Novato | 3,500 sq. ft. Xeriscape

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

In–a-gadda-da-vida – song by Iron Butterfly 1968, a homonym for “In the garden of Eden”

Michael has transformed a front lawn shrouded in conifers, tea tree and rosemary struggling on clay watered by sprinklers; a back hillside smothered by decades of English ivy, scotch broom and bay-crowded oaks sprinkled with blackberry, pampas grass and helleborine (an invasive genus of European orchid) into a phantasmagorical xeriscape showcase. Many unsual plants from all the Mediterranean and some desert climates (Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, Madagascar, California, SW US and Mexico) now populate this Eden.

Trenches and berms remediated the clay with sandy loam, lava rock, organic compost and the sheet mulched-lawn has now become a creek-bed of pebbles and colored glass. The immediate back yard has raised beds for edibles, five types of citrus and a Japanese garden existing comfortably with the coastal live oaks. Ivy has been replaced with CA natives and the removal of the invasive bay tree the oaks are thriving, and toyon and and coffee berry returning, over 60 species of bird, numerous butterfly and bee species and many mammals travel through.

Watering is limited to handheld for the vegetable patch.


Plants to Look out For

Some of Michael’s Favorite Plants

  1. Jervis Bay Willow Myrtle (Agonis flexuosa ‘Jervis Bay Aftedark’)
  2. Cape Aloe (Aloe ferox)
  3. Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos ‘Tequila Sunrise’)
  4. Velvet Centaurea (Centaurea gymnocarpa)
  5. Vygie (Drosanthemum micans)
  6. Tower of Jewels (Echium wildpretti ‘Tower of Jewels’)
  7. Yellow Conebush (Leucadendron ‘Safari Gold Strike’)
  8. Giant Feather Grass (Stipa gigantea)
  9. San Pedro Cactus (Echinopsis (Trichocereus) pachanoi v. Juuls)

A complete printable plant list for In–a-gadda-da-vida can be downloaded using the blue button below.