Sebastopol | Small City Garden
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Homeowner Sally introduces her garden.
August 2013 I bought a small c. 1900 house in downtown Sebastopol. The back yard was a weed patch. The front yard had lawns and a venerable Catalpa tree. Along the sides of the house were lilacs and a giant camellia.
March 2014, with LOTS of compost, I started planting. My previous garden had been in pots, tubs, troughs—137 containers. It took 30+ loads with my old Volvo to drive them 6 blocks to their new home. Several had been in my mom’s garden in San Mateo county, including a 60+ year old Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick. 4 modest potted citrus are now an 8 feet tall “Citrus Forest” on the south side of the house. My hope was to make a garden that would welcome and nourish pollinators. I was helped by Bryce MacMath, who trained at Occidental Arts & Ecology Center. We laid out the beds. He installed the initial drip irrigation. I sheet mulched the lawns, using cardboard, compost and chips from on-site tree work. Boards from the old back fence were ripped into thirds, creating a “new” picket fence, separating the garden from South Main Street.
The front is mostly California natives, with plants from elsewhere favored by honey, native bees and butterflies, including Pipeline Swallowtail, Monarchs and Anise Swallowtails. In front is a “Little Free Library” that matches the house. I welcome garden visitors, insect, avian and human. The garden behind the house features many species of Buckwheat, Salvia and Monkey flower. It’s a combination of plants I’ve grown for years, gifts (some still unidentified), and new faves. Most have been chosen to provide nectar, pollen or seed for insects and birds. Bird sightings range from Anna’s Hummingbirds to Barn Owl.
My goal is to reduce water consumption as the garden becomes established. This little urban garden produces vast amounts of organic material that I hot compost. Kitchen waste goes to my worm box. I doubt I’ll need to buy any more compost. I’ve used fences and the shared hedge to grow different vines for vertical excitement. They were chosen because they are pollinator friendly, or fragrant. The patio is made from bricks from the kitchen chimney that was demolished. I’ve used old objects as planters, including my great-grandmothers two cast iron kettles. She originally used them to make soap and render lard. I enjoy a bit of whimsy. Look up as you wander the garden. There are surprises….Sally Anderson
Plants to Look out For
Some of Sally’s Favorite Plants
- Soap Plant (Chlorogalum pomeridianum)
- Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)
- Chinese Houses (Collinsia heterophylla)
- Slender Cinquefoil (Pontentilla gracilis)
- Coffeeberry (Frangula californica)
- Dutchman’s Pipevine (Aristolochia californica)
- Woodland Phacelia (Phacelia bolanderii)
- Western Spicebush (Calycanthus occidentalis) – shade
- Cedars Cream Bush (Holodiscus dumosus var.cedrorus)
- Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Black Beauty’)
- Red Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus ‘Red’)
- Anise Hyssop (Agastache ‘Summer Fiesta’)
- Calamint (Calamintha nepetoides)
- Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthus ‘Amber Velvet’)
A complete printable plant list for Blossoms, Bees, Bugs, Birds, Butterflies (and Books) can be downloaded using the blue button below.