MENTION WILDFLOWERS, and colorful meadows spring to mind. But California’s vibrant native annuals can thrive in small gardens, too. Sow seeds or tuck seedlings into beds now so they can benefit from seasonal rainfall. After their spring bloom, most will reseed to return the following year. Here are some beauties to try:
• Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa): Daisy-like yellow flowers edged in pure white dance atop 6- to 12-inch tall plants. Bonus: Nectar source for Checkerspot butterflies. (pictured above)
• Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii): Soft blue petals and creamy white centers cover this low-growing favorite. 4-6 inches high.
Bonus: One of the earliest wildflowers to bloom.
• Bird’s Eye Gilia (Gilia tricolor): Lavender-blue flowers get extra punch from powder-blue stamens and yellow throats ringed in black. Grows to 2 feet tall. Bonus: Bees love these chocolate-scented blooms.
• California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica): Satiny petals on the state flower now range from the familiar golden orange to copper, pink, rose, red and cream as well as frilled and double forms. Bonus: Cut back after first bloom and water for a second round of flowers.
• Farewell to Spring (Clarkia amoena): Another tall flower (2 feet or more) found as singles or doubles in shades of pink, rose and cream, often blotched with crimson. Late-spring bloom. Bonus: Remove spent stems before seeds ripen for a second flowering.