Bill and Nancy English’s garden – #29


Lot size: 3,000 sq. ft. back garden, 70% native

Garden Age: Garden was installed in April of 2015

Years on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour: New this year!

Showcase Feature

The back garden was a large lawn; but the kids were grown, and Bill and Nancy thought it was time for a change. Alexandra Ashton, of Urban Flora Landscape Design, designed and installed the new low-maintenance, water-conserving garden. The mature manzanitas at the back of the garden soften the fenceline.  In front of the manzanitas a curving Connecticut Blue flagstone path leads through the upper terrace, past the cute eyebrow grass meadow, a plethora of reseeding penstemons, and the sweetly scented Pozo Blue sage. Prostrate manzanita cascades over the dry-stacked moss rock retaining wall. Six types of California lilac (‘Dark Star’, ‘Julia Phelps’, ‘Anchor Bay’, ‘Diamond Heights’, ‘Concha’, and ‘Ray Hartman’) provide structure and greenery throughout the year, delighting bees and butterflies when they are in flower. A potpourri of wildflowers—yellow buttercups and tidytips, blue flax, purple gilia, and violet gilia tricolor—attract people and pollinators alike.


Other Garden Attractions english-1-of-9-5

  • Water use has gone down about 30% since the lawn was reduced in size and replaced with a water-conserving garden. The English’s received a rebate from the East Bay Municipal Utility District for removing part of their lawn.
  • The garden is watered with Netafim, an efficient and sturdy drip irrigation system.
  • Alexandra Ashton will be at this garden between 3:00 and 5:00.


Gardening for Wildlife english-1-of-9-8

Lizards bask on and shelter in the stone walls. Skippers, native bees, and honeybees sip nectar and collect pollen from the plethora of flowers in this flower-filled garden.


Back garden plant list

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