Kathy Kramer and Michael May’s garden

San Pablo

Lot size: 50 x 40 sq. ft. back garden, 80% native

Garden Age: Back garden was installed in the spring of 2009.

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

Showcase Feature Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour Coordinator Kathy Kramer and her husband, Michael May, knew that it was high time they revamped their own garden.  In the spring of 2009 out went forty thousand pounds of concrete, and, in came Michael Thilgen from Four Dimensions Landscape Company, who designed the garden, and talented stone mason Ian Neil, of Fine Masonry, who built the beautiful Napa-basalt dry-stacked retaining walls, gently curving granite stairway (made of salvaged San Francisco curbstone), flagstone patios, and dry streambed. From her kitchen window Kathy sees the pond, and hears water dripping down the seep, and tumbling from the waterfall.  More than eighty species of native plants attract birds, bees, and butterflies; a dozen varieties of fruit trees, and a very large trampoline, attract the family. The native bentgrass lawn (Agrostis pallens) has thrived both in full sun and partial shade. This garden is accessed up one and a half flights of stairs.

Other Garden Attractions kramer-may-photos-171

  • Fruit trees include Violette de Bordeaux fig, Fuyu persimmon, Fuji apple, and Satsuma plum.
  • Don’t miss the “before” photos.

kramer-may-photos-161 Gardening for Wildlife

American and lesser finches perch on the tule and bob happily up and down before hopping into the seep to bathe and drink. Flycatchers, black headed grosbeaks, flocks of robins, and hummingbirds are attracted to the pond. Titmice nest in the virgin’s bower. Native bees adore the hedge nettle and the aptly named bee plant. Butterflies that had not been seen in the garden prior to its transformation are now common sights.  Damsel and dragonflies flit about; bats swoop overhead in the evening.

Kramer-May Garden plant list

Plants for Sale! Peter’s Plants will be selling California natives (ferns, ginger, strawberry, blue and yellow-eyed grass, aster, buckeyes, seep monkey flower and more); a selection of fruit trees (specialty apple, pear, plum, pomegranate, and fig); marion berries, edible grapes, and succulents – cash or checks only.

More photos: