Windsor Town Green Community Garden

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Garden Features

1

Edible Garden

2

Graywater System

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California Natives

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Deer Resistant

5

Drip Irrigation

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Pesticide Free

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Rainwater Harvesting System

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Smart Irrigation Controller

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Wildlife Habitat

Partner: Town of Windsor

The Windsor Town Green Community Garden is a joint project.

The Town of Windsor, which owns the land, and the Windsor Garden Club, a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization, which operates and manages the garden as a benefit for the town and the environment, came together to utilize this space.

The Organic Garden

The organic garden sits on roughly an acre on the corner of Windsor Road and Joe Rodota Drive, across from the Town Hall complex. The land belongs to the Town of Windsor and is leased by Windsor Garden Club. The town provides the irrigation system for the community garden, but the Windsor Garden Club pays the town for its water use. The garden currently offers 72 raised garden beds of varying sizes, 22 of them currently provided at no cost to low-income, largely Latino Windsor residents. Those no-cost beds are paid for through donations from local businesses or citizens, who then “sponsor” the no-cost bed. Currently, approximately 110 individuals in 22 families are able to grow their own produce in their garden beds. In addition, Three garden beds are provided to the local Windsor Service Alliance at a discounted rate and used to provide produce to the local food bank. The remaining 50 raised garden beds are rented to Windsor Residents for each calendar year at varying fees based on size. Gardeners put in 6 hours per year of volunteer work maintaining the common areas.

About The Garden:

How it Started

The garden started as an idea of the newly-formed Windsor Garden Club in 2009. The club had 10 members and the garden itself was bare, un-landscaped land. The club was eager to start a community garden, and founding president and landscape architect Thomas Eddy along with club members, worked out the details with the Town of Windsor. Since its 2010 groundbreaking, the community garden has enjoyed exceptional support from the Town of Windsor, its Parks and Recreation District, and Town Council members.

Benefits to the Community

The garden is a bustling place with all of its beds rented. The garden also offers several community service programs:

  • Food Pantry Beds: The Windsor Service Alliance rents three large beds in the community garden. In return, community gardeners plant, tend, harvest and deliver food crops “ordered” by the WSA for the Food Pantry. The community garden grows tomatoes, squash, fava beans, cucumbers and herbs for the WSA, depending on the season.
  • Windsor High School Bridges program: WHS Bridges program teachers bring approximately 8 to 10 special needs students to the garden twice each week. Teachers and garden leaders introduce the students to plant and tend seeds, transplant them to the garden, and tend and grow the plants in some areas of the WSA food pantry beds. During the year the students help harvest the food pantry vegetables and herbs, sometimes bringing them to the WSA on the way back to the high school.
  • Bee, Butterfly and Bird habitat: The Town Green Community Garden is an organic garden. No commercial pesticides or chemically based fertilizers are allowed. The garden is currently certified as a Monarch Butterfly waystation. It offers feeders for local birds, and is bee-safe and bee-friendly.
  • Low-Water Use Garden Examples: The garden features solar power for the irrigation system, a drip irrigation system installed in all beds, and a rainwater storage system capturing roof runoff from its garden sheds. It has served as a backdrop and demonstration location for the UC Master Gardeners program, and regularly serves as a setting for free community programs put on by the Sonoma County Master Gardeners.
  • Food Snacking Garden: The common areas of the community garden feature strawberries, asparagus, 10 apple trees, one pear tree, one fig tree, one tangerine tree and one orange tree. The fruit is available for snacking while gardeners and their children are there – as well as the Bridges students. Members are asked to “take some but leave most” of the fruit for fellow gardeners.

Other General Garden Features:

  • Permeable disability pathway and permeable mulch pathways.
  • Blue Barrel rain catchment from shed roof.
  • 12 inch techline drip irrigation with solar panel irrigation timer.
  • mandatory mulching with compost and straw.
  • Shade cloth for young plants during hot weather.
  • Annual education on hand watering and water conservation.
  • Water dishes to support habitat. 

Native Plants at this Garden:

  • Salvia Uliginosa, aka Bog Sage, is a bee magnet. Cut it to the ground in winter, and spade it at the edges to keep it within garden boundaries.
  • Asclepias Fascicularis and Speciosa, aka native Narrowleaf Milkweed and Showy Milkweed, are both planted in the garden. The plants are dormant November through April.
  • Native California Wildflower mix of California Poppies, Baby Blue-eyes, Lupines, Clarkia, and Tidy Tips are part of our garden borders.
  • Achillea varieties, aka Yarrow. We plant the Sonoma Coast and Island Pink varieties
  • Salvia varieties
  • Verbena Lilicana de la Mina
  • Perennial Sunflowers

Town of Windsor Water Conservation Resources:

As a region we are experiencing our third consecutive dry year and remain in a severe drought. The Town of Windsor has adopted a resolution mandating a 20 percent reduction of water use for all residents, businesses, public facilities and schools. We hope that you will join with us in this commitment to conserve and use water efficiently, and that you will find the following water conservation programs, information, and links useful:

About the Gardener

Favorite Plants

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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 white, 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 Soil
  • Foliage: Herbaceous
  • Leaf Color: Gray GreenGreen
  • Flower Color: PinkYellowWhite
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummer

Ceanothus spp & cvs

Ceanothus, California Lilac
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’ (2’ 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 (8’ x 8’), 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. ‘Ray Hartman’ (15’ x 15’), C. thyrsiflorus (20’ x 20’), C. t. ‘Snow Flurry’ (white flower, 20’ x 20’).

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

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.

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

Rhamnus [Frangula] californica

Coffeeberry
Organization

Evergreen shrub that has insignificant flowers followed by black berries. Flowers are attractive to pollinators, especially bees, and berries provide a food source for birds. Cultivars commonly sold in nurseries have differing growth habits and are often smaller than the species which grows 5-18’ x 10-18’.

Examples: F. c. ‘Eve Case’ (6-8’ x 6-8’), R. c. ‘Leatherleaf’ (5-6’ x 5-6’), R. c. ‘Mound San Bruno’ (6-8’ x 6-8’) with a dense, mounding growth habit.

Note: California coffeeberry was formerly classified as Rhamnus californica and is now classified as Frangula californica.

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Most Soil
  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Leaf Color: Green - Dark
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummer
  • Fruit Color: BlackRed

Asclepias spp, CA native

Milkweed
Organization

Colony-forming, herbaceous perennials with several species providing important habitat and larval food sources for the monarch butterfly while attracting a diverse array of insects.

California milkweeds remain dormant during the colder months. Stems that emerge in April or May bear clusters of small, star-like flowers in summer followed by silky-tailed seeds that are dispersed by wind. A. fascicularis (narrow-leaved milkweed, 1-3’) is the preferred food source for monarch larvae. A. speciosa (showy milkweed, 2-4’) has larger, soft foliage, showier flower clusters, and is also a food source for monarch larvae.

  • Water: Low
  • Light: Full SunPartial Shade
  • Soil: Most Soil
  • Foliage: Herbaceous
  • Leaf Color: Green
  • Flower Color: Pink
  • Blooming Season (s): SpringSummer

Favorite Garden Suppliers

Cal Flora Nursery

2990 Somers Street Fulton

Prickett's Nursery

12950 Old Redwood Highway Healdsburg

Recommended Resources