California Natives in a Home Garden


Petaluma | 2,000 sq. ft. Front and Back Gardens

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Homeowner John introduces the garden.

Both front and back gardens were converted from lawns a few years ago through the City of Petaluma Mulch Madness Program. The front is mostly native plants and I have 6 raised beds in the back for a flower and food garden. The garden also has several fruit trees including peach, pluot, and lemon along with several shade and privacy trees. A community area across the street was also planted with native trees, shrubs, and ground cover species after the pine trees died from drought, beetles, and disease. Most of the 40+ species of natives in these gardens came from the Casa Grande High School Native Plant Nursery, which I managed for 10 years. This last year I captured three local honeybee swarms across the street and placed one in a hive in the backyard. I also added a 500 gallon rain catchment system last year and produced an instructional YouTube video on how it was built. These gardens attract many native insects and birds, and unfortunately, local house cats. No insecticides have been used for over 10 years and over 95% of weeds are hand pulled. Water is conserved with a variety of drip systems and amount of labor to maintain the gardens has been minimized. Pruning shears is now my most used garden tool.

Plants to Look Out For

John’s Top 10 Plants!

  1. California Aster (Aster chilensis)
  2. California Tea (Rupertia physodes)
  3. California Wild Rose (Rosa californica)
  4. Common Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  5. Giant Gum Plant (Grindelia camporum)
  6. Purple Needle Grass (Nassella pulchra)
  7. Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata)
  8. Silktassel (Garrya elliptica)
  9. Spicebush (Calycanthus occidentalis) – shade
  10. Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata)

A complete printable plant list for California Natives in a Home Garden can be downloaded using the blue button below.


City of Petaluma Mulch Madness Program

mulch-madness-logo.gif.pagespeed.ce.9cPYF7AAfVBetween May 1 and October 1 the City of Petaluma is offering free mulch, compost, cardboard, an irrigation conversion kit and free native plants from a local native plant nursery to those customers who wish to sheet mulch their existing turf. This even includes delivery of the mulch, compost and cardboard. It’s Madness! Further details about the program are available here.