Elizabeth O’Shea and Richard Howard’s garden

Orinda

Lot size: one acre, 75% native

Garden Age: Garden was installed in stages, beginning in 1990

Years on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour: 3

Showcase Feature[SinglePic not found]

Elizabeth and her husband, Richard, native plant enthusiasts, designed and installed this garden over the past two decades. A colorful mix of natives and Mediterranean plants are found near the house. Bunchgrass meadows (California, red, and Idaho fescues, and deer and oat grass) border the path leading toward the stand of mature oaks and bays at the back of the lot. Riparian plants such as honeysuckle, grey rush, and ferns, have replaced the ivy that once covered the bank of Moraga Creek, which flows along the property line. Seating areas have been strategically placed throughout the garden; drop down in one and take a rest in this peaceful oasis.

Other Garden Attractions[SinglePic not found]

  • The columner fountain in the front garden provides the pleasant sound of falling water, attracting two-footed and winged visitors alike.
  • Meandering, cobble-filled dry creek bed surrounded by native plants creates an inviting entrance to the back garden.
  • A bog, planted with rushes, provides water for wildlife in the hot summer months.
  • Whimsical sculptures abound.

 

Gardening for Wildlife[SinglePic not found]

Forty species of birds, including quail, cedar waxwings, yellow-rumped warblers, acorn, downy, hairy, and Nuttall’s woodpeckers, and Cooper’s, red-shouldered, and red-tailed hawks, are frequently seen in or above the garden. Bluebirds and ash-throated fly catchers have used the nest boxes and acorn woodpeckers raised their young in a snag. Great horned owls swoop overhead. Bats flit by in the evening. A barn owl box waits hopefully for inhabitants. Butterflies, including pipevine swallowtail and monarch, flutter about. Foxes and skunks, king and garter snakes, and lizards pass through the garden.

Native Plants for Sale

Elizabeth will sell native shrubs, wildflower, and perennials she has propagated; checks and cash only.

List of plants for sale

Birds seen in the garden Plants in the garden

More photos: