After being in New York for ten days I was looking forward to coming home to see what changes had taken place in the garden while I was gone. As soon as we drove up the first thing to catch my eye in the street garden was the big showy blooms of the Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri). I was thrilled to see them in bloom, their tall stalks swaying in the breeze making the flowers look like they were waving hello to me!
This California native is one of my favorites and like some of the finicky natives in our area, can be a challenge to grow. I have some in Laguna that took me years to get going and I noticed this year that they have relocated themselves about fifty feet away from where I first planted them. At least they stuck around! Although I have grown them for a long time, I have yet to have developed a huge stand of them that they are capable of producing. I get a few lanky blooms a year, but even that makes me happy. They are very picky about having good drainage and are much more happy with sandy feet, something that is hard to get in most gardens in our area. Because California has such a variety of climates and topography, just because something is a native doesn't mean it will be happy on your street, in your garden without making a few adjustments to meet it's needs!