April 2012 Bulletin

April in the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden

The monthy bulletin of the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, all-volunteer managed garden.  

IN THIS ISSUE: Wooly Blue Curls (Trichostema lantanum,) Elderberry (Sambucus mexicana,) Sea Urchin Flower and more.


Elderberry- Sambucus Mexicana

In California, our native elderberry, Sambucus mexicana is now in full bloom throughout the garden and in the Santa Monica Mountains. The clusters of fragrant white blossoms are followed in September by clusters of small dark edible berries. The berries are poisonous in their unripe state, but the mature berries are used to make a rich and flavorful wine. The blossoms can be used in teas because their balmy flavor lends itself to sweetened beverages.  Beware, the young leaves are also poisonous.

Look for the blossom laden elderberry bushes, growing up to 26 feet, on moist sunny banks and clearings. Almost all parts of the bushes were used in healing by our native culture.  Elderberries are highly prized by the Southern California Cahuilla Indians, who gather and dry the berries. The coastal Chumash used the elderberry wood to make their ceremonial musical instruments.


    -Sandy Krutilek


Propagation and Sales

by Barbara Song, CVBG Volunteer


As if prearranged, a "perfect storm" preceded the advent of spring, refreshing the earth to renew hillsides and bring forth a cheery array of blooming trees and emerging wildflowers.

With the prospect of more rain in the forecast, California gardeners are eager to begin planting and and refurbishing landscapes damaged by cold and even frostbite. At the CVBG volunteers are restocking the nursery tables and sales areas with a diversity of plants and shrubs. We are also readying an assortment of succulents to have available. They certainly are durable, non thirsty and many are in bloom right now. Drop by on Sundays at the Kids' Adventure Garden and let us help you with some selections.


What's in a Name?

by Diane Conejo

Wooly Blue Curls


There are many eye-catching, drought-tolerant native plants to use in a California gardener’s paradise, but one that is seldom planted has an interesting name that describes it perfectly!          A native-loving friend asked me if I knew the plant called ‘Woolly Blue Curls’ (common name) and I couldn’t place it, so I got on my computer and ‘Googled it’. What I found was another plant I couldn’t live without!

The botanical name, Trichostema lanatum means: Hairy stamens and woolly. It is classified as a native shrub in the Lamiaceae family (Mint) and is limited to California alone. It is very drought-tolerant and likes to languish in full sun, but will tolerate some light shade, clay soil and an occasional drink. The larger photo shows the ‘Cuesta Ridge’ variety and you can easily see what kind of company it attracts!

Often the color is simply a clear blue-violet against silvery pubescent buds and bright green rosemary-like foliage that is pungently aromatic. With color so true, you don’t need much more pizzazz. Ask a hummingbird!


Sunday Plant Sales

Plant sales are held every Sunday at the CVBG from 10:30-2:30 in the area next to the Kids' Adventure Garden, located at 350 W. Gainsborough Rd. California natives, hardy, water wise perennials, shrubs, trees and succulents, reasonably priced are available. CVBG volunteers will be happy to help you with selections and share their expertise. 



Irene Benyoung is willing, by special  appointment only, to meet customers at the Plant Sale area on Wednesdays.
Please contact her by e-mail to make an appointment.  ibenyoung@yahoo.com

Sea Urchin Flower

Birthday Parties 

The birthday parties held at the KAG on Saturdays have become very popular. So popular that Betty needs more volunteers to give her some help. It is a lot of fun and not too much work. Sometimes the kids come in costumes, depending on what the 'theme' of the party may be. The adults set up and take down the tables and chairs. There is a donation to use the garden. You help by keep your eyes on the kids as they get excited about having a party at the KAG. Sometimes you even get a piece of birthday cake. If you are willing to help by giving a few hours of your time, give Betty a call at 1-818-889-0560. 


Want to Help us Grow?

Do you love Conejo Valley Botanic Garden and would like to help, but just don't have the time to volunteer? Even though much of the work you see going on in the garden is done by volunteers, we still have expenses for planting, heavy pruning and new improvements. These projects are funded through grants and donations from the community.  If you would like to help us grow, tax deductible donations are always welcome and may be made out and sent to Conejo Valley Botanic Garden, PO Box 6614, Thousand Oaks, CA 91359. Thanks for all your support!


The Conejo Valley Botanic Garden Needs YOU!

The Garden is managed and maintained by community volunteers. Without your help, the garden cannot thrive. None of the volunteer positions at CVBG has a minimum number of volunteer hours attached. If you can help for a few hours a month, great! For more information on any of our volunteer opportunities, please click here.




Assistant to the Volunteer Coordinator:  Help recruit new volunteers and match them with garden jobs they might enjoy.

Adopt A Garden: We have an ongoing need for volunteers to join the teams working in our theme gardens. Days and hours are flexible so give us a call.

Garden Nursery: There is no better way to lean about California native and water wise plants than to join the teams working in the propagation and sales nurseries.

The Kids Adventure Garden:  KAG is open from 11:00 to 3:00 each Sunday.  Docents welcome families to the garden, answer questions and ensure everyone is safe and has fun. You will train with an experienced Docent. You can sign up for one shift a month or as many as you want.  Email: conejogarden1623@hotmail.com

April, 2012