Charlotte T’s Habitat Garden


Novato | Native Habitat Garden

This is a naturalist’s garden; it’s alive with birds and butterflies, lizards, beneficial insects and Pacific treefrogs. Western Bluebirds, Bewick’s Wren, Trees Swallows, Schreech Owls, and Ash-Throated Flycatcher’s have all used nesting boxes placed throughout the gardens and nearby woods. The garden is sited in an Oak Woodland next to open space, so great care has been taken to avoid invasive plant species. Deer, coyote, gray foxes, bobcats, and turkeys visit the garden regularly.

The deer-resistant ornamental front border is a mixture of California native plants, grasses, and drought tolerant Mediterranean species. Many of the plants, including trees, were started by seed or cuttings. Larval host plants are provided for nineteen species of butterflies. Food, water, cover and nesting sites are provided for more than thirty-six species of birds that live here throughout the year. Charlotte loves Salvias and there are three dozen species and varieties growing here.

This garden is ‘Bay-Friendly’ and also a Pesticide-Free-Zone; only sustainable, organic gardening methods are used. Drip irrigation systems are used throughout the gardens, and mulch or compost is applied each year. The dry-stack methods used to build stone retaining walls and beds offer lots of hiding places for all sorts of creatures. The boulders and permeable gravel pathways create a heat sink. Irregular stone surfaces make shallow pools of water available to wildlife; water is also provided in the form of a bird bath, misting shower and several small ponds.

Events at Charlotte T’s Habitat Garden

  • Plant sale including natives and habitat (non-native) plants 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Plant List

  1. Asclepias speciosa (Showy Milkweed), A. fascicularis (Narrowleaf Milkweed), A. curassavica (Tropical Milkweed)
  2. Berberis nevinii (Nevin’s Barberry)
  3. Calamagrostis foliosa (Mendocino Reed Grass)
  4. Cirsium occidentale (Cobweb Thistle)
  5. Datura wrightii (Sacred Datura)
  6. Eriogonum giganteum (St. Catherine’s Lace)
  7. Festuca californica (California Fescue)
  8. Holodiscus discolor (Cream Bush)
  9. Lepechinia calycina (Pitcher Sage), L. fragrans (Island Pitcher Sage)
  10. Mimulus aurantiacus (Sticky Monkey Flower), M. guttatus (Seep Monkey Flower), M. cardinalis (Scarlet Monkey Flower)
  11. Muhlenbergia rigens (Deer Grass)
  12. Peritoma arborea (Bladderpod)
  13. Salvia apiana (White Sage), S. clevelandii (Cleveland Sage), S. melissadora (Grape Scented Sage)
  14. Scuttelaria californica (California Skullcap)
  15. Sphaeralcea ambigua (Apricot Mallow)

Habitat Gardens

There’s a new paradigm in the gardening world that is steadily gaining momentum; and it’s all about viewing the garden as a living ecosystem rather than merely as outdoor decoration! Habitat gardeners recognize the intricate relationships between native plants and the host of native creatures that evolved in associations with these plants. Habitat gardens are designed to provide food, cover, water, and nesting opportunities for wildlife; enhanced conditions that bring fascinating creatures closer to home. Habitat gardeners embrace biological diversity, ecological design, and environmentally friendly gardening methods. Perhaps most importantly, habitat gardens help to re-establish corridors between open spaces for wildlife, many already in decline and stressed by human encroachment into wilder lands. Habitat gardens are an oasis for creatures in areas otherwise dominated by ‘green deserts’.