Suzi’s Wild-is-Beautiful Native Garden and Orchard

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Point Reyes Station | Garden Designer’s Home Ground

10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Garden features:

  • Graywater System.
  • Pesticide Free.
  • Reclaimed and Recycled Material

Welcome to the garden of Landscape Designer, Suzi Katz.

Our garden has a birthday: March 25, 2010, the day our neighbor knocked on the door and offered us a truck load of arborist mulch courtesy of the County of Marin. A photo of our old dogfriend, Riley, posing in front of what seemed at the time to be an enormous pile of wood chips records the event. In the years since that first truckload, many chip piles materialized and were absorbed into the landscape one wheelbarrow load at a time.

We used to mow down the grass and weeds every week or two; it was a huge chore, especially on the slope. These days, we re-apply wood chips on the paths and in problem areas annually, and less frequently in other places. After sheet mulching the area of grass and weeds that might generously have been called a lawn, we gave away our lawn mower and we’ve never looked back.

On the hill behind our house, we planted an orchard with about 100 heritage apple varieties; 60 of these are grafted onto two mature trees that previously bore unidentifiable apples with lackluster texture. On Sundays in the dry season, we fill a 3-gallon bucket and give each of the younger fruit trees a drink. We underplanted the new orchard with Carex pansa (California meadow sedge) along with native bunchgrasses, wildflowers, and bulbs. This area is not chipped and must be faithfully weeded; the areas of exposed soil are useful to ground nesting native bees who need bare earth to tunnel into.

For privacy, we planted a mixed native hedge around the entire perimeter of the property. The foundation of the hedge is Myrica californica (pacific wax myrtle), which provides thick cover and plentiful seeds for birds. I like to think of it as a BB&B (Bird Bed & Breakfast). Mixed in with the Myrica are many other species of native shrub. Upright and groundcover manzanitas are well represented with about 60 different varieties. This diverse planting replaced a monolithic row of overgrown Photinia.

The garden is densely planted with flowering annuals and perennials that support pollinators year-round with a succession of bloom, yet it has to be pretty tough to withstand our two young dogs who run around chasing each other like maniacs. We place stakes near young plants so frisky pups do not destroy them; strategic traffic calming measures (strings run between posts) slow dog activity so plants can survive long enough to become established.

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

Garden Sense – Free Onsite Gardening Advice

Garden Sense is a free program for Sonoma County residents who want to learn how they can save water in their own garden. Garden Sense consultants are Sonoma County Master Gardeners who have advanced training in water management, irrigation systems, site assessment, low-water use plants, and sustainable garden practices.
While visiting your garden, Garden Sense Consultants will provide:

  • How-to information about lawn conversion
  • How-to information about converting your sprinklers to drip irrigation
  • Suggestions of low water-use plants that match your site conditions
  • A basic site-specific sketch that addresses your functional needs
  • An assessment of your existing irrigation
  • General information and tips to help make your garden more sustainable

Make an appointment today! Visit sonomamg.ucanr.edu  or call (707) 565-3026.