The red buckwheat (Eriogonum grande var. rubescens) originates from the Channel Islands off the coast of California.
This attractive, small shrub features a rewarding show of red
blooms throughout the summer. Prefers full sun and, once
established, is drought resistant; the plants don’t usually need
water after the first summer. As a bonus, it does best in clay soil!
And the butterflies find it irresistible.
Red Monkey Flower
The red monkey flower (Mimulus aurantiacus var. puniceus) is a two-foot high evergreen shrub with striking, tubular red flowers during the spring and summer.
The hummingbirds certainly love them! It prefers full sun but will also grow in partial shade (try some under your oak tree). Once established, it has low water needs, but it does need good drainage. It grows to 2 feet x 2 feet.
The toyon, or Christmasberry (Heteromeles arbutifolia), is an evergreen shrub to small tree that usually grows to 10 feet high by 6 feet wide. Very old specimens can grow even larger.
It is ubiquitous in the California landscape, a delightful evergreen tree with white flowers in summer and red berries in winter. It is drought resistant and hardy down to at least to 10° F.
The toyon is adaptable to a variety of soil conditions. On the coast, it prefers full sun but will also tolerate full shade. There is also the cultivar ‘Davis Gold’ which has all of the great characteristics of the species but with golden yellow berries instead of the red berries.
If you would like more information about these plants, please check out the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkley.