Useful Local Resources


Native Plants in the Wild & in the Garden

A Gardener’s Guide to California Native Plants, Native Revival Nursery, 2000

Spiral bound.

A New Garden Ethic: Cultivating Defiant Compassion for an Uncertain Future, Benjamin Vogt; New Society Publishers, 2017
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification, Thomas J. Elpel; Hops Press, 2013
California Native Plants for the Garden, Bornstein Fross and O’Brien; Cachuma Press, 2005, Out of Print
Coast Redwood: A Natural and Cultural History, Barbour, Lydon, et al; Cachuma Press, 2001, Out of Print
Designing California Native Gardens, Middlebrook and Faber; UC Press, 2007
Ecology for Gardeners, Steven B. Carroll and Steven D. Salt; Timber Press, 2004
Field Guide to Pacific States Wildflowers, T. Niehaus; Houghton Mifflin, 1998
Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home Scale Permaculture, Toby Hemenway; Chelsea Green, 2001
Insects and Gardens: In Pursuit of a Garden Ecology, Eric Grissell, Timber Press, 2001
Invasive Plants of California’s Wildlands, Bossard, Randall and Hoshovsky; UC Press, 2000
Marin Flora, 2nd ed., John Thomas Howell; CA Academy of Sciences, 2007
Native Treasures, Nevin Smith; UC Press, 2006
Oaks of California, Pavlik, Muick, Johnson and Popper; Cachuma Press, 1993, Out of Print
Plants of the San Francisco Bay Region, Beidleman and Kozloff; UC Press, 2014
The California Wildlife Habitat Garden: How to Attract Bees, Butterflies, Birds and Other Animals, Nancy Bauer; UC Press, 2012
The Pruning Book, Lee Reich; The Taunton Press, 1997
Wildflowers of California’s North Coast Range, Reny Parker; New Creek Ranch Press, 2015

Plant Propagation

American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques, Alan Toogood, American Horticultural Society Practical Guides; DK Publishing, 1999
Botany for Gardeners, 3rd Ed., Brian Capon; Timber Press, 2010
California Plant Families: West of the Sierran Crest and Deserts, Glenn Keator; UC Press, 2009
Complete Garden Guide to Native Shrubs of California, Glenn Keator; Chronicle Books, 1990, Out of Print

Worth hunting for.

Complete Garden Guide to the Native Perennials of California, Glenn Keator; Chronicle Books, 1990, Out of Print

Worth hunting for.

Creative Propagation, 2nd Ed., Peter Thompson & Owen Josie; Timber Press, 2005
Making More Plants: The Science, Art and Joy of Propagation, Ken Druse; Stewart, Tabori and Chang, 2012
Propagation Handbook: Basic Techniques for Gardeners, Geoff Bryant; Stackpole Books, 1995
Propagation Secrets for California Native Plants, Jeanine De Hart, 1994, Out of Print

Rare and out of print pamphlet.

Secrets of Plant Propagation, Lewis Hill; Storey Publishing, 1985
Seed Propagation of California Native Plants, Dara Emery; SBBG, 1988, Out of Print

Rare and out of print

Seeds: The Definite Guide to Growing, History & Lore, Peter Loewer; Timber Press, 2005
The New Seed-Starters Handbook, Rev. Ed., Nancy Bubel; Rodale, 2018


Butterflies through Binoculars: The West, Jeffrey Glassberg; Oxford Un. Press, 2001
California Butterflies, John Garth and J. W. Tilden; UC Press, 1988
Caterpillars in the Field and Garden, Allen, Brock and Glassberg; Oxford Un. Press, 2005
Common Butterflies of California, Bob Stewart; West Coast Lady Press, 1997
Field Guide to Butterflies of the San Francisco Bay and Sacramento Valley Regions, A. Shapiro and T. Manolis; UC Press, 2007

Truly specific to our region with lots of details on local species. The book also has good introductory information on butterflies, life histories, how to raise caterpillars, and local plants.

The Natural History of Butterflies, John Feltwell; Facts on File, 1986

This book goes into incredible detail about life cycle, adaptations and plant associations. The butterflies described are mostly European species, but much of the fascinating detail also applies to the life histories of local species.

Bees & Other Insects

California Insects, Jerry Powell and Charles Hogue; UC Press, 1980
Common Dragonflies of California, Kathy Biggs; Azalea Creek Publishing, 2009
Field Guide to Common Bees of California, , 2013
Humblebee Bumblebee, Brian L. Griffin; Knox Cellars Pub., 2012
Our Native Bees, Paige Embry; Timber Press, 2018
The Bee-Friendly Garden, Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn; Ten Speed Press, 2016

Monarch Butterflies

Chasing Monarchs: Migrating with the Butterflies of Passage, Robert Michael Pyle; Yale University Press, 2014
Four Wings and a Prayer: Caught in the Mystery of the Monarch Butterfly, Sue Halpern; Vintage, 2002
Mariposa Road: The First Big Butterfly Year, R. M. Pyle; Yale University Press, 2013

A tale about finding as many butterfly species as feasible in one year.

Milkweeds, Monarchs and More, 2nd Ed., Ba Rea, Karen Oberhauser, and Michael A. Quinn; Bas Relief LLC, 2011
The Monarch Butterfly: Biology and Conservation, Karen S. Oberhauser and Michael J. Solensky, editors; Comstock Publishing, 2004

A collection of scientific studies and essays covering breeding, migration and overwintering biology.

Soil & Water

Life in the Soil: A Guide for Naturalists and Gardeners, James B. Nardi; U of Chicago Press, 2007
Soil Matters: From Backyard to Backcountry, Bay Nature,

Booklet. $6; available HERE

Teaming with Microbes: The Organic Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web, Jeff Lowenfels and Wayne Lewis; Timber Press, 2010
The Earth Moved, Amy Stewart; Algonquin Books, 2005
Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World, Judith Schwartz; Chelsea Green Publishing, 2019


Raptors of California, Hans and Pam Peeters; UC Press, 2005
The Genius of Birds, Jennifer Ackerman; Penguin Books, 2016
The Sibley Guide to Bird Life and Behavior, Edited by Chris Elphick, John B. Dunning, Jr. and David Allen Sibley; Alfred A. Knopf, 2001
The Sibley Guide to Birds, David Allen Sibley; Alfred A. Knopf, 2000
Western Bird's Nests, Hal H. Harrison; Houghton Mifflin Co., 1979

Online Resources

Choosing and Caring For Native Plants


CALFLORA, with its own native plant database, has a Plant Finder feature that, like CalScape, shows the native plants that grow naturally in the vicinity of a particular location. For horticultural information, CalFlora links to CalScape, and for plant nursery information, it links to the California Native Plant Link Exchange.

California Native Plant Link Exchange (CNPLX),

CNPLX uses the CalFlora database but presents the information in a different way from CalFlora. Native plants can be searched by county (rather than by specific address) and by several other criteria such as type (tree, annual, etc.) and family. For each plant that grows wild in California, there is a plant information page that shows nurseries and seed vendors that sell the plant and information about growing the plant. This site is less useful for selecting appropriate plants for a particular site than CalScape or CalFlora, but its online inventory of nurseries that sell particular plants is well laid-out. And it’s good for identifying what particular plants are native to Marin County.


CALSCAPE, developed by the California Native Plant Society, is designed to enable homeowners and landscapers select and find the native plants that are the best fit for any particular location in the state. It is truly a one-stop site for growing California native plants. A powerful search feature shows which plants are really native to any location in the state, and helps homeowners and landscapers figure out which ones they want, where to buy them, and how to grow them. With this website, you can drill down to the most appropriate native plant by type (tree, shrub, etc.) for a given location: for example, a low-water shrub for part-shade. Each plant entry includes photos that show the plant in many forms, a narrative and summary description, the wildlife it supports including butterfly and moth caterpillars for which it is a host plant, and plant care information.  Finally, it lists nurseries that carry the plant.

CNPS / California Native Plant Society,

The website maintained by the state offices of the California Native Plant Society offers extensive resources under the tab: Our Work/Gardening. In addition to the great plant database, Calscape, they have virtual garden tours for inspiration, information on nurseries that carry native plants, design basics, details on how to plant, water and mulch, how to deal with pests, plus a very useful set of articles on pruning native plants. Definitely worth exploring.

Friends of the Regional Parks Botanic Garden,

Regional Parks Botanic Garden at Tilden Park in Berkeley, CA. Established in 1940, the garden’s primary role is to create beautiful landscapes displaying California’s diverse plant life. Its mission embraces not only aesthetics, but also native plant conservation, public education, and horticultural experimentation designed to bring new native plants into the nursery trade. In the garden’s many habitats are species from the high Sierra to the serpentine barrens of the coast ranges, and from the northern rain forests to the southern deserts. They offer a schedule of fun and informative classes, field trips, and workshops, as well as plant sales and seed sales.

MARIN CNPS / Marin chapter, California Native Plant Society,

The Marin Chapter is a part of the statewide organization, and the website has lots of native plant gardening information, including gardening photos and advice. They offer numerous handouts and plant lists for specific habitats, as well as slideshows of native gardens in the county. This last includes the native plant pollinator garden at the Bay Model in Sausalito, which the chapter planned, planted and maintains with Charlotte’s generous help.

Organizations for Birds

Cornell Lab of Ornithology,
Hungry Owl Project,
Marin Audubon Society,
National Audubon Society,

FOR: complete details on how to determine which birds may be nesting in your area and what type of nest they build, downloadable plans for many types of nest boxes, how to troubleshoot problems.

Identifying Plants in the Wild


Contribute to science: become a citizen scientist! The iNaturalist app, created by the CA Academy of Sciences, enables you to record observations out in the field, upload them into a worldwide database and share with fellow naturalists. If you don’t know what it is, the app will make suggestions, as will a crowd of user experts.,

Developed by Bruce Homer-Smith and the California Native Plant Society, is a non-commercial website designed to help you identify California plants found in the wild. Enter what you observe about the plant and your location, and it will produce a short annotated list of possibilities.


Found a mushroom, flower, or bug, and not sure what it is? Open up the Seek camera to see if it knows. It will show you lists of commonly recorded insects, birds, plants, amphibians, and more in your area. Based on the extensive database of observations submitted around the world through iNaturalist.

Organizations for Butterflies and Other Insects

NABA | North American Butterfly Association, 4 Delaware Rd., Morristown, NJ 07960
Xerces Society, 4828 SE Hawthorne Blvd., Portland, OR 97215

Organizations for Wildlife

National Wildlife Federation, 11100 Wildlife Center Drive, Reston, VA 20190


Plants and Seeds

California Flora Nursery, 2990 Somers St. (at D St.), Fulton (just north of Santa Rosa), 95439. 707-528-8813

FOR: Cal Flora is a small, unconventional nursery devoted to natives and habitat gardening with a diversity of offerings. They are knowledgeable and experienced. Most plants are propagated on site.

CNL (California Native Landscapes) Nursery, 254 Shoreline Hwy, Mill Valley (Tam Junction), 94941. 415-888-8471

FOR: Marin’s mostly native nursery, CNL grows and sells organic California native plants & veggies and offers lots of great garden art. CNL’s store is one of the retail outlets for Home Ground’s line of locally packaged native wildflower seeds.

Green Jeans Garden Supply, 690 Redwood Highway, Mill Valley (Strawberry) 94941. 415-389-8333

FOR: Neem seed meal to treat orange aphids, bulk organic fertilizers and soil additives, egg meal (to make a deer deterrent), lots of plants for pollinators, good advice.

LeBallister’s Seed and Fertilizer, 1250 Sebastopol Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95407. 707-526-6733

FOR: bulk sales only of native grasses, wildflowers, lawn and pasture grasses, cover crops, rock dust and fertilizers.

Marin CNPS Plant Sales, Falkirk Cultural Center grounds, 1408 Mission Ave., San Rafael

FOR: The Marin chapter of the California Native Plant Society offers an extensive array of native bulbs, annuals, perennials, shrubs and even sometimes trees at their April and October plant sales, held on the grounds of Falkirk Cultural Center in San Rafael. Home Ground supplies about a third of the plants each sale through their propagation activities. Check for dates. Flowering plants for pollinators are the emphasis in spring; shrubs are the emphasis at the fall sale. Also available: Home Ground’s line of locally packaged native wildflower seeds.

The Nursery at Emerisa Gardens, 555 Irwin Lane, Santa Rosa, CA 95401-5657. 707-525-9644

FOR: Narrow-leaf and showy milkweed (seasonal availability); also many native nectar plants, both annual and perennial. Open Mar–Nov.

Theodore Payne Foundation, 818-768-1802 x23
FOR: Over a hundred species of native plant seed, including wildflowers, shrubs, grasses and trees, plus special mixes. Note: they don’t ship outside of CA.

Wildseed Farms, Fredericksburg, TX, 1-800-848-0078

FOR: regional wildflower mixes, wildflower seed and native grass seed.


DripWorks, 190 Sanhedrin Circle, Willits, CA 95490, 1-800-522-3747

FOR: Quality drip irrigation supplies; predesigned plans for irrigation systems, big library of how-to videos.

Urban Farmer Store, 653 E Blithedale Ave, Mill Valley, CA 94941 415-380-3840

FOR: all kinds of irrigation equipment and supplies, lines and sprinkler heads; also irrigation timers and good advice.

Compost, Soil, Stone and More

Grab N’ Grow Soil Products, 2759 Llano Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95407, 707-575-7275

FOR: bagged or bulk soil products and composts; organic nursery planter mix; All-green compost; cardboard in rolls for sheet mulching.

Harmony Farm Supply, 3244 Gravenstein Highway North, Graton (north of Sebastopol). 707-823-9125

FOR: vegetable starts (organically grown on site), bare root berries and fruit trees in season, soil amendments, compost bins, tools.

Marin Landscape Materials, 7596 Redwood Blvd., Novato, CA 94945, 415-897-1337

FOR: bulk soils suitable for vegetable gardening; bagged Pt. Reyes compost; gravel, pavers, stones and boulders.

Martin Brothers Supply, 232 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley (Tam Junction) 94941, 415-388-2025

FOR: organic soils and composts, especially good are super-harvest and mushroom composts for ornamentals and veggies.

W. Johnson Ornamental and Building Stone, 4132 Santa Rosa Ave., Santa Rosa, CA 95407, 707-584-7480

FOR: A huge selection of stones, from pavers to boulders, at good prices. Here you can personally select individual boulders. Delivery and placement services are also reasonably priced.


Lee Valley Tools, 1-800-267-8735

FOR: the very best gardening tools and great service, too!

Walton’s Saw and Knife Works, 44 Woodland Ave, San Rafael, CA 94901. 415-456-6320

FOR: great place to get your tools sharpened, plus they offer a huge selection of tools to cut and chop with.