Birdland

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Garden Features

1

Drought Tolerant

2

California Natives

3

Deer Resistant

4

Drip Irrigation

5

Pesticide Free

6

Reclaimed/Recycled Materials

7

Sheet Mulching

8

Lawn Conversion

9

Lawn-Free Landscaping

10

Wildlife Habitat

The development of the botanical native gardens at Birdland began in February 2020 with the garden beds facing the street. We wanted to create a visually appealing entrance with native Redbuds, Ceanothus and CA Fuschia that would provide lots of color and texture. In the Spring, we installed the 2 gardens just inside the fence, on either side of the entrance. The Rock garden, which gets lots of sun, proved to be more challenging because we wanted to expand the upper driveway, requiring us to move earth and install big rocks (rip rap); a bargain compared to a retaining wall. We installed a walkway to make strolling easier.
The Urn garden included existing Olive trees and Ceanothus. We planted predominantly natives, along with some succulents.

The patio gardens were already in place when we bought the property in 2019, and will receive new plants now and then.
The backyard was our biggest project in October of 2021. We started with a yard of weeds, sheet mulched it in the spring of 2021, to prepare it for the October installation. Now entering its 3rd spring, it is a joy to view everyday. With influence from the Mendocino Botanical Gardens, we created 2 islands in the middle, with berms to add height. Most of the rocks were found on our property and collected to create the garden bed outlines.

The shrubs against the deer fence down below in the back, will eventually grow to cover the fence and provide food and shelter to the birds and bees and butterflies.
The most recent installation of garden beds are the two in front of the garage. After our road and drainage improvement project, and addition of the 5500 gallon water tank, the two spaces were begging to be planted. There is one project to be completed this fall in the secret garden. We have started it by planting the Jasmine 2 years ago and the dry creek bed last year. It will be ready for next year’s tour!

All of our gardens are on the Rachio irrigation system, with 3 sets of 5 valves each around the property. We expect that after a few years, we will be able to reduce the water use to much less.

Plants in this Garden

Cercis occidentalis

Western Redbud
Organization

Western redbud is an ornamental, multi-trunked and deciduous, large shrub or small tree with year-round interest that provides a California native and very low-water alternative to the moderate-water Cercis canadensis. Magenta to rosy pink blossoms that resemble pea flowers cover bare branches in late winter to early spring. Apple green, heart-shaped leaves emerge to accompany the flowers. Over the summer, the leaves become more leathery and bluish green, and seed pods mature and remain into the winter months.

  • Water: Very Low
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Most Soils
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Leaf Color: Green
  • Flower Color: Violet
  • Blooming Season (s): Spring

Ceanothus spp & cvs

Ceanothus, California lilac, 'Ray Hartman'
Organization

Ceanothus is a group of fast-growing, evergreen shrubs that vary from groundcovers to small trees, many of which are native to California. They provide a spectacular display of flowers in spring that will attract a multitude of pollinators. Flowers are followed by seeds that provide food for birds. The clusters of tiny flowers range from white to deep violet. Plants perform best with good drainage and minimal irrigation once established. Some do best in cooler coastal climates, but many thrive in hotter inland climates. Pay close attention to the mature size when selecting ceanothus to ensure that it has sufficient space for its natural form.

Groundcovers: C. ‘Centennial’ (1’ x 8’), C. gloriosus var. gloriosus ‘Anchor Bay’ (2’ x 8’), C. griseus var. horizontalis ‘Diamond Heights’ (variegated, 1’ x 4’), C. griseus var. horizontalis ‘Yankee Point’ (3’ x 12’), C. maritimus (2’ x 6’).

Shrubs: C. ‘Blue Jeans’ (6’ x 6’), C. Concha (6’ x 6’), C. ‘Dark Star’ (6’ x 8’), C. ‘Joyce Coulter’ (4’ x 12’), C. ‘Julia Phelps’ (8’ x 10’), C. cuneatus (8’ x 8’), C. thyrsiflorus ‘Skylark’ (4’ x 6’).

Large shrubs: C. ‘Frosty Blue’ (10’ x 12’), C. thyrsiflorus (20’ x 20’), C. t. ‘Snow Flurry’ (white flower, 20’ x 20’).

Trees: C. ‘Ray Hartman’ (15′ x 15′)

  • Water: Very LowLow
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: GreenGreen - Dark
  • Flower Color: BlueWhite
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummer

Zauschneria [Epilobium] spp

California Fuchsia
Organization

Group of highly variable, semi-evergreen subshrubs and herbaceous perennials distributed over a wide geographic area, including California. Epilobiums bloom in late summer with tubular flowers providing a food source for hummingbirds migrating south and are also attractive to bees and butterflies. Epilobiums range from low-growing groundcovers to upright plants of several feet. Flower colors include orange-red, white, pink, and salmon. Most can be pruned back in late autumn to maintain a more compact form and be rejuvenated for the following year.

Low-growing examples: E. ‘Schieffelin’s Choice’; E. canum ‘Calistoga’, a selection from Phil Van Soelen from California Flora Nursery from the Palisades east of Calistoga; E. canum ‘Cloverdale’, a selection from U.C. Santa Cruz Arboretum from along the Russian River north of Cloverdale with exceptionally orange flowers; E. c. ‘Everett’s Choice’, E. c. ‘Summer Snow’ with white flowers, and E. septentrionale ‘Select Mattole’, a somewhat redder flowering selection that is more shade-tolerant.

Upright examples: E. c. ‘Bowman’s Hybrid’ (2-3’), E. c. ‘Catalina’ (3-4’), E. c. ‘Liz’s Choice’ (3’) selected by Milo Baker Chapter CNPS Fellow Liz Parsons, E. c. ‘Marin Pink’ (2’) with pink flowers.

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full Sun
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Gray GreenGreen
  • Flower Color: OrangePinkRedWhite
  • Blooming Season (s): Fall

Yucca spp

Yucca
Organization

Evergreen shrubs and perennials that grow over much of North America and feature sword-shaped leaves. Yuccas typically produce flowers on tall stalks in spring. Some yuccas are stemless while others have trunks and grow to tree size.

Examples: Banana yucca (Y. baccata, 3-4’ x 4-5’) eventually forms a short trunk. Adam’s needle (Y. filamentosa, 2-3’ x 4’) has loose fibers at the edge of leaves. Others are Spanish dagger (Y. gloriosa, 10’ x 8’), beaked yucca (Y. rostrata, 12-15’), and our Lord’s candle (Y. whipplei, 2-4’ x 3-6’), native to Southern California and Baja California.

  • Water: Very LowLow
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Leaf Color: Blue GreenGray Green
  • Flower Color: White
  • Blooming Season (s): Spring

Fremontodendron spp. & cvs.

California Flannelbush
Organization

Fast-growing evergreen shrub with fuzzy, flannel-like leaves. Large golden yellow to orange blossoms that bloom in the spring. Best suited in full sun with well-drained soils.

  • Water: Very Low
  • Light: Full Sun
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Gray GreenGreen - Dark
  • Flower Color: OrangeYellow
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummer
  • Bark Color: Brown

Muhlenbergia spp

Muhly Grass, Deer Grass
Organization

Large, showy, clumping, warm-season grasses native to the Southern United States, Mexico, and Central and South America. Can be grown in masses but require sufficient space for the mature size and form to develop. Arching plumes of flowers on long stalks provide significant ornamental value to these low-maintenance and drought-tolerant grasses.

Examples:  Pink muhly (M. capillaris, 2-3′ x 2-3’) with feathery pink flowers; pine muhly (M. dubia, 2-3’ x 2-3’) with light purple flowers; Lindheimer muhly (M. lindheimeri, 3-5’ x 4-5’) with creamy yellow flowers that provide a pronounced display; and the California native deer grass (M. rigens, 3’ x 3-4’).

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Herbaceous
  • Leaf Color: Green
  • Flower Color: CreamPink
  • Blooming Season (s): SummerFall

Festuca spp

Fescue
Organization

Large group of mostly cool-season, perennial, bunching or spreading grasses. Bunch grass varieties can be used as a no-mow lawn replacement, help to stabilize slopes, and have ornamental value. Festuca californica (California fescue, 1-2’ wide x 2’) prefers part shade and works wonderfully massed under the dry shade of native oaks. Festuca glauca (blue fescue, 1’ x 1’) is a small, clumping grass with bluish gray-green leaves. Festuca idahoenis (Idaho fescue, 1-2’ wide x 1’) also has bluish gray-green leaves and is more drought-tolerant and longer lived than blue fescue. Festuca rubra (red fescue) grows from rhizomes and has long, fine-textured leaves that lay over to form a pleasing drift effect as a no-mow lawn.

  • Water: Very LowLow
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Blue GreenGray GreenGreen
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummer

Ribes spp

Currant, Gooseberry
Organization

Currants (without spines) and gooseberries (with spines) are grown for their graceful growth habit, attractive foliage, wonderful displays of pendulous flowers in winter-spring that are attractive to hummingbirds, and colorful fruit that provides a food source for birds. Most of the species listed are deciduous, going dormant in the summer months.

Examples: Some of the species suitable for California gardens, preferably with partial shade, are native to the Western United States:

  • aurem, golden currant (5-10’ x 3-6’), deciduous with small clusters of delicate yellow flowers and sprawling habit.
  • malvaceum, chaparral currant (4-8’ x 4-6’), deciduous with early clusters of pink flowers, a slightly vase-shaped habit, and more drought-tolerant than most species.
  • sanguineum var. glutinosum, pink-flowering currant (5-12’ x 5-12’), deciduous with maple-like leaves, a vase-shaped habit, and long pendulous clusters of pink, reddish, or white flowers in the spring; many available cultivars such as ‘Claremont’, ‘Tranquillon Ridge’, and ‘White Icicle’.
  • speciosum, fuchsia-flowered gooseberry (4-8’ x 6-10’), deciduous with spiny, arching stems and bright red fuchsia-like flowers along the stems in the spring that are attractive to hummingbirds.
  • viburnifolium, evergreen currant or Catalina perfume (2-4’ x 5-7’), evergreen groundcover that works well under oaks and can provide erosion control to slopes.
  • Water: Very LowLow
  • Light: Full SunPartial ShadeShade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: EvergreenDeciduous
  • Leaf Color: Green - Dark
  • Flower Color: PinkRedWhite
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringWinter
  • Fruit Color: BlackBlueRed
  • Bark Color: Brown

Salvia spp

Sage
Organization

Salvias are a huge group of more than 900 species that include annuals, perennials, and shrubs adapted to a variety of climates and have varying water requirements. Salvias are attractive to hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees, and are generally ignored by deer. Sages that are native to California are generally drought-tolerant, prefer full sun, and little to no fertilizer. Annual pruning in late summer or fall generally helps to keep plants tidy and healthy.

CA native sages:

  • S. apiana, white sage (3-4’ x 4-6’), silvery-white, aromatic leaves with tall flower spikes of white flowers, popular for honey production and in bundles as a natural incense.
  • ‘Bee’s Bliss’ (1-2’ x 6-8’), superb, light gray groundcover with light purple flowers on long spikes; damp conditions can cause mildew which will clear with warm weather and sunny conditions.
  • S. clevelandii, Cleveland sage (3-5’ x 3-5’), medium-sized shrub for hot, dry locations known for pleasant fragrance and deep blue whorls of flowers; popular cultivars include S. c. ‘Allen Chickering’, S. c. ‘Pozo Blue’, and S. c. ‘Winnifred Gilman’.
  • S. leucophylla, purple sage, includes plants with both an upright growth habit, such as S. l. ‘Amethyst Bluff’ (3-5’ x 3-5’) and others with a sprawling form, such as S. l. ‘Point Sal’ (2-3’ x 6’), both of which are from Santa Barbara county.
  • S. sonomaensis, Sonoma sage (1-2’ x 3-4’), groundcover that prefers light shade and will not tolerate damp conditions; cultivars include S. s. ‘Dara’s Choice’, S. s. ‘Greenberg Gray’, and S. s. ‘Hobbit Toes’.
  • S. spathacaea, hummingbird sage (1-2’ spreading), herbaceous groundcover that grows well in dry shade and spreads slowly by underground rhizomes; large leaves have a wonderful fruity fragrance; the only red-flowered native sage.
  • S. mellifera, black sage (6′ x 10′), evergreen shrub that grows well in full sun and well drained soils. Dark green leaves with pale purple flowers in late spring and early summer.

Non-native sages:

  • S. chamaedryoides, germander sage (2-3’)
  • S. chiapensis, Chiapas sage (1-2’ x 3-4’)
  • S. greggii, autumn sage (1-4’ x 1-4’)
  • S. leucantha, Mexican bush sage (3-4’ x 3-6’)
  • S. microphylla, cherry sage (3-4’ x 3-6’)
  • S. officinalis, garden sage (1-3’ x 1-3’)
  • Water: Very LowLowModerate
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: GrayGreen
  • Flower Color: LavenderPinkPurpleYellowWhite
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummerFall

Arctostaphylos spp & cvs

Manzanita, 'Dr. Hurd'
Organization

Manzanitas vary from carpet-forming groundcovers to small trees. Manzanitas have varying shades of striking, reddish brown bark and can provide structure to a garden. These plants have evergreen foliage, small white-to-pink, urn-shaped blossoms in late winter to early spring, and then small fruits that resemble tiny apples.

Groundcovers: A. ‘Emerald Carpet’ (1’ x 3-6’), A. ‘Pacific Mist’ (2-3’ x 6-8’), A. nummularia ‘Bear Belly’ (1’ x 3’), A. uva ursi ‘Radiant’ (6” x 4-6’), A. uva ursi ‘Wood’s Compct’ (1’ x 3’).

Shrubs: A. ‘Howard McMinn’ (5-7’ x 6-10’), A. ‘John Dourly’ (3-4’ x 5-6’), A. ‘Lester Rowntree’ (8-10’ x 10-15’), A. ‘Sunset‘ (5-7’), A. bakeri ‘Louis Edmunds’ (8-10’), A. manzanita ‘Sentinel’ (6-8’ x 5’), A. hookeri ‘Wayside’ (3′ x 8′).

Trees: A. manzanita ‘Dr. Hurd’ (10-15′)

  • Water: Very LowLow
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Green
  • Flower Color: PinkWhite
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringWinter
  • Fruit Color: Reddish Brown
  • Bark Color: Brown

Kniphofia spp

Red Hot Poker, Torch Lily
Organization

Mostly South African perennials with strap-like leaves and a clumping growth habit that are characterized by striking displays of brightly colored flower clusters on long, bare stems resembling red hot pokers. The majority of plants offered are cultivars of different sizes and various flower colors, including yellows and oranges. Sizes range from about 1-4’ tall.

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Green
  • Flower Color: OrangeRedYellow
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummerFall

Agastache spp

Hyssop, Licorice Mint
Organization

Shrubby perennial in the mint family with aromatic gray-green leaves from southern Arizona and northern Mexico. Tubular orange and lavender flowers from midsummer to fall. Can be short-lived in clay soils.

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Herbaceous
  • Leaf Color: Gray GreenGreen
  • Flower Color: LilacLavenderOrange
  • Blooming Season (s): Summer

Lonicera spp

Honeysuckle
Organization

Honeysuckle is a varied group of evergreen and deciduous shrubs and vines with fragrant, tubular flowers. Several species are native to California and are well suited to gardens in Sonoma and Marin counties. Flowers are attractive to bees and hummingbirds and berries provide food for birds.

Examples: California honeysuckle (Lonicera hispidula) is a deciduous, vining shrub often seen growing in woodland environments. Cream and pink flower clusters in spring are followed by red berries in late summer. Twinberry (Lonicera involucrata, 6-10’ x 6-10’) is a deciduous shrub that typically grows along streams and other moist places. Tubular, red and yellow flowers grow in pairs, followed by dark pairs of berries. Provide light shade in warmer locations. Box honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida, 4-5’ x 4-6’) is an evergreen shrub native to China that is often used as a small hedge.

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Green
  • Flower Color: PinkYellowWhite
  • Blooming Season (s): Summer