My Garden of California Native Plants

The garden view

View a slide show of garden photos.

History of the garden

Beginning in 1999, I have planted dozens of California native plant species in my small, 620-square-feet backyard/patio. The goal is to create a garden that supports plant and animal life adapted to local conditions (this means dry and cool summers, mild and wet winters), with minimal human interference. The inspiration came naturally, from years of hiking in the glorious California outdoors. In order to simulate natural conditions for my backyard eco-system, I only use organic fertilizers and no pesticides. Gardening with native plants saves water resources, attracts native wildlife, is very good for the environment. Everyone should try it.

Half of my native plant specimens came from nurseries, the rest came from field collection. Yerba Buena nursery is the main specialty nursery for native plants in the Bay Area. The East Bay chapter of California Native Plants Society conducts native plant sales twice a year, usualy in April and October. I have acquired some native plants from local nurseries, notably the East Bay Nursery, Berkeley Horticultural Nursery, and Westbrae Nursery in Berkeley. The only mail-order nursery I have shopped from is the Forestfarm in Williams, Oregon. When selecting plants, I primarily focus on scale (for a small garden), foliage and twig form (to provide interest when not blooming), and blooming season (to balance spring blooming plants with those blooming in other seasons).

Located on bayside flats with northeastern exposure, my garden faces several challenges: heavy clay soil, drainage problems, lack of direct winter sunlight, and windy conditions. Despite these challenges, a large number of California natives have survived and thrived in my garden over the last 7 years. Here is the complete list:

Drought tolerant plants for sunny places

Drought tolerant plants for moderately shady places

Tiger lily, grape, fig

Challenging plants

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