Beach Evening Primrose
Camissonia cheiranthifolia var. suffruticosa

Tony Baker’s List of Recommended Reference Books

California Landscape Garden: Ecology, Culture, and Design
Mark Francis and Andreas Reimann, University of California Press, 1999

A very useful guide to the understanding of the general principles of landscaping with California natives. Recommended for “do it yourself” homeowners.

California Native Plants for the Garden
Carol Bornstein, David Fross, and Bart O’Brien, Cachuma Press, 2005

The best and most complete book to date devoted to native gardening. Covering over 500 plants with extensive profiles accompanied by excellent color photos, it also includes information on California habitats, horticultural history, design, resources, and more. This is a “must have” book for backyard gardeners and professional landscapers.

California Native Trees and Shrubs
Lee Lenz and John Dourley, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1994

This is an authoritative text gleaned from years of experience growing natives at the renowned Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens.

Care and Maintenance of California Native Plant Gardens
Text by Bart O’Brien, Betsey Landis, and Ellen Mackey
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, CNPS, and Theodore Payne Foundation, 2006

A very welcome addition to the native plant library. Chock full of information on planting, watering and maintaining native gardens. The bilingual text is an excellent idea since a large percentage of Southern California gardeners are Spanish speakers.

Complete Garden Guide to the Native Perennials of California and
Complete Garden Guide to the Native Shrubs of California
Glenn Keator, Chronicle Books, 1990 and 1994.

These companion books have a tremendous amount of information on just about all of the native plants suitable for home garden cultivation. Includes line drawings and propagation information.

Designing California Native Gardens
Glenn Keator and Alrie Middlebrook, University of California Press, 2007

A practical native landscaping book with plans, photos and plant descriptions. An emphasis on natural habitat communities make this an outstanding addition to the native library.

Gardeners Guide to California Wildflowers
Kevin Connelly, Theodore Payne Foundation, 1991

Lots of useful information on growing natives is found in this book.

Native Gardens for Dry Climates
Sally Wasowski, Clarkson Potter, 1995

An inspirational and informational book for gardening with drought tolerant plants throughout the Southwest.

Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A.
Sally and Andy Wasowski, McGraw-Hill, 2000

An excellent illustrated guide to gardening with natives in dry climates from the Southwestern deserts to coastal Southern California.

Native Treasures: Gardening with the Plants of California
Nevin Smith, University of California Press, 2006

A compilation of native gardening profiles from Fremontia over the years by an expert on the subject.

Sunset Western Garden Book
Edited by Kathleen Brenzel, Sunset Publishing, 2007

The bible for Western United States horticulture. Each new edition includes more California native plants and greater emphasis on drought tolerant gardening techniques.

Landscape Plants for California Gardening
Bob Perry, Land Design Publishing, 2010

An expensive coffee table size book with over 3,100 excellent color photographs. It covers many native and non-native species that thrive in our climate. This book is especially useful to landscapers showing clients potential plant and tree choices.


The mission of the California Native Plant Society is to conserve California native plants and their natural habitats, and increase understanding, appreciation, and horticultural use of native plants.