Eco-Friendly Garden Tour – Mandala Garden


Daily ActsPetaluma Homestead

Limited visiting hours: 10AM – 1PM

This garden is featured in the Daily Acts Rockin’ Homestead Tour.

Eco-Tour Picture 1Eco-Tour Picture 2Eco-Tour Picture 3Eco-Tour Picture 4Eco-Tour Picture 5Eco-Tour Picture 6

When Michelle and Craig moved into their home two years ago, the backyard and side yard were entirely lawn. With the help of the Mulch Madness Program offered by the City of Petaluma they sheet mulched the lawn over their first winter, and the following March began planting and installing veggie beds. The existing irrigation system was modified to create separate hydrozones for the fruit trees, veggies and natives, so that plants could be irrigated according to their water requirement.

The landscape is edible, including fifteen fruit trees, one nut tree, a dozen berry bushes, and lots of herbs and veggies. In their second winter, just before the big rains, the couple threw out a ton of seeds—wildflowers, nitrogen fixers, and cover crop—all of which sprang up early, providing beautiful color, food and shelter for beneficial insects, and lush ground cover, without any irrigation needed. The mulch held the moisture in the ground months after the rains were gone.

More recently Michelle and Craig installed a laundry-to-landscape graywater system, which provides irrigation to half a dozen fruit trees. They are now in the process of creating an outdoor solar-heated shower to irrigate more of the landscape and are also considering rainwater catchment.

Parking and Access

Garden is located on a relatively steep street with limited parking. Please park on Mountain View Ave at the base of Halsey and walk half way up the hill to the house on the right. Front of garden is accessible by sidewalk (again this is steep) but the back garden path is narrow and not wide enough for wheel chair access.

Plant List

Ornamental Plants

  1. Ceanothus ‘Ray Hartman’
  2. Eschscholzia californica (California Poppy)
  3. Festuca spp. (Fescue)
  4. Lavendula spp. (Lavender)
  5. Phacelia californica
  6. Rosmarinus spp. (Rosemary)
  7. Salvia apiana (White Sage),  S. leucantha (Mexican Bush Sage), S. mellifera (Black Sage)
  8. Thymus serpyllum ‘Elfin’ (Elfin Thyme)

Fruit Trees

Pineapple guava, Persimmon, Fig, Pomegranate

Cover Crops

Lupine, Pea, Daikon Radish, Crimson Clover, Fava Bean, Vetch

Russian River Friendly Landscaping Principles and Practices

Nurture the Soil

Soil is a complex, dynamic combination of minerals, air, water and organic matter. And although organic matter is a small fraction of the soil, it is a vital component. It includes plant and animal debris in various stages of decay as well as many living organisms — one teaspoon of a healthy soil can contain billions of beneficial bacteria and fungi.

A cornerstone of Russian River-Friendly landscaping is creating and protecting conditions for a diversity of beneficial soil organisms. It is based on the principle of feeding the soil, not the plant, to encourage a thriving community — a foodweb — of microorganisms, worms and other beneficial creatures. Healthy soil is alive!

Russian River FLG LogoWhy Does Soil Life Matter?

Living soil is teeming with bacteria, fungi, protozoa, beneficial nematodes, insects, worms and other beneficial organisms — amazing workhorses that will carry out the following valuable processes:

  • Creating soil structure
  • Storing and cycling nutrients
  • Protecting plants from pests
  • Improving water infiltration and storage
  • Filtering out urban pollutants

Functions of a Healthy Living Soil

  • Store water and nutrients
  • Groundwater recharge and runoff reduction
  • Neutralization of pollutants
  • Resists pests