Hummingbird Haven

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Garden Features

1

Drought Tolerant

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California Natives

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Deer Resistant

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Drip Irrigation

5

Lawn-Free Landscaping

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Permeable Surfaces

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Wildlife Habitat

Our home is inside the Cloverdale city limits, at a 600’ high elevation ridge.  We purchased this home in 2014 and removed several non-native bushes, including oleanders, which blocked our views and competed with native flora.  There were native oaks, toyons, and California chestnuts already on the property, and we encouraged new saplings as well.  Our California native trees provide shelter and habitat for wildlife including quail, finches, hummingbirds, sparrows, juncos, acorn woodpeckers, mockingbirds, flickers, jays, nuthatches, oak titmouse, gray squirrels, and lizards. Migratory birds such as robins, cedar waxwings, tree swallows, western bluebirds, and orioles feed here.  Owls and coyotes can be heard at night.  Red-shouldered hawks and gray foxes live nearby.

Due to hot, dry summers, we provide watering stations for wildlife (fed by irrigation drippers), including a ground-based water tray for quail and lizards, plus two raised fountains for bird baths, and a hanging bath in a tree which the blue jays prefer to use.  Hummingbirds have three hanging nectar feeders, plus many flowers blooming throughout the year, including their favorite honeysuckle vine on our entry arbor (“Coral Honeysuckle” Lonicera sempervirens from Cal Flora).

To minimize weeds and maintenance, we installed flagstone patios in front and back of the home, and added a large, shaded deck with southbound views across the City of Cloverdale to redwood ridgelines beyond.  Turkey vultures, hawks, and ravens soar in circles at eye-level with our view deck.

We planted hundreds of bulbs to take advantage of springtime rains, also encouraging spring-blooming perennials like lupines and California poppies which go dormant during summer. 

Our bottlebrush plants are loved by both hummingbirds and bees throughout the summer months.  The largest specimen of dwarf bottlebrush I have ever seen blooms profusely several times each year.  Within our yard you can compare the growth habit of the dwarf bottlebrush to a typical common bottlebrush.

In the summer months, we rely mostly on succulents like aloes, agaves, yuccas, and jade plants to provide color and blooms.  The winter blooms of our manzanitas provide food for local bees.

We also have the cutest dwarf pomegranate which was planted by the original owner 50 years ago and stays less than 2’ tall with dozens of acorn-sized decorative fruits in winter. 

Although non-native, we have had success with evergreen Pepper trees (schinus molle) which have matured in just a few years, tolerating high heat with low water needs, with lovely draping limbs.  Bees love their tiny blooms.

We have some steep hillsides with poor soil and high heat, where plants struggle to survive.  Successful trailing plants for our hillsides include native Woodland Strawberry, plus myoporum and pink knotweed (persicaria capitata) which is a lovely evergreen ground-cover with lovely pink blooms year-round. 

To minimize irrigation, only small areas of the landscape are irrigated.  Much of the landscape is naturalized and receives no irrigation.

Most of the pruned or dried plant materials are mulched in place to promote soil health, reduce soil erosion, and control weeds.  We hope you enjoy our garden!

Plants in this Garden

Quercus lobata

Valley Oak
Organization

Woody perennial, deciduous tree. Fast growing and one of the best local natives for large properties. Dark green leaves and dark brown to pale gray, ridged bark. Not susceptible to Sudden Oak Death.

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full Sun
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Leaf Color: Green - Dark
  • Blooming Season (s): All Year
  • Bark Color: BrownGray

Quercus agrifolia

Coast Live Oak
Organization

Woody perennial, evergreen tree. Large, dense and broadly rounded with green, spiny margin leaves. Native along coast and coastal mountains from Northern California. One of the best local natives for large properties. Susceptible to Sudden Oak Death.

  • Water: Very Low
  • Light: Full Sun
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Green - Dark

Aesculus californica

California Buckeye
Organization

Large, multi-trunked shrub or small tree. Silvery gray bark with green leaves and clusters of fragrant white flowers. Summer deciduous, defoliating in early July and growing during wet winter and spring months. Only buckeye native to California, small trees are found in Southern regions while large shrubs are found in Northern regions.

  • Water: Very Low
  • Light: Full Sun
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Leaf Color: Green
  • Flower Color: White
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummerWinter
  • Bark Color: Gray

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Toyon
Organization

California native, evergreen shrub or small tree often seen growing in Sonoma and Marin county wildlands. Lacy, white flower clusters in spring attract pollinators; red berries in winter provide a splash of color and an important food source for birds. The name “Hollywood” was born from the abundance of toyon in the hills of southern California and its resemblance to European holly. The cultivar ‘Davis Gold’ has yellow berries and may be more disease-resistant than the species.

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Green - Dark
  • Flower Color: White
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummerFall
  • Fruit Color: Red

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

Rhus spp

Lemonade Berry, Sugar Bush
Organization

Diverse group of resilient shrubs and trees, including several that are native to California, that provide form, foliage, and habitat value.

  • Lemonade berry (R. integrifolia, 4-20‘ x 4-20’) is native to coastal Southern California and Baja California. This evergreen shrub provides white-to-pink clusters of flowers in late winter and early spring followed by sticky, reddish fruits. Lemonade berry is more suitable for coastal climates, whereas sugar bush will also grow in hotter areas.
  • Sugar bush (R. ovata, 4-10’ x 4-10’) is native to dry slopes away from the coast in Southern California and Baja California. Similar to lemonade berry with more reddish flowers and leaves that are often folded down the center.
  • African sumac (R. lancea, 15-25’ x 20-30’) is an evergreen tree from South Africa with willow-like leaves and graceful weeping habit.

Note: The infamous poison oak was previously classified within the Rhus genus, but has since been reclassified to the more appropriate sounding Toxicodendron diversilobum.

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Green
  • Flower Color: PinkWhite
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringWinter
  • Fruit Color: BlackRed

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

Mimulus aurantiacus and hybrids

Sticky Monkey Flower
Organization

The orange, tubular flowers of sticky monkey flower can be enjoyed in many locations throughout Sonoma and Marin counties in spring and summer, a testament to how well this plant is adapted to hot and dry conditions. The slightly sticky leaves benefit from light pinching and pruning to maintain an attractive appearance and support for the beautiful flowers. Many hybrids provide color variation. Do not confuse this plant with the red-flowered scarlet monkey flower (Mimulus cardinalis), an herbaceous riparian plant that requires regular water to thrive.

  • Water: Very Low
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Sandy
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Green
  • Flower Color: OrangeRedWhite
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummer

Lupinus spp

Lupine
Organization

Popular group of annuals, perennials, and shrubs with distinctive divided leaves that are common throughout the western United States, including California. Pea-like flowers are displayed on spikes and are attractive to bees and other pollinators. Most native lupines are purple-flowered, while some are yellow. Provide full sun and good drainage and watch out for slugs and snails.

Examples: Silver bush lupine (L. albifrons, 3-4’ x 3-4’), prostate lupine (L. albifrons var. collinus, 12-18” x 12-18”), coastal bush lupine (L. arboreus) available with either blue or yellow flowers but can be invasive in some north coastal dunes, and blue-and-white lupine (L. bicolor) a low-growing, annual wildflower.

  • Water: Very Low
  • Light: Full Sun
  • Soil: Well Drained
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: GreenSilver
  • Flower Color: BlueVioletYellow
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummer

Achillea spp & cvs

Yarrow
Organization

Yarrows are variable low-growing, spreading herbaceous perennials with finely divided leaves that inhabit many temperate regions in the Northern Hemisphere. Flattish clusters of flowers form in spring and well into summer and provide an important nectar source for pollinators and insects. Yarrow can help to stabilize slopes and is a good addition to the upper level of rain gardens and swales. Colors include yellow, pink, and red.

California native spp & cvs: A. millefolium (common yarrow), A. m. ‘Calistoga’, A. m. ‘Island Pink’, A. m. ‘Sonoma Coast’, A. m. ‘Terracotta’.

Other yarrows: A. filipendulina (fern leaf yarrow), A. f. ‘Coronation Gold’, A. ‘Moonshine’, A. tomentosa (woolly yarrow).

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Most Soils
  • Foliage: Herbaceous
  • Leaf Color: Gray GreenGreen
  • Flower Color: PinkRedYellow
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummer

Favorite Plants

1

Valley Oak Trees

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Madrone Trees

3

Lupines

4

Matilija Poppies

Giant white poppies, romneya coulteri.

Favorite Garden Suppliers

Cal Flora Nursery

2990 Somers Street Fulton

Urban Tree Farm

3010 Fulton Road Fulton

Cloverdale Nursery

216 South Cloverdale Boulevard Cloverdale

Recommended Resources

Gardening Tips

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verify the expected size at maturity (both height and width).

When buying plants, verify the expected size at maturity (both height and width). Choose a planting space sufficient to allow natural growth and shape for each plant, respecting each plant’s need for morning/afternoon sun/shade for your local climate. Landscapers frequently propose too many plants close together for immediate visual impact, creating potentially cramped plants later requiring too much annual pruning and watering. Not to mention, you may pay too much initially for plants you will ultimately thin out and discard in a few years anyway due to an overcrowded design.