Novato | Large Mostly Native Garden
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
This is a naturalist’s garden; where life itself creates conditions conducive to still more life! As such the garden is ever-changing, and the gardener becomes merely a skilled editor. The regular rains have nurtured masses of native wildflowers throughout the garden and in the wilder areas close by; the show should be spectacular in May!
The garden is alive with birds and butterflies, native bees and beneficial insects, lizards and Pacific treefrogs. Larval host plants are provided for about 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. Nesting boxes, placed within the garden and nearby woodlands, have been home to broods of Oak Titmice, Bewick’s Wrens, Chickadees, White-breasted Nuthatches, and Western Screech Owls.
The garden is sited in an Oak Woodland next to open space, so great care has been taken to avoid invasive plant species. Deer and lots of other free roaming wildlife are at home on our hillside, and visit the garden regularly. The deer-resistant ornamental front border is planted with a mixture of California native plants, grasses, and drought tolerant Mediterranean species. The food garden in back is the only area fenced in.
This garden is ‘Bay-Friendly’ and also a Pesticide-Free-Zone; only sustainable, organic gardening methods are used. Drip irrigation systems are used in some areas, in many other areas established native plants get no additional summer water. Mulch or compost is applied each year to beds and borders; other prunings are used to create extensive brush piles. The boulders, dry-stack stone walls, and permeable gravel pathways create a heat sink, as well as offering shelter for all sorts of small creatures. Irregular stone surfaces make shallow pools of water available to wildlife; water is also provided in the form of a bird bath, misting shower, seeps, and several small ponds.
Events at Charlotte T’s Habitat Garden
- Plant sale 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Propagation demonstration 1 p.m.
Many of the plants growing in this garden, including trees and shrubs, were started by seed or cuttings, and grown on in a unique home nursery operation. Come see this set-up and get inspired to start growing your own native plants. A demonstration of propagating plants from seeds or cuttings will be offered at 1 p.m. A Plant Sale, offering a selection of California natives and habitat plants will be on-going during the tour.
Plants to Look Out For
- Apricot Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua)
- Bladderpod (Peritoma arborea)
- California Fescue (Festuca californica)
- California Skullcap (Scuttelaria californica)
- Cobweb Thistle (Cirsium occidentale)
- Cream Bush (Holodiscus discolor)
- Deer Grass (Muhlenbergia rigens)
- Showy Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa), Narrowleaf Milkweed (A. fascicularis), Tropical Milkweed (A. curassavica)
- Mendocino Reed Grass (Calamagrostis foliosa)
- Nevin’s Barberry (Berberis nevinii)
- Pitcher Sage (Lepechinia calycina), Island Pitcher Sage (L. fragrans)
- Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii)
- White Sage (Salvia apiana), Cleveland Sage (S. clevelandii), Grape Scented Sage (S. melissadora)
- St. Catherine’s Lace (Eriogonum giganteum)
- Sticky Monkey Flower (Mimulus aurantiacus), Seep Monkey Flower (M. guttatus), Scarlet Monkey Flower (M. cardinalis)