• California Bush Anemone!

    by  • May 23, 2017 • CA natives, Garden

    Happy discovery!

    On Crane Valley Rd (221), just north of Manzanita Lake Rd,(222) going toward Bass Lake, I discovered something quite wonderful! Two full grown California Bush Anemones! That may not sound exciting, but in my own garden I had just discovered that my own California Bush Anemone, Carpenteria californica, finally, finally, had pushed up a bloom stalk and had flowered!

    I purchased it at Intermountain Nursery four years ago, and it has just sat, evergreen and fascinating,…and now I know what it will look like now that our spring rains helped it grow to twice its size. I’m thrilled at the same time to discover a wild one in my nearby area!

    My little CA Anemone

    Here is mine. I shouldn’t be proud,…but at least now I can see the future. I bought this five years ago at Intermountain Nursery in 2012.

    One of three or four flowers, a little tattered and eaten, first bloomed this Spring 2016! Yea! But I hope you will also try one and be able to see an California Anemone, the whole full-grown shrub in the wild.



    There are two, tucked into this oak tree, next to a power pole…

    Las Pilitas Nursery says, “Carpenteria californica has proven cold tolerant to 10 degrees F.; no problem. The bark burned off of it at 2 degrees F.
    A public garden in Bakersfield has this plant in full sun with minimum water and care and it looks great. Deer generally don’t bother with this plant until things get real bad.”   I hope you can find them if you’d like to.


    Carpenteria californica, California Anemone

    The flower really does look similar to a hybrid Anemone bloom.


    Carpenteria californica, California Anemone

    Las Pilitas Nursery says, “Carpenteria californica is an evergreen shrub, 6′ by 3′ in the garden, 8 ft. X 12 ft. with a 6-12 inch trunk in the wild. Carpenteria is native to the foothills of Fresno County, where it grows along the edges of seasonal creeks.”


    Carpenteria californica, California Anemone

    Bonnie Bladen, owner of Intermountain Nursery tells me, “ It also grows on slopes in canyons where it is partially shaded in the afternoon. It is very drought tolerant and will look like it is wilting in the summer without any water, but perk back up every fall, or if it gets water as in a garden setting, it will stay perky all year. We water ours one a week during the summer.”


    Carpenteria californica, California Anemone

    Just masses of blooms show here at the end of May

    Las Pilitas tells us, “Native in decomposed granite but tolerates adobe and loam well. Tolerates sun to shade. Do not over feed, will grow rank with too much care. It is refined with moderate neglect but needs some water if your rainfall is less than 20 inches per year,” Las Pilitas says.

    This gives me a clue that the increased growth in my California Anemone, and possibly this wild shrub, was a result of our higher than normal rainfall.


    Carpenteria californica, California Anemone

    Las Pilitas says, “Bush Anemone has been in cultivation since 1875. The English use it commonly. “This is an almost hardy evergreen shrub, grown chiefly for its attractive flowers. The single anemone-shaped, scented flowers are glistening white; they are 2-3 in. across and are borne in June and July.”(Hay).”


    Carpenteria californica, California Anemone

    A blooming wall, full of fat, round buds!
    Las Pilitas tells us, “Stunningly beautiful in flower and decent looking when not. The prefect hedge for the narrow flower bed with a lawn on one side and a fence or neighbor on the other. We like this plant and do not know why it’s not grown more.”How would this look in your dry garden? Stunning, right?!

    “The plant is garden and drip tolerant with good drainage I suppose you could overwater in heavy soils, for the rest of you it will tolerate wet conditions and loves to be three to four feet from a lawn.”


    Carpenteria californica, California Anemone

    The fragrance was fresh, clean and very much like a gardenia, but mild.

    Update,…this year, my California Anemone has four times a many flowers, 25 to 30!  I’m considering moving it or remodeling the garden paths to accommodate it if it should grow very large. When it blooms, I’ll add a photo.  Exciting!


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.