Iain Milnes’ Garden
Gardening experience: Native garden was installed 5 years ago
Garden size: 1 acre (42,000 sq. ft.), 100% native
Showcase feature: In his native U.K., Iain thinks lawns are great. Here in California though, the amount of water, pesticides, mowing, and general care grass requires made no sense to him. Neither did planting exotics that needed constant replacing when they died because the climate wasn’t right for them, either. After seeing sprinklers on all the time, as well as the amount of effort others spent putting in new exotics, Iain hired Alrie Middlebrook of Middlebrook Gardens to design and install a native grassland, chaparral, and mixed evergreen woodland native garden for his large lot of mud-and-weeds.
Other garden attractions:
- Newly planted natives are watered by drip irrigation until they become established; the bulk of this garden hasn’t been watered in years!
- Garden is weeded twice a year, by hand.
- Toyon, elderberry, bay, California lilac, and wax myrtle function as privacy screens.
- A native desert garden containing some unusual and rare species was created in the rear courtyard.
- A hillside vineyard is underplanted with native bunchgrasses and wildflowers.
Gardening for wildlife: Birds love the berry-bearing toyon, elderberry, coffeeberry, snowberry, and native grapes. The expanse of natives, a brush pile, and grasses allowed to set seed have attracted killdeer (which nest in the garden), a flock of wild turkeys (which recently toddled up the driveway and made their way under the arbor before flying off), and a lot of hummingbirds. Golden eagles and red-tailed hawks soar overhead. Jackrabbits, snakes, and lizards are also seen in the garden. Bobcats roam the hills above the garden.