Dichelostemma capitatum, in bloom in the garden now:
My plants come from a native plant sale ten years ago, and they’ve multiplied in the front yard, through both division of the bulbs and self-sowing. In a wet year the flowering stems may rise up two feet, and little clusters of lavender blossoms for a couple of weeks. Though mostly stems, the plants in bloom are surprisingly striking. Out of bloom, there’s so little to the plants that they almost vanish out of sight.
I haven’t been out to the local canyons this season, but I’m sure the blue dicks (really, that’s what they call them!) are making their presence known. Even if you don’t devote your whole yard to natives, having some exemplary ones around connects you to your environment. You know that if something is blooming in your yard it’s blooming in the wild lands around you. You feel a part of something much larger than your own garden. On the other hand, with things like hybrid petunias or modern roses, well, they might look pretty, but they don’t root you in the same way. They don’t give you that same sense of place and belonging.