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Karen Andersen’s garden – #1

El Sobrante

Lot size: 60 x 30 sq. ft. side garden, 75% native

Garden Age: Garden was installed in April, 2007

Years on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour: 4

Showcase Feature

Pete Veilleux of East Bay Wilds redesigned and installed this small, secluded garden in which existing wooden terraces and the original concrete steps were left in place, and a series of graceful stone terraces were added.  An attractive and inviting stone and brick path (incorporating old bricks and pavers already on the property) and two stacked stone planter beds constructed of Napa basalt and a mix of flagstone and recycled materials add solidity to the space.  Planted in these garden beds are an exuberant mixture of colorful natives—orange monkeyflowers and columbines, creamy yarrow and buckwheat, and purple penstemon and coyote mint,  among others. Karen’s favorite is western spice bush, with its wine-scented burgundy flowers.

Other Garden Attractions andersen-karen-13

  • A bunchgrass meadow borders the curving walkway.
  • Ask about the greywater system, and check out the swales that catch and retain rainwater on-site.
  • Red- twigged dogwoods, mallows, currants, and a madrone function as privacy screens.
  • A Concord grape drapes happily over the arbor.
  • Step up onto the spacious veranda and relax in the shade while enjoying a new perspective of this unique, creatively designed garden.
  • Check out the bee hive, rabbits, and chickens (in the orchard, with the dozen fruit trees).
  • Be prepared to walk up the steepish driveway and a set of stairs.

Gardening for Wildlife andersen-karen-9

Appian Creek flows at the bottom of the property; the creek and thickets provide water and shelter for bats, finches, garter snakes, raccoons, and deer.

Plant list

More photos: