California Poppies eschscholzia californica, the official State flower!
This the month to buy your plant seedlings! And early May is when there are numerous native plant sales in the Bay Area. For example for this weekend check your local newspaper for native plant events and locations.
Check this link for locations near you for this weekend native plant sales in conjunction with the "Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tours" http://www.bringingbackthenatives.net/plant-sale
Take advantage of this opportunity to purchase native plants not always available elsewhere.
The California Poppies (in the photo above) are quite hardy and are drought tolerant. Just be sure to give your seedlings a little water every other day when you first plant them until they establish themselves (about a week or so ). If they start to wither give them a little water.
Ray Hartman ceanothus
The Ray Hartman ceanothus is a cross between an island ceanothus and a Carmel ceanothus. It is easy to find in nurseries and produces brilliant purplish blue sprays of blossoms early to late spring. Requires no fuss to grow and attracts bees, butterflies and birds. Drought tolerant.
Hummingbird salvia/sage salvia spathacea
The Hummingbird salvia is a less common salvia with large leaves and spires with bright magenta blossoms. It does like to have a little water and thrives in areas with a little shade and room to spread. Ours grows in a large container pot and does well. It attracts butterflies and its namesake, hummingbirds. This particular salvia can get kind of scraggly so you'll want to grow it next to other native plants to fill out a garden area.
There are over 50 species of penstemon native to California. They are another hummingbird favorite. I don't remember the species name of this particular penstemon but it does very well in our garden. Penstemons prefer sun and porous well drained soil. But our penstemon plant is thriving in clay soil. I think it helps that we always spread every autumn at least an inch layer of woodchips around the plant. It likes a little water maybe once a month.
The plants listed here are California natives and drought tolerant and thriving in our garden. There are so many more out there that can be purchased from independent local nurseries.
More plant suggestions to come....