Blossoms, Bees, Bugs, Birds, Butterflies and (Books)


Sebastopol | Small City Garden

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Garden features:

  • Worm Box.
  • Bee and Butterfly Friendly.
  • Urban Homestead.

Homeowner Sally introduces her garden:

Purchased August 2013, I bought this small c. 1900 house in downtown Sebastopol with a vision to transform its landscape. The back yard was a weed patch. The front yard had lawns and a venerable Catalpa tree. Along the sides of the house were lilacs and a giant camellia.

In March 2014, using LOTS of compost, I started planting. My previous garden had been in pots, tubs, troughs—137 containers in all. It took 30+ loads in my old Volvo to drive them 6 blocks to their new home. Several had been in my mom’s garden in San Mateo county, including a 60+ year old Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick. 4 modest potted citrus are now an 8 feet tall “Citrus Forest” on the south side of the house. My hope was to make a garden that would welcome and nourish pollinators. With the help of Bryce MacMath, who trained at Occidental Arts & Ecology Center, we laid out the beds. He installed the initial drip irrigation. I sheet mulched the lawns, using cardboard, compost and chips from on-site tree work. Boards from the old back fence were ripped into thirds, creating a “new” picket fence, separating the garden from South Main Street.

The front is mostly California natives, with a few plants from elsewhere favored by honey, native bees and butterflies, including Pipeline Swallowtail, Monarchs and Anise Swallowtails. In front is a “Little Free Library” that matches the house. I welcome garden visitors: insect, avian and human. The garden behind the house features Buckwheats, Salvias and Monkeyflowers. It’s a combination of plants I have grown for years, gifts, and new favorites. Most have been chosen to provide nectar, pollen or seed for insects and birds. Bird sightings range from Anna’s Hummingbirds to Barn Owl.

My goal is to reduce water consumption as the garden becomes established. This little urban garden produces vast amounts of organic material that I hot compost. I have three compost bins that are ‘cooking’! Kitchen waste goes to my worm box. I use fences and the shared hedge to grow different vines for vertical excitement. Vines were chosen because they are pollinator friendly, or fragrant. The patio is made of bricks from the kitchen chimney that was demolished. I’ve used old objects as planters, including my great-grandmother’s two cast iron kettles. In the 19th century, she used them to render lard and make soap. Look up as you wander the garden, there are surprises! I enjoys a bit of whimsy.

Some of Sally’s Favorite Plants from her garden:

  1. Soap Plant (Chlorogalum pomeridianum)
  2. Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium bellum)
  3. Slender Cinquefoil (Pontentilla gracilis)
  4. Coffeeberry (Frangula californica)
  5. Dutchman’s Pipevine (Aristolochia californica)
  6. Woodland Phacelia (Phacelia bolanderii)
  7. Western Spicebush (Calycanthus occidentalis) – shade
  8. Cedars Cream Bush (Holodiscus dumosus var.cedrorus)
  9. Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Black Beauty’)
  10. Red Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus ‘Red’)
  11. Anise Hyssop (Agastache ‘Summer Fiesta’)
  12. Calamint (Calamintha nepetoides)
  13. Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthus ‘Amber Velvet’)

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

Create a Wildlife-Friendly Garden

Habitat-sign-for-nwfYou can create a garden that attracts beautiful wildlife and helps restore habitat in commercial and residential areas. By providing food, water, cover and a place for wildlife to raise their young you not only help wildlife, but you also qualify to become an official Certified Wildlife Habitat®.

  • Provide Food for Wildlife
  • Supply Water for Wildlife
  • Create Cover for Wildlife
  • Give Wildlife a Place to Raise their Young
  • Help Wildlife Thrive with Healthy Habitat

For these tips and further information please visit the National Wildlife Federation webpage.