UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County
University of California
UCCE Master Gardeners of Sacramento County

Water-Efficient Landscape Gardens in June

Home » Fair Oaks Horticulture Center » WEL Gardens » June in the WEL

Welcome back!  The WEL gardens at the Fair Oaks Horticulture Center are open to the public seven days a week from sunrise to sunset for self-guided tours.  Due to COVID-19 health guidelines, the WEL Gardens will be closed during scheduled maintenance workdays.

Wheelchair accessible, the gardens feature natives, commonly available perennials, trees, shrubs, and plants from other Mediterranean climates that do well with less water during our long, hot, dry summers and tolerate our chilly, damp Sacramento County winters. Most plants are labeled and many are UC Davis Arboretum All-Stars.

June in the WEL

Click here for resources about gardening with limited water.

Although the calendar says summer arrives June 21 our early June weather feels like we are in midsummer now.  The garden is definitely trying on it’s summer wardrobe. Many of our ornamental grasses are starting their long lasting bloom cycles as fresh yellow, green and pink flower heads dry and fade to golden browns that catch the light and shimmer as accents and background screens. Fresh blossoms of summer flowering sages, goldenrod, hummingbird plant, and santolina  (and more…come visit!) delight the eyes and beckon birds, bees and other beneficials. Occasionally, we are able to spot a ‘Big Orange Bee’ or BOB, the amber colored, non-stinging, green-eyed male Valley carpenter bee, also known as a ‘Teddy Bear’ bee. See information about attracting beneficial insects to your garden (PDF 171kb). 

Volunteer sunflowers are starting to bloom in the dry creek bed, along the perimeter walk and near the garden entrance.  Coral yucca, lantana, and butterfly bushes charm visitors to the entrance mediterranean region raised beds. Native blooming deer grass and blue grama grasses and drying sulfur buckwheat blooms are among the native garden charms, while blue grey and lavender Russian sages, lambs ear, plumbagos, society garlic, lantana and verbenas add a cooling touch in the common variety garden. In the new Ultra Water-Efficient garden the giant hesperaloe spiking flower stalks are attracting hummingbirds.

Garden chores this month include weeding out newly germinating annual weeds such as bedstraw, spotted spurge, and oxalis before they set seed, controlling bindweed and pulling up oak and other tree sprouts while watching out for garden pests and diseases. (A good guide to identifying and controlling weeds can be found at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/weeds_all.html).
We will also be deadheading lavenders, Jupiter’s beard, germander, Santa Barbara daisy and santolina.  It is also time to consider pruning and shaping native ceanothus, currants and sages while they slow their growth in adjustment to the warm dry days ahead. (A good resource for flower problems is the UC Integrated Pest Management website http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/flowermenu.html)

In addition to the plants, pathways, patios, raised planters, drip irrigation, a dry creek bed and permeable pavement demonstrate water wise, sustainable alternatives for gardeners who are considering replacing or reducing their lawns.
Dicliptera suberecta
Hummingbird Plant
This native of Uruguay is an amazingly durable and long blooming perennial plant. The blooms can be up to 2 feet tall and the mounding plant may reach 3 feet across. Stems and leaves are covered with velvety gray felt which makes a dramatic setting for the tubular orange flowers which are produced summer into fall that are beloved by hummingbirds.
Preferring full sun and good drainage the plant is not picky about soil types. (Ours is planted on a slight slope to improve drainage). It dies back in winter but regrows in spring which makes it a good choice for areas where spring bulbs can star before it comes back to life.

Eriogonum umbellatum var. polyanthum
Sulfur Buckwheat

This native of Northern California mountain areas adapts well to our climate and soil.  It grows as a mounding small semi-evergreen subshrub 1-1/2 feet tall to 3 feet wide.  The bright yellow pom-pom like spring blossoms dry to a long lasting sulfur colored seed head. It can tolerate some shade and prefers good drainage.


Hesperaloe parviflora
Coral yucca

Just inside the entrance gate to the Horticulture center garden, a visitor first sees the glorious Hesperaloe parviflora, or coral yucca, growing in the center planter.  Its clusters of rose-pink flower stalks arch up and outward like fireworks just in time for the 4th of July.

Native to the Chihuahuan desert of west Texas east and south into central and south Texas and northeastern Mexico around Coahuila, the coral yucca has become popular throughout California and the Southwest.  Some of its qualities include drought tolerance, heat resistance, low maintenance needs, hummingbird-attracting flowers, and an architectural form.  In addition, it has few disease or pest problems.

A UC Davis Arboretum All-Star selection.


Punica granatum  ‘Nana’
Dwarf Pomegranate

Pomegranates, natives of Northern Africa, Afghanistan, Iran, and the Himalayas, have been in California since the 1770s. Featured at the entrance to our commonly available garden, this dwarf variety blooms from spring to fall. Small fall ripening fruit is primarily decorative. Mostly evergreen here, it will lose its leaves if frosted. Tolerant of many soil types including alkaline soils, as well as heat, cold, and drought tolerant, it makes a good foundation shrub, hedge, accent or small tree. ‘Nana’ grows to 3 feet high by 6 feet wide.

'Winnifred Gilman'
'Winnifred Gilman'

Salvia clevelandii ‘Whirly Blue’, Winnifred Gilman’
Cleveland Sage, California Blue Sage

These California native, sun loving, small evergreen shrubs grow 3 to 5 feet tall and 5 to 8 feet wide.   Brilliant  blue-violet flower whirls on maroon colored stems appear from spring to early summer.  Flowers invite hummingbirds, butterflies and beneficial insects to visit, and make attractive dried flowers. A member of the sage family, it has an easily recognized aromatic fragrance when the leaves are bushed lightly. Heat and drought tolerant once established.

‘Winnifred Gilman’ is a UC Davis Arboretum All-Star.


Salvia greggii ‘Hot Lips’, ‘Lipstick’, Raspberry’, ‘Red Lady’, ‘Blaze’, ‘Sparkle’
Autumn sage

Commonly called Autumn sage, these evergreen members of the sage family with charming red, pink, red and white blooms (depending upon variety) start blooming in spring and often bloom non-stop through fall, especially if spent flower stalks are pruned back.  They typically grow 1 to 4 feet tall and wide.  If properly sited in full sun or part shade, they are practically "goof proof," easy care, drought tolerant plants that attract hummingbirds, bees and other beneficial insects.  They can be pruned in late winter to keep compact.

A UC Davis Arboretum All-Star selection.

4145 Branch Center Road, Sacramento, CA 95827       Master Gardener Phone:  916.876.5338             Fax:  916.875.6233

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