Jane Maxwell’s garden – #5

Berkeley

Lot size: 420 sq. ft. front garden, 100% native

Garden Age: Garden was installed in the spring of 2014

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

Showcase Feature
Jane, who had had enough of her “miserable excuse of a lawn,” wanted to “do the right thing” and provide habitat for wildlife, while also having a water-conserving garden. (And she got it, as this dry garden received only one deep watering last summer.) Green City Landscapes designed the new garden with Jane; it was installed by Green City. Massed Sonoma sage, which functions as a ground cover, delights native bees with its pollen, and passersby with its with its lavender-blue flowers and fragrance. Toyon and elderberry soften the lines of the house. A sea of poppies brightens the garden in spring. In summer the garden is abloom with purple-blue penstemon, red fuchsia, and creamy yarrow.

Other Garden Attractions
• A shallow depression retains rainwater on Jane’s property. During and after storms the rainwater collects in a gentle undulation in the garden, sinks slowly into the soil and is stored naturally underground, providing additional water to Jane’s trees and shrubs during the dry season, and helping to recharge the groundwater. In addition to providing extra water to Jane’s plants, keeping rainwater on site filters the storm water before it reaches nearby Potter creek (which is underground) and San Francisco Bay. (Keeping rainwater on site also protects above-ground creeks from scouring.)
• Mounds provide the drainage most native plants need.
• Boulders create visual interest.

Gardening for Wildlife
Hummingbirds are attracted to the penstemon and fuchsia; a variety of bees are drawn to the Cleveland and creeping sages. Towhees forage in the garden, looking for seeds and insects. Flocks of cedar waxwings visit the garden on occasion, searching for berries and insects.

Native plant list

More photos: