Golden Currant

  • Golden Currant growing with Hummingbird Sage in the partial shade of a Coast Live Oak
    Golden Currant growing with Hummingbird Sage in the partial shade of a Coast Live Oak
  • A native bee, probably one of the 'Leafcutters' sips  nectar from the flowers
    A native bee, probably one of the 'Leafcutters' sips nectar from the flowers
  • Salvia spathaceae 'Avis Keedy' has pale yellow blooms
    Salvia spathaceae 'Avis Keedy' has pale yellow blooms

Golden Currant (Ribes aureum) grows in my garden in the partial shade of a big old Coast Live Oak. I established the shrubs several years ago with the aid of DriWater, and now the whole planting exists on rainwater alone. Deer do like to nibble on the small smooth leaves, so to create some protection I planted Hummingbird Sage all around the shrubs. I choose a yellow flowered hybrid of this native Salvia called ‘Avis Keedy’; the pale yellow flowers put on a show about the time that the Currant flowers are fading.   

Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathaceae) is a creeping groundcover which goes dormant in the summer. The leaves are large, very sticky, and strongly scented; and the deer hate this plant. They dislike it so much that they avoid stepping into it, and so now, they no longer get close enough to the Currant to do much browsing.   

This native shrub is now in its full glory; hundreds of lovely little yellow flowers dangle from arching stems, all beckoning to the pollinators. The Beefly favors nectar from these flowers, as do many of our native bees. Berries are developing by early summer; on my shrubs they have never been profuse and the birds seem to get most of them.