Ashyleaf Buckwheat is a late summer wildlife feast. It started blooming in August in the middle of a heat wave and will continue to display flowers into the late fall. Ashlyleaf Buckwheat is easy to grow in full sun to part shade and tolerates a wide variety of soils including clay. It's drought tolerant, and after the first two years, it only requires twice a month of summer watering in Porterville. Select this buckwheat for its shape, leaf color, low water needs, and wide garden versatility. In addition to providing a stable filler plant between showy plants, Ashyleaf serves to hold soil on hillsides and is perfect in rock gardens.
Ashleaf Buckwheat is native to the coast of California south of Santa Barbara but grows very well in the Central Valley. It is a neat, evergreen, rounded shrub with oval light silvery grey leaves. This shrub grows two feet tall and four feet wide in two years then grows slowly to twice this size. The flowers start a delicate white and pink then turn rust color as they age and are held above the leaves on slender stems.
Ashyleaf Buckwheat can be used for bank stabilization and is excellent for bee, bird, and butterfly gardens. The buckwheats are very important for butterflies and native wasps. The wasps are small predatory insects that control the aphids, mealy bugs, and scale insects in your garden. Flowers, leaves, and seeds are used by many smaller animals. Plan your low-water use garden by choosing companion plants that also need little supplemental water such as California Fuchsia, Bush Monkeyflower, Desert Marigold, and Sages.
Generally, little maintenance is necessary. Remove seed heads in late fall and dead branches during the growing season. Older untidy plants can be pruned back to 8 inches in the fall to reestablish shape. After flowering, leave spent flowers to dry into red / brown clusters. This is part of the desired look of native buckwheat's, the clusters hold seeds which are valuable wildlife food. More information on this plant can be found at calscape.org by searching for the plant by name.
The following are just five of the plants which you can see blooming this month in a quarter-mile walk along the Tule River Parkway between Jaye Street and Parkway Drive.
Ashyleaf Buckwheat (Eriogonum cinereum)
Desert Marigold (Baileya multiradiata)
Woolly Blue Curls (Trichostema lanatum)
Common Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)
California Fuchsia (Epilobium sp.)
Many California native plants are available at Quercus Landscape Design in Springville https://quercuslandscapedesign.com/availability, Dry Creek Nursery 35220 Dry Creek Dr, Woodlake, CA 93286 Call: 559-738-0211x115, Luis’ Nursery 139 S Mariposa Ave, Visalia, and Alta Vista Nursery in Three Rivers which is open by appointment 559 799 7438.
Each of the Native Plant Demonstration Gardens is featured on the website tuleriverparkwayassociation.org
The Tule River Parkway is a City of Porterville public park which provides a three-mile paved walking and bicycle path. The gardens were planted and maintained by volunteers with the Tule River Parkway Association project management. We have volunteer garden days each month. Volunteers will add over a hundred new plants to the gardens and restoration areas this season. Follow Tule River Parkway Association on Facebook or our website for announcements. Volunteers are welcome to join us to care for the gardens.
Cathy Capone the volunteer project manager can be reached at 559-361-9164.
Submitted by Cathy Capone. Photos by Cathy Capone