Mardi and Jeff Mertens’ garden


Lot size: 1,200 sq. ft. front and side gardens 50% native, 2,600 sq. ft. back garden on tour, 80% native

Garden Age: Garden was installed in stages, beginning in 2008

Years on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour: 5

Showcase Feature

Inspired by the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour, Mardi and Jeff removed the periwinkle and grass, planting 120 species of natives, and creating a haven that attracts native birds, bees, and butterflies. The garden was planted by Evan Mertens.



Other Garden Attractions OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • A bunchgrass meadow, containing colorful wildflowers, is located in the sunny center of the garden.
  • A boulder-strewn creek, planted with willows, dogwoods, and other streamside natives, was created next to the driveway.


Gardening for Wildlife


Water for wildlife is provided by a flowing creek, fountain, and bird bath. Berry-bearing plants (including currants, lemonade berry, huckleberry, red elderberry, coffeeberry, thimbleberry, and strawberry); mature trees (oak, bay, and cedar); and thickets provide food and shelter for wildlife.  At least ten kinds of native bees have been spotted, as have owls. The garden is left unmulched to provide nesting areas for native ground-dwelling bees. Dutchman’s pipevine attracts iridescent blue-black pipevine swallowtail butterflies that come to the garden to lay eggs.


Garden Talks (the plants featured in the talks will be available for sale!)

11:00 “Top ten plants for gardening for butterflies” by Mardi Mertens

12:00 “Top ten plants for gardening for bees” by Mardi Mertens

1:00 “Top ten plants for gardening for birds” by Mardi Mertens


Music in the Garden

Nina Bailey (on harpsichord) and friends will play baroque music from 10:00-12:00
The Redwood Renaissance Trio, Ron Cohen, Mardi Mertens, and Jeff Mertens will play between garden talks, 12:00-2:30
The Barefoot Quales,” Chris and Maria Quale, on guitar and mandolin, and their three sons, Miles (11), Teo (8) and Niko (6) all on fiddle, will play bluegrass music from 3:00-5:00.


Native Plants for Sale

Oaktown Nursery will sell plants that attract native bees, birds, and butterflies.

Plant list

“Best plants for Berkeley gardens” by Mardi Mertens

“Native plants that attract birds” by Es Anderson, created for the Regional Parks Botanic Garden

More photos: