SRJC Native Garden

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Santa Rosa | 6,000 sq. ft. Front & Back Gardens

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Garden features:

  • California native plants.
  • California native lawn alternatives.
  • Drip irrigation.
  • Food gardening.
  • Rainwater harvesting.

The front yard of this Santa Rosa Junior College neighborhood home is full of native plants and three edible fruit bearing trees. Featuring a small native fescue lawn, the original lawn was sheet mulched in the fall of 2008 and fescue plugs were placed in the following spring. The lawn is surrounded by small shrubs and groundcovers. The front yard receives very little water (once to twice a month during the summer except for the fruit trees). The spring brings flowers to the yard with different plants in bloom through the summer including pacific iris, hummingbird sage, blue penstemon, sticky monkey flower and coast buckwheat. Stream dogwood stays lush and green without watering in the yard until the winter dormancy begins. The shady north side of the house features wild ginger and elk clover which are watered once per month in the summer.

Upon entering the backyard, a large beautiful black walnut shades much of the property. The black walnut is known for its allelopathic leaves which prevent seeds from germinating, the soil under the black walnut was supplemented with a woody compost then planted with a variety of native plants. Growing underneath the grandiose walnut there is snowberry, spicebush, beaked hazelnut, pacific wax myrtle and island tree mallow. The native grass lawn of Agrostis pallens from Delta Bluegrass company was installed this spring. Hidden behind a shed is a water tank to collect rain water off of the shed to be used in the yard. A large vegetable garden, herbs and fruit trees take up the back yard to give nourishment to the residents of this home.

Eleven years ago, the backyard was dominated by invasive species including himalayan blackberry, english ivy, sourgrass (oxalis) and privets. The first task was to remove these species and begin transforming the yard with native plants. The shrubs in the backyard only receive weekly irrigation in the first year. Thereafter the irrigation is tapered back as the plants mature to once per month. Some of the plants might be considered moderate water consumers but due to the location less water is needed for the plants to survive the dry and hot summers. Natives in the wild do not receive summer water unless they are located with their roots in a water table or water source and this is a similar approach to what is done in this yard. The importance of finding the appropriate plants for the site conditions will enable this.

This garden includes an educational poster on Invasive Plant Control.

A printable plant list is available to download for this garden.

Gardening with California Native Plants

The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) Milo Baker Chapter are hosting five gardens in Santa Rosa on the 2018 Eco-Friendly Garden Tour. These gardens are denoted by CNPS on the garden list and include the CNPS Milo Baker logo on the garden description. The majority of the plants in these gardens are California native. With the exception of the Laguna Environmental Center, these are home gardens that are either owned by or were designed by members of the CNPS Milo Baker Chapter. At each of these gardens you will be greeted by CNPS volunteers, and volunteer horticultural experts will be on hand to answer questions about the plants on site.

CNPS Milo Baker will be holding a plant sale at the Laguna Environmental Center on the day of the tour, and each of the gardens will include posters providing valuable information on different aspects of gardening with natives.

Why garden with natives?

Gardening with native plants allows you to bring the beauty of California into your landscape while also receiving numerous benefits.

  • Save water: Once established, many California native plants need minimal irrigation beyond normal rainfall.
  • Lower Maintenance: Native plants do best with some attention and care, but require less water, fertilizer, pruning, less or no pesticide, and less of your time to maintain than do many common garden plants.
  • Reduce Pesticides: Native plants have developed their own defenses against many pests and diseases.
  • Invite Wildlife: Native plants, hummingbirds, butterflies, and other beneficial insects are ‘made for each other’. Research shows that native wildlife clearly prefers native plants.
  • Support Local Ecology: California native plants can help provide an important bridge to nearby remaining wild areas.

Further information can be be found on the California Native Plant Society web site.