Bob and Stephanie Sorenson’s garden – #32


Lot size: 7,500 sq. ft. front garden and 1/2 acre back garden 95% natives

Garden Age: Front garden was planted in the fall of 2011; creek side and upland restoration began in 1990

Years on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour: 3

Showcase Feature

The creekside and adjacent uplands restoration project Bob has spent the last twenty years working on is a showstopper; for anyone interested in streamside or restoration gardening, this garden is a must-see.  An ophthalmologist by day, it is in the late afternoons and on the weekends that Bob’s inner restorationist emerges. Here’s how it happened.  Bob hiked in Briones, Orinda, and Lafayette, learning to identify natives; his garden now features about 150 species of locally native plants, many purchased from Native Here Nursery in Berkeley.  Others were grown from seed collected on-site in Bob’s well-tended nurseries.  The front garden meadow, which until recently was a very large lawn, was designed by landscape architect David Bigham, and planted with local native plants by Garden Restoration and Design.  Wear comfortable walking shoes; the bridge is narrow, and so are the trails, which wend up and down a slope.


Other Garden Attractions sorenson-1

• Two charming bridges, designed and made by Bob, span Lauterwasser Creek.

• When the weeds were removed, the natives began to return.

• Honeybees buzz with happy abandon in their hives.


Gardening for Wildlife sorenson-9

Birds seen in the garden include Cooper’s hawks, cedar waxwings, Bullock’s orioles, quail, yellow-rumped warblers, northern flickers, Nuttall’s woodpeckers, red-breasted sapsuckers, and western screech owls. Ring-necked, gopher, valley garter, and rattlesnakes pass through. Newts breed in the pool just upstream of the bridge.

Garden Talks

Birder extraordinaire Michael Strom will lead bird walks at 10:00 and 2:00.

12:00 “Gardening with local native plants” by David Bigham

Music in the Garden

1:00-2:00 Renaissance music will be performed by past Garden Tour hosts Mardi and Jeff Mertens.

Lists of native plants, exotics that have been eliminated, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals that have been seen in the garden

More photos: