Garden Planner: By Mary James
California poppies are only one of many native wildflowers that can brighten spring gardens. Here are some suggested by Genevieve Arnold of the Theodore Payne Foundation, originators of the wildflower hotline for the state.
Coastal Poppy (Eschscholzia californica var. maritima): Golden-yellow flowers with orange throats blossom above the gray-green leaves of this low-growing plant. Thrives in sunny coastal areas.
Beach Sun Cups (Camissonia cheiranthifolia): Sandy soils are preferred by this ground-hugging perennial with lemon-yellow buttercup-like flowers.
Globe and Bird's Eye Gilia (Gilia capitata and Gilia tricolor): These easy-to-grow annuals are ideal companions for California poppies. Globe gilia has showy orbs of sky-blue flowers; bird's eye has violet-edged white petals around dark centers. Both grow a foot tall or more. Needs sun.
Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii): An early bloomer, baby blue eyes are about 6 inches tall with watery blue and white flowers. Thrives throughout the county in shade to part-shade.
Farewell to Spring and Winecup Clarkia (Clarkia amoena and Clarkia purpurea): These late-spring bloomers with flowers in shades of pink extend the season. Good cut flowers. Grows 2 feet tall or more.
Individual seed packets are $4 and can be ordered on-line at store.theodorepayne.org where you'll also find a seed-sowing guide.