest plants and led to groundbreaking legislation to protect them (more info at the bottom of this post). Now dudleyas are