Southern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
Native Plants and Wildflower Hotline
Theodore Payne was the early-20th-century resident of Sunland who pioneered protecting and propagating our precious native plants in Southern California. The current nursery and education center of the same name offers a wealth of plants and information. Wildflower hotline reports detail where and which wildflowers are in bloom now. Available March 1 to May 31 and updated weekly, reports are collected from more than 30 field sites across Southern California. Call (818) 768-3533.
Favorite or New Plant
I delight in growing some 20 varieties of lettuce all winter long. I just can't get enough of the tremendously attractive array of lettuce flavors, textures, and colors - dark greens, light greens, reds, bronzes. They come in different shapes such as flat leafed, scallop leafed, rippled, and curley leafed. I grow all types except "iceberg" crispheads because they don't have time to develop heads before summer heat arrives.
I resow seed every 3 weeks for continuous harvests of young, sweet succulent leaves. I never wait until a full head forms to harvest, except for 'Tom Thumb' and 'Tennis Ball', which are just too tightly clustered to harvest leaf by leaf. Some of my favorite varieties include 'Mescher', 'Bibb', 'Buttercrunch', 'Lollo Rosa', 'Merveille des Quatre Saisons' (Marvel of 4 Seasons), and 'Speckles Amish' butterhead.