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California's Most Colorful Plants: Designing for Color Throughout the Year

CEU Accreditation: LA CES, 1.5; LEED, 1.5; APLD, 1.5

Presented by: Mike Evans & Orchid Black
Saturday, February 9th - 8:30 - 10:00 AM

Course Description:

Spring in California is a riot of color, sending photographers to the wildflower meadows and inspiring numerous native garden tours. Surprisingly, some natives bloom almost year-round. Other California plants bloom at different times of the year, whether in January or July. Features such as colorful leaves, berries and stems provide additional interest in Fall and Winter. Creating continuous bloom also helps pollinators thrive, enhancing habitat. This course provides a tour through the most colorful plants in the California native palette with plant descriptions and bloom times, as well as numerous examples of color in the landscape and the most striking color combinations. A descriptive plant list will be made available.


Mike Evans was born and raised in southern California and demonstrated an early love for the outdoors. He worked with several nurseries both retail and wholesale, before establishing Tree of Life Nursery in 1976. The nursery specializes in native California plants. Tree of Life Nursery promotes a style of authentic horticulture, specifically the concept of appropriate landscaping with native California plants. Evans is affiliated with numerous conservation, horticultural and botanical organizations. He is past president (2005) of the International Plant Propagators Society, and past president (2001) of the California Society for Ecological Restoration. Evans was involved in water conservation during the 1980's as a founding member of the Xeriscape committee through Metropolitan Water District. In addition, he has been active in the California Native Plant Society, the California Botanical Society, and The Nature Conservancy. He served on the horticultural committee for The Jepson Manual project, the definitive California flora published in 1993. Mike is one of the original board members on the Donna O'Neill Land Conservancy in San Juan Capistrano. He also serves on the boards for Casa Romantica Cultural Center in San Clemente, and the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society.

With his experience in native plant production, design, landscaping, and ecological restoration, Evans advocates a California that deserves to look like the true "California." He often is called on to write or lecture on the subject. His hobbies include hiking, surfing, photography, reading and writing. Evans serves as pastor of a Spanish language Christian church in San Juan Capistrano.

Evans is president of Tree of Life Nursery. In 2007, the nursery was honored to receive the Horticultural Award from the California Native Plant Society and the California Glory Award presented by the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.


Orchid Black is a garden designer whose practice focuses on California native plants. Her gardens have been featured on the Theodore Payne Foundation (TPF) Garden Tour and with the Friends of Washington Park and TPF. She has been active in the design and restoration of Washington Park in Pasadena, originally designed by famed horticulturist Theodore Payne, which won an ASLA Award.

Black teaches at the Theodore Payne Foundation and Sustainable Garden Practice for UCLA Extension, and gives lectures and workshops on native horticulture and oak culture throughout Southern California. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the California Native Plant Society. Black can be found online at

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