Wild Plants in Your Regional Back Yard

Have you seen this great feature from the East Bay Regional Park District’s website?  EBRPD offers park-specific wildflower photo guides.  Available to download in PDF, there is a wildflower photo guide for over 40 different local parks and hiking trails.   What a great way to get to know your local hillsides and outdoor hideaways. Check out the link, print away and get to exploring!  


Plant Highlight: Cercis occidentalis

The Western Redbud is quite a dramatic California native and can be grown as a large shrub or a small trunked tree.  The flowers are a vibrant magenta and one of the most striking parts of the tree.  The leaves also make a statement- they’re kidney shaped ranging in color from bright new green, to Kelly Green to a bluish-green.  In the autumn the leaves turn yellow and after falling the tree produces long, flattened maroon seed pods. 

Aside from the plants’ noteworthy appearances, it’s a California native in the truest sense- quite the water-wise dream!  You can remove any regular irrigation once the plant is established with a good soak every few weeks in the summer and fall.

Western Redbuds are also a great choice because of the attractive shape & size and generally speaking do not require pruning or maintenance.  Mature height and spread is approximately 12-20’ which is a relatively small size for most gardens.  If you favor more of a tree like shape you can prune off the lower limbs.  The Western Redbud likes full sun, a bit of shade, and handles most soils.

Who doesn’t love a great California native?  Reader, meet Cercis occidentalis, Western Redbud.  Western Redbud, meet our reader!

Profile: Kelly Silva


“The best thing about working at Cleary Bros. Landscape is the caliber of people that I have the pleasure of working with and being challenged by. Coming from working for a city police department as a 911 & Police Dispatcher and Southwest Airlines prior to that, I am accustomed to working in a fast-paced, results-driven, customer service oriented environment.  But the passion with which the Cleary Bros. team embraces these challenges is second to none. I am constantly impressed and encouraged by the talent here.”

Kelly started with Cleary Bros. five years ago as an assistant project manager in construction and now works for the Tree Division to provide administrative services and project management support to the tree team.  Bay Friendly certified with an educational background in horticulture and human development, Kelly’s unique skill set make her a valuable asset to the company.

Outside of work Kelly’s interests are eclectic, to say the least!  Kelly loves to travel and has been to Italy, Greece, Mexico and lived in Okinawa for two years while serving in the U. S. Air Force.  Closer to home, Kelly recently started her own photography business, began taking kung foo san soo lessons and volunteers for an amazing non-profit, FESCO (serving homeless families), once running a gardening program for one of their transitional housing facilities.  As if that’s not enough she’s learned to spit fire, zip lined through Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco, is learning how to make the perfect chocolate truffle, and is an amateur “foodie” who enjoys trying new foods (beef cheeks?).  But her favorite pastime is exploring the Bay Area with her two nephews who just happen to be the cutest kids ever.