All About California Natives

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Santa Rosa | A Landscape Professionals Personal Garden

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Garden features:

  • California native plants.
  • Sheet mulching.
  • Rainwater harvesting system.

First time Eco-Friendly Garden Tour host and landscape professional Robin North presents her garden:

A small, very urban garden that is all about California native plants. The front garden was planned to present a tidy but exuberant face to the street and compliment the simple bungalow style house. It features a rain chain and rain garden that captures approximately 1/3 of the total runoff from the roof. There is drip irrigation that is controlled manually allowing for the application of only the amount of water needed. Special plants include Arctostaphylos refugioensis ‘Paradise’, Arctostaphylos ‘Monica and Comarostaphylis diversiflora. The area is a haven for birds, bees and butterflies, including ground nesting Longhorn bees, egg laying Anise Swallowtails and Goldfinches feasting on seeds and bugs.

The back yard is a more experimental, everchanging area that includes some non-native plants, fruit trees and other edibles. The space is dominated by a beautiful, old California Buckeye that may predate the house. Other special plants include Styrax redivivus, Holodiscus discolor, Eriogonum giganteum, Ribes ‘White Icicle’ and Oenothera caespitosa. There is a timer controlled drip irrigation system for the vegetables only. The fruit trees and plants that need supplemental irrigation are watered by soaker hose every two weeks (plus/minus). There are rainbarrels that hold 300 gallons of water. During the rainy season, overflow from the barrels is directed out into the landscape. The runoff from the garage roof is directed into the landscape as well.

The focus in both the front and back gardens is on plants and habitat, so the hardscaping is minimal and usually done with recycled materials. Maintenance is geared toward the creation and preservation of habitat.

A printable plant list is available to download for this garden. This plant list is only a small portion of the total plant species in the garden.

Why Garden with Native Plants?

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 webpage.